Broken Helix

Snappy voice-overs and nasty aliens can't save Broken Helix


It probably started out as a good idea. Take a third-person action title, which are very popular these days, hire Bruce Campbell, the star of the Evil Dead movies, to do voice-overs, and place it in the mysterious, yet trendy, Area 51. It may seem like a promising recipe, but it falters from some basic gameplay flaws.

A civilian scientist working at Area 51 has gone off the deep and has set up bombs all over the base. The wise-cracking Jake Burton (aka Bruce Campbell) must infiltrate the base without being detected by roving security cameras, defuse the bomb, and find out what s going on. And, if it s Area 51, you just know some slimy aliens are behind all of it.

To avoid detection, Jake must crawl past the cameras and shoot them from the ground. This is a major objective in the game, and also a major flaw - you can be detected even while crawling, which makes it almost impossible to get where you need to go without the game suddenly ending.

The majority of the game - searching for keys to open doors, shooting monsters - is decent enough, although nothing new. The only real differential here is the perspective (third-person rather than first) which sometimes works to your disadvantage. Jumping on the alien spiders, which you can t shoot, is extremely difficult given the perspective and the camera s insistence on staying behind your head, no matter where you look.

While the graphics are passable, they in no way blow the lid off the PlayStation s processors. If you re dying for an action title with a little alien in it, check out Broken Helix. Otherwise wait for Tomb Raider 2. That at least will have a cute chick in it.