Akuji The Heartless Review

By: John Doe

System: PlayStation
Price: $69.99
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Eidos
Release: Jan/99

As murdered husband-to-be, Akuji, you must fight your way through the netherworld, battling the undead so that you may get back to the land of the living and save your bride from a similar fate. I donít know Akuji just doesnít wait for her to bite the big one and spend the time with her in the netherworld. At least, he could avoid the in-laws for while.


Akuji is a 3D platform/action game much like Tomb Raider or Gex 2. In fact Iím pretty sure Akuji is made from the engine of Gex 2, because this game really feels and looks like Gex 2 more often than not. The lighting and animation of the character and the spinning collectibles (groan) that Akuji must find, reek of Gex 2. In fact I think I heard Akuji say once, "This looks like Halloween at Rip Taylorís house." Now we all know game engines are recycled for other games and that isnít a bad thing, just a fact of video game life. Akuji isnít a bad game at all. Itís just not very original.

The graphics are dark, as you are in the underworld. This leads to many an unseen death, like my favorite, "falling off a ledge you couldnít see." The enemies follow their little patterns, appearing where they always do and at least are easy to kill. As Akuji makes his way, he must collect 100 voodoo dolls for an extra man (big groan) and must punch big HINT tablets floating in the netherworld (SUPER big groan). Thereís nothing like a HINT tablet lying in the middle of the underworld that ruins the continuity and reality of the game. Okay, so I already said this game wasnít original. You get the point. Iíll stop harping.

Akuji can find magic spells which gives him longer range attacks than his Wolverine-esque claws. He can over hand swing, jump, crawl, fly (if he finds the right thing) and turn into a panther, in fact he can do anything he tries. Even dance and sing and play a flute...oh wait thatís Pinnochio, sorry.

My complaint with the voices is not that they are poorly done, just poorly cast. Akuji sounds like he could be Solid Snake. I thought he was African? At least give the guy an accent.

The biggest thing this game has going for it, is the easy control, good camera and number of weapons and magic. Akuji controls very well and controlling the 3D camera is just as easy as a flick of the R or L buttons. When it you get down to it, Akuji is fun to play. It really grew on me the more I played it. In fact, I thought it controlled better than Tomb Raider 3. If you liked Gex 2, Spyro and Tomb Raider and are looking for another 3D platformer fix, you could do much worse than Akuji. Itís a solid effort. Itís no Metal Gear Solid, but it will keep you interested and occupied.

Just one last note. Many people have been emailing me with questions and comments. Please let me state that I DO NOT answer gaming questions. Iím not the code guy. Iím the review guy! If you canít find your answer on this site, then either you havenít looked thoroughly or the code doesnít exist (yet). As well, please make sure that if you want a reply, that your e-mail address is correct! I do write back to 95%, but I am starting to give up due to so many returns! I almost never bother with AOL addresses anymore as at least 90% are returned. Thank you.

Final Analysis:

Rating Legend 1-10 (10 being the highest mark)
Overall: 8.0 (Somewhat Generous)
Graphics: 8.0
Control: 8.5
3D camera: 8.5
Fun: 8.0
Music/Fx: 7.0
Frustration: 7.0

Back To PlayStation Index