30 Days of Xbox: Black

Guns go bang. A lot.
Black is of course one of the lucky 13 that I could play through the Xbox One, but that would involve downloads and having the disc to hand to verify every time I wanted to play anyway. Or I could, y’know, drop the disc into the actual Xbox and just play. If you’ve been following along all month, you already know which way I jumped.
I’m not the world’s biggest fan of first person shooters, especially the more gung-ho guns-are-kewl type, which is why I find it so baffling that I really rather like Black.

I suspect it’s at least because its framing mechanism feels like it could have fallen out of another EA series, the long-lost Strike games, which went with the same style of video all the way back in the Nuclear Strike games.
Just writing that makes me nostalgic for the Strike games… but no Strike games on the Xbox! So onwards I go.
Black is a Criterion game, and at that stage they were the company making the excellent Burnout games, not FPS. But their DNA is all over Black, because it’s just… fun.
Which isn’t much of a description for the game, but it’ll do. It’s not so po-faced as to be boring, and neither am I some kind of superman soldier fightin’ for ‘murica (a la the later Call of Duty games).
War is hell, and while there’s plenty of stuff-going-boom action, it’s not all presented as glorious. At the same time, enemies can soak up stupidly large quantities of bullets, which gives it a lighter, arcade game style feel.
Sure, FPS has come on a ways since Black, but not all change is for the better.

Fat Duck Tech Retro Xbox Game Rankings

  1. Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time
  2. Taito Legends 2
  3. Sid Meier’s Pirates!
  4. Panzer Dragoon Orta
  5. Outrun 2
  6. Ninja Gaiden
  7. Black
  8. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
  9. Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb
  10. Godzilla: Save The Earth
  11. The Punisher
  12. SSX Tricky
  13. NFL Street
  14. Disney Extreme Skate Adventure
  15. FIFA 2004
  16. NHL Rivals 2004
  17. Rocky
  18. Spy vs Spy
  19. Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers
  20. Rugby League
  21. Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death
  22. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball

I can’t deny Black’s essential quality, even though it’s not precisely my cup of tea. It’s also probably the only Xbox FPS I’m going to do in this run, because while they’re on my games shelves, I’ve never been particularly drawn into the Halo games. Yeah, that’s my call, but it’s also very much my position. Nothing against them, but they’ve never really thrilled me either.
Next time: I get angry with some puppies.

Author: Alex

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

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