Forgotten Game Greats: "Constantine" (2005)
- by Ninja Ross, 3 December 2014
Back in 2005, Keanu Reeves starred in the movie adaptation of Hellblazer. That didn’t end well. Not at all. John Constantine went from being a blonde haired con man from Liverpool to being... Keanu Reeves. The movie didn’t impress many critics or Hellblazer fans at all. I, however, enjoyed the movie quite a bit. But you all know my thoughts on Keanu Reeves!
The best part of the movie is the tie-in video game developed by Bits Studios and published by THQ, which came out just before the movie. The game more or less follows the movie in terms of plot; demons are trying to get out of hell and that’s not a good thing. But things are changed to allow for action, rather than building character and plot development. Not much fun if you spend most of the time talking and smoking.
But the overall story isn’t what makes this game a forgotten great.
The gameplay is your basic third person shooter, with John running around shooting weapons inspired by the movie, including The Witch’s Curse and the Holy Shotgun. You spend a lot of the time blasting generic demons with these weapons, making a mess all over the place.
While the majority of the gameplay is very simple and nothing special, it’s well executed; it’s fun and just challenging enough to keep from being boring. The weapons themselves are fun to use and have a lot of fun, flashy effects on the monsters trying to eat your face.
You also use spells to fight demons and complete puzzles. The spells allow you to create swarms of flies, shoot lightening and enter hell. All of which are essential for day to day living, am I right? Each spell has a little quick time event that you have to complete within the time limit. They’re not especially useful in combat for the most part, but they can be helpful and are always fun to look at.
One of the most interesting elements of the game is the ability to go to hell when a puddle of water is present. You stand in the puddle, cast the spell and off you go!
Of course, you don’t just enter hell because it’s a bit toasty there; you’ll need to visit the place in order to solve certain puzzles. For example, a wall might be smashed in hell but perfectly fine on earth. You might need to push a block that can’t be moved in hell. All kinds of puzzle-y stuff.
The hell sections are very well designed, similar to that of the movie (one of the movie’s best features). Switching between worlds doesn’t feel like a chore at all, as it helps change the pace throughout the level.
I’ve mentioned puzzles a couple of times, but they’re not exactly complex. They’re not one of the biggest parts of the game at all, but it’s nice change of pace.
The game is also filled with little details that help give the game a bit more depth than your average movie tie-in; everything has a back story and there are little things hidden in every level. Plenty of things to discover. The game is also littered with tarot cards to collect, allowing you to unlock bonus material, including a full issue of Mike Carey’s Hellblazer run.
One of my favourite little details is what Constantine does when left idle; he’ll often light up a cigarette, which slowly depletes his health bar. It’s not a game changing thing, but it’s a fun little detail. A nice homage to the source material. The source matierial’s source matieral, too.
The graphics are not the greatest the generation had to offer, but they’re not terrible. It’s not an unattractive game by any means. Constantine just about looks like Keanu Reeves (kind of almost sounds like him at times, too) and the demons look menacing enough.
While it may not be the most innovative game the world has ever seen, it is a lot of fun. I highly suggest you check it out, if you ever get the chance. You’re probably not going to have to pay full price for it, at least.
So there you have it! Have you played "Constantine"? It's certainly much better than the TV show by the same title, right? Leave your comments below!