Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy
June 19th 2003
Introduction:Malice is one of those games which I thought was lost to the development black hole. By some miracle Malice has finally been published, years later. I was still hyped to play this game even after all this time . man what was I thinking?!
The Game: Way back when I first purchased my Xbox, Malice was being pumped up by the press and sounded like it was going to be a drop-jaw amazing game. The developer Argonaut Games took four long years to pump out Malice and if you've played the game, you'll be thinking "what took so long?" Even if you compare Malice to the first run of Xbox games, you'll be disappointed, never mind the impressive titles this year.
Malice is a platform game which puts you in control of a cartoon inspired girl with a serious attitude. We learn it's Malice's role is to defeat a giant dog that decapitated her previously. Luckly Malice is a demi-goddess so she never really died, she returns to life to rebuild this giant space robot thing and hunt down the evil dog. Four years, yes four years and that is what they came up with. Malice is a bizarre as it sounds especially when you meet the giant space robot thing. The not so funny robot is made up of gears, and is a link between worlds. Malice has to help the robot by unlocking parts of its machinery, while in turn the robot has to help Malice defeat the giant dog called Dog God. Seriously Dog God! That's his name.
Malice is a standard platform game, underneath all the madness. You'll be jumping, collecting coins and keys, and crushing strange creatures with you huge hammer weapon. No this isn't a Mario game. The levels are a mixed up mess of simple objectives which only lead to another level of mix up. Unfortunality there is nothing new throughout Malices short play time, expect the same forumla repeated again and again.
Graphics & Sound:Malice sticks to a cartoon esthetic during the game, which suits the action and characters in the world. The keep everything simple, wait. too simple. The textures are below average, and it's hard to see any outstanding aspects in Malice. The character design is alright, but they make about as much sense as the dreaded Blinx blobs.
Malice has some of the campiest voice work I have heard to date. It's not horrible by any means, but the dialog between the characters is pretty lame. Malice tries to stand out with her witty one liners, but fails to the premise that we've heard all this before. The rest of the sound aside from the voice work (sorry no Gwen Stefani) is pretty stale, there is nothing memorable, and the effects are sub-par. Turn up the radio, and then play Malice.
Innovation: Now, I have been down on Malice pretty much this whole review but finally I can give some credit in considering innovation. Malice has innovation onto its own; keeping in mind the bizarre characters they combine in the game. The main characters in Malice and the strange after world of shuffling souls are like a flashback to the acid days of the 70s. What it all means, I don't know. It's not necessarily a good innovation, but the creators of Malice managed to put together one of the most non-relative video game stories to date.
Mojo:Malice had once peaked my interest, but it seems the game I expected and the game that arrived is two completely different ideas. Malice's mojo hangs onto a little score with likeable lead characters, but again we've seen her headstrong type over and over. It's too bad there isn't much "fun" to find in Malice. Low Mojo reading, Low mojo.
Lowdown:Malice would be suitable for a young gaming audience; hopefully they could find some enjoyment of Malice's bizarre world. The level of difficulty is rather low, and experienced gamers will just plow through the game, if they haven't turned it off.
Gameplay: 4, Graphics/Sound: 4, Innovation: 2, Mojo: 3. Final: 3.5