Apocalypse – Developer: Neversoft – Publisher: Activision – PS1
12 Monkeys, Armageddon and The 5th Element. Christ. If you see Bruce Willis coming then it must be the end of the world! And things are no different with this gem of a shooter. Apocalypse Stars Bruce Willis, in the role of Trey Kincaid. He’s a nanotech scientist charged with saving the world from an evil preacher known as The Reverend. This obviously insane piece if work is trying to bring about the end of days, by summoning the four horsemen of the apocalypse. We start off with Trey being thrown into jail by The Reverend and having the nanotechnology he has been working stolen. Reverend then uses this technology for his own ends.
The first level starts as you escape from jail and find all hell is breaking loose as a result of the Reverends misdeeds. The levels are quite lengthy, but also linear. There’s a lot of a fire power in the weapons you pick up along the way and plenty of chaotic action on screen most of the time with a few platform sections here and there, including one that seems to riff on The Fifth Element, hopping on to hovering cars that look rather like the taxi Willis drives in the film.
The locations will take you from a penitentiary to sewers and roof tops as well as a city over run with bad guys all the way to the Whitehouse. The fundamentals of this game are just run and gun. Only with Bruce Willis, doing as he does best. Kicking ass and delivering one-liners.
It may seem like nothing new these days, but to have a major star in a video game back then was virtually unheard of. There had been some recognizable names in some other titles (Greg Proops in Pandemonium springs to mind), but none as big as Bruce Willis. He was originally intended to star in this game as your wisecracking side-kick who will help you gun down the hoards of enemies. Midway into development, that idea was canned. Who wants Brucie as side kick? Things were soon changed so that you actually are Bruce. And it works better that way. In such an action packed, enemy filled game, not only would a side kick get in the way, it would probably ruin the experience (though may have made a decent multiplayer). Luckily the developers saw sense and went with him being the only main character and being able to control him. As you’d expect in an action adventurer starring Willis, the game is full of one liners, put downs and wise cracks. The problem with that however, was that the voice work was recorded with the original idea in mind. This (in my opinion) didn’t really affect things, though some of the phrases were often over-used as a result. I’ve seen a video of the games as originally intended. Am I glad they canned it! It looked awful.
It is a solid shooter with a decent sci-fi storyline and great visuals for its time. Perhaps a little too short as I have finished it in one sitting on more than one occasion. In its day it was quite a unique shooter. It was one of the first games to utilise the Dualshock controller. Using both the analogue feature and the vibrate functions. You would use the left analogue stick to move and using the right stick enabled you to fire your weapon 360°. Like a lot of 3D games at the time (and these days I suppose), it suffered from a poor camera angle here and there, thus making the platforming sections a little tricky and frustrating at times. That, along with some of the voice issues, is the only thing that really brings down an otherwise fun shoot ‘em up.
The game has quite a heavy soundtrack including System of a Down and POE (according to the internets, this is a good thing), which if that’s your cup of tea, then I’m sure it’ll improve the experience somewhat!
You could probably find a copy of this on certain websites these days for only a few quid. I think it’s worth picking up a copy to give it a run through. There are worse things you can do on a rainy day! A cult game if there ever was one!
I give Apocalypse 7 out of 10.