PS2 REVIEW: AEON FLUX
Based on both the MTV Liquid TV animated series and the recent live-action movie, Aeon Flux the videogame is a lot better than most multi-tiered media products - but that only places it in the average category.

Aeon Flux is a hot looking, futuristic secret agent babe that has more in common with Batman than James Bond. She's got some wicked moves and an assortment of gadgets at her disposal that she uses to foil enemies, solve puzzles and gain access to platform-style areas. She's as deadly as she is mysterious. If anything, you can say she's seriously misunderstood.

There is a storyline here somewhere but it's so convoluted and presented so haphazardly that's it's almost impossible to give it a simple overview. The animated series was an artful, adult, anime production that defied convention. It was sexy, racy, violent and mysterious, often culminating with the death of Aeon at the end of each episode. A lot of things were never fully explained and we were never able to fully explore Aeon as a person. The game attempts to keep this mystery alive but it only succeeds in alienating us from her. Since we are actually playing as her in most levels it would only be appropriate to have a little more insight into her psyche.

Bregna is the walled city where Aeon resides. She is involved in a freedom fighting movement against an oppressive government. Her nemesis is one, Trevor Goodchild, whom she alternately hates and loves. Her world is one of animal lust and barbaric violence. Aeon takes no prisoners and while there are information capsules to collect they never explain anything more than what you need to complete the next goal in a mission.

Missions are unfocused and never seem to relate to the big picture. You don't always get to play as Aeon and these alternate perspectives do nothing to make things any clearer. I do appreciate the unpredictable nature of the gameplay but I can't help but think it's just too messy and convenient for the writers with all these unresolved issues.

With an assortment of moves such as kicks, punches, blocks, jumps, grapples and the ability to run up wall, Aeon is a formidable weapon in and of herself. She has an inventory of gadgets to help her solve puzzles and gain access to restricted areas. She can also hack into weapons systems such as gun turrets and use them against her enemy. The targeting system is automatic and will only lock-on to the enemy you're facing. When confronted by more than a couple of goons this can really spell trouble as you'll have to tap dance around the buttons to ready your weapon, face your enemy and fire. One of Aeon's trademark moves is the Flux which warps time in a bullet-time fashion, slowing down all elements in the game except for your character. This will help you when you're up against multiple enemies.

The levels are huge and separated by checkpoints. You can get around using a mini-ball which you steer around challenging courses consisting of high, narrow ledges and ramps. It's a lot like Super Monkey Ball but even more frustrating because you tend to fall off a lot more. There is definitely something afoot with the balancing physics.

Some of these futuristic environments don't live up to expectations. I expect a lot more imagination 400 years in the future. The graphics aren't even as good as the decade-old anime series. There's lot of polys and reused low-res textures that make it look like you've already been to some of the new areas. Multiple enemies onscreen contribute to some slowdown and there are lots of repeated phrases.

Charlize Theron stars in the film and lends her voice talent to the game. I admire an actor that supports their character through the various mediums. She does a great job as do most of the other actors.

There's not much for replay value, although you can play through the game as the various characters that you unlock. Overall Aeon Flux is a somwhat confusing game that doesn't live up to the inspired madness of the animated series; it does however manage to be a whole lot better than some of the games featuring female heroes.

Preview by Vaughn

I'm going to say something that might not be very popular with the ladies in the crowd (all 3 of you), but I'm willing to chance it in the name of honesty. Superhero chick movies suck. The track record proves it. Catwoman? Sucked. Elektra? Sucked. Red Sonja? Sucked. Why do these movies suck? Because they're aimed at a female audience in terms of story and a male audience in terms of costume design. But Hollywood doesn't get it so they are continuing to greenlight superhero chick movies in hopes one will catch on. The latest ones being Wonder Woman and Aeon Flux. And let me say, if live action superhero chick movies do crap box office, that doesn't bode very well for MTV created pseudo anima chick superhero features. But MTV is banking on that people who don't like superhero chick movies (AKA men) will dig superhero chick anime. It's a fine line and who knows, they may be right.

Oscar winning actress Charlize Theron (Monster) has already been involved with the MTV animated motion picture which is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2005. and developer Terminal Reality (Bloodrayne) has been hard at work creating the game that will loosely follow the action of the movie.

Press:

Majesco today announced that it has secured the worldwide rights to publish Aeon Flux for the Xbox and PlayStation 2, and has released the first screens and information for the upcoming title.

The game is scheduled to coincide with the theatrical release, which stars Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron (“Monster”) as Aeon Flux as well as such notable talents as Marton Csokas (“The Bourne Supremacy”), Frances McDormand (“Fargo”), Oscar-nominee Sophie Okonedo (“Hotel Rwanda”), Jonny Lee Miller (“Trainspotting”), and Pete Postlethwaite (“The Usual Suspects”) and is directed by Karyn Kusama (“Girlfight”). Majesco’s Aeon Flux ties together the animated series, which ran on MTV from 1992-1997, and the motion picture, which is slated for release in Fall 2005.

“We are excited to be partnering with MTV and Terminal Reality on such an encompassing project as Aeon Flux,” said Jesse Sutton president of Majesco. “By including the voice talent and likeness of Charlize Theron, we hope to provide consumers with a product that seamlessly fits within the world of Aeon Flux yet offers an interactive component that complements its entertainment counterparts.”

Developed by Terminal Reality, creators of Majesco’s hit BloodRayne series, Aeon Flux is based on Peter Chung’s popular futuristic MTV animated series and features a palpitating blend of stealth, speed and acrobatic combat. As beautiful as she is lethal, Aeon Flux is an agent whose abilities transcend everyday belief; she will depend upon those skills and talents to rid the city of Bregna from an evil tyranny.

Paramount Pictures’/Lakeshore Entertainment’s “Aeon Flux” is set 400 years in the future, when disease has wiped out the majority of the earth’s population except for one walled, protected city-state, Bregna, ruled by a congress of scientists. The story centers on Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron), the top operative in the underground ‘Monican’ rebellion, led by The Handler (Frances McDormand). When Aeon is sent on a mission to kill a government leader, she uncovers a world of secrets.

System: Xbox, PS2
Dev: Terminal Reality
Pub: Majesco
Release: Nov 2005
Players: 1
Review by Daemia
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
3.5
CONTROL
3.5
MUSIC/FX
4.0
VALUE
3.0