Blacklight: Tango Down aims to capitalize on the FPS multiplayer craze by offering an inexpensive multiplayer-only game on XBLA, PSN, and PC. Is it enough to tear you away from Modern Warfare 2? Read on to find out.
If you’re an avid FPS fan you probably fall into one of three categories. Category 1: You play the entire single player campaign before you move onto multiplayer. Category 2: You divide your time between single player and multiplayer fairly evenly until you’ve beat the campaign. Category 3: You don’t even bother trying out the first level, you just head straight for multiplayer. If you fall into the third category Blacklight: Tango Down might be the game for you. Not to say that folks in Category 1 or 2 wouldn’t enjoy it, as I myself am a Category 1 guy, but in this game, single player doesn’t exist.
Strip Searched.... I mean... Down..... Stripped Down
This game removes all the usual things you’d expect from a full retail FPS, like a story, campaign, cutscenes, and even tutorials. In Blacklight:Tango Down the Blacklight (an ex-US Special Ops group) is pitted against another group called The Order. The only way to really find this out is to go into the Help & Options menu. That’s also the only way to figure out the button layout and all the special equipment available to you. It would have been nice to include a simple tutorial (that’s optional of course) that would briefly explain what the game is about and how to play it. There are lots of really cool gadgets in the game that would really benefit from some explanation on some of the best ways to use them.
Modes and Maps
Before I start talking about the combat in this game I’d like to go through some of the modes and maps. There are 7 different modes and 12 different maps, and that appears to be all that we’re getting as the developer has stated it will only be patching to correct bugs. The modes are pretty much what you’d expect. There’s team deathmatch, a capture the flag game called Retrieval, Last man standing, etc, etc. Its nothing to write home about, but they work well and its good to see some variation here.
The maps are also fantastic except a few of them have a little design flaw. In my personal opinion, in order for an FPS map to be successful, it needs to have well guarded spawn points, good choke points, and areas of the map that you need to control as a team (i.e. choke points, in case you missed me saying it before). Blacklight certainly accomplishes this with a few of its maps, including one that takes place in the middle of a bunch of apartment buildings. However, some of the maps are perfect for spawn camping. With huge areas to the left and the right of the spawn points, and lots of cover, you’re stupid not to run as fast as you can to the other end of the map and wait for an unsuspecting victim to appear. You should always be penalized for spawn camping by making it extremely difficult to do without getting frequently killed, but alas, such is not the case. Those maps feature some great choke points but, unfortunately there’s no chance to get to them if you’re head is getting blown off when you wake up from getting your head blown off the first time. Hopefully some of the maps will be tweaked a little bit, but I’m not holding my breath.
Having 12 maps in a $15 dollar package sort of encourages me to overlook this oversight, but its still annoying when you’re playing. In many matches I found myself sneaking out of one side of the spawn point and then crawling back to the other side to try and thwart the campers, but that’s not really how I’d like to spend a whole round playing.