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Xbox 360 Review: The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

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From the saga, The Chronicles of Riddick, developer Starbreeze Studios and publisher Atari gives you the single player stealth/first person shooter Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena AND Escape from Butcher Bay, all on one disc. You play as Riddick, well known for being able to see the in the dark and being an extraordinary killer.

The remake of Escape from Butcher Bay was amazing. There was a definite difference in comparison of the two. The remastered version looks almost, if not just as good, as Assault on Dark Athena. I was amazed that for the first time ever, you could actually see your own reflection in the mirror. I walked into a shower room on Assault on Dark Athena and I actually saw my reflection and every action that I did while looking at the mirror. Yes, it actually shows what it looks like while swinging your Ulaks or anything for that matter.

Like all games, you begin going through learning how all the controls work and what button does what. As Riddick, voiced by a busy Vin Diesel who recently did Wheelman as well, you wake up on a beach where Escape from Butcher Bay left off. You start out by traveling through a sewer learning how to move, use a ladder, drag dead bodies, and learn about drones, their weapons and how to disarm someone. After a small firefight to teach you how to fire your weapon and aim it, you go down a tunnel and the lights turn off at the end and gradually turn off towards you, which begins the game.

As for the sound, one word: astonishing. It made my day every time someone would make an attempt at giving Riddick a difficult time and his deep and calm voice would just threaten their life in one way or another.

To change your weapons, you hold RB and move your right analog stick in the direction of the weapon you want to use. Whichever direction you move it, a little blue dot will go in that direction, which was rather fun for me. If you’re entertained by the smallest things, you’ll have fun with that little blue dot for a few seconds and move it all over the place. You move that blue dot onto one of the weapons then simply let go of RB and you’ll begin using that weapon. You can also set two weapons up as “hotkeys” by moving the blue dot onto a weapon and press either right or left on the D-Pad.

You begin the actual game on a dead ship that is floating through an asteroid belt towards the ship Dark Athena. A large cable shoots out from Dark Athena and hits the ship, dragging it towards itself. Once on Dark Athena, Riddick hides in the ceiling while Revas, Riddick’s arch-enemy, examines a body that was found on a bed and plans on using as another drone. Riddick stealthily steals her hairpin, which becomes Riddick’s first weapon, while she is talking through an intercom to someone on the Dark Athena. This sequence begins Riddick’s hunt for Revas as he makes his way through the Dark Athena assassinating drones, which are the most common enemy found on the ship.

Revas control Drones, human begins who have been killed once before and are fused with technology to bring back life to the body. Drones are rather easy to kill, but they don’t miss when they fire at you. The easiest method of killing them is the tranquilizer, which you find later in the game. The Ulaks are probably the weapon on which you will use the most throughout the game. They are held by a handle and a razor blade curves around your fingers kind of like a pair of brass knuckles, except there is no groove to it except at the top. The grooves at the top, though, are pointed to make the Ulaks cause more damage to your opponent when hit by them.

The stealth is rather easy, since a majority of the ship has dark places. To enter your stealth mode, press X and Riddick will crouch. Yes, very stealthy. Actually, you have to be crouched in a dark place, and if you are, your screen will turn a bluish color signifying that you are in stealth and you can not be seen. If you crouch in the open where light is hitting you, obviously you’re going to be noticed. Also, standing in dark places will also allow enemies to see you. You can’t be in stealth while standing, even if you’re in a dark area.

In some dark areas of the ship, even in stealth mode, it’s too dark for you to see anything. This is what made Riddick famous. You can activate Riddick’s “eyeshine” which allows you to see in the dark, by press down on the D-Pad. If you’d rather go with the “normal” approach, you can always use a flashlight, but where is the fun in that? To activate a flashlight, you first need to have a gun, other than the tranquilizer, and press Up on the D-Pad.

This game represents the series first time feature has online multiplayer. It was rather terrible in the category of online play. It reminded me of some other games, like Perfect Dark, Quake, and Unreal Tournament. They were all face paced games, but it didn’t give the full-on effect of the online play like today’s games. This game has a decent multiplayer mode, but it is definitely up there in the single player department.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Content, Strong Language. This game can also be found on PS3 and PC.

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