XXX Review

For many reasons, XXX just does not work as a handheld game.

For many reasons, XXX just does not work as a handheld game. Like so many other motion picture adaptations, the game lacks the special effects and dialogue that make the film entertaining. XXX the game is instead forced to excel solely on the merits of its gameplay--which in this case is a mixture of shooting and scavenger hunting that you've no doubt experienced in better form in countless other action games.

Ouch. Exploding dart to the joy department.

XXX is based on the feature film starring Vin Diesel and Samuel L. Jackson. You play as Diesel's character in the film, Xander Cage, an extreme-sports fanatic who is tapped by the US government to fight a terrorist syndicate known as Anarchy 99. There are 11 different missions to complete, the majority of which are side-scrolling levels packed full of gun-toting terrorists.

Unfortunately, the computer-controlled enemies only know how to shoot on sight and pace back and forth. This kind of behavior nets them a lot of free hits, because you won't often see the terrorists until they've already popped off a few shots. In many cases, you can't even duck under their attack because you're coming through a door or landing from a lofty fall. The simplemindedness of the enemies also contributes to the tedious nature of the game, as you're forced to kill hundreds of them while searching for the countless keys and missiles parts that lead you to the next level--and there are no boss battles to look forward to at the end of each level, either.

Although action games are repetitive by nature, most have some sort of design element to offset the constant monotony of their levels and enemies. In Spider-Man: The Movie, for example, you can stick to walls and swing through the air. In the Scorpion King, you can climb walls and gather all sorts of fire magic. XXX has nothing like this. You can run, jump, shoot, and throw grenades. There are various weapons to collect, such as AK-47s and shotguns, but nothing that really adds diversity to the game's side-scrolling levels.

The most enjoyable aspect of XXX is its motorcycle missions, which are quite fun, but also terribly infrequent. These levels resemble the classic Road Rash games, in that you have to avoid oncoming cars and road hazards while also punching and kicking enemy cyclists. These stages look good and really show off the modest 3D capabilities of the Game Boy Advance.

The game's motorcycle stages play like Road Rash.

As boring as it is, XXX certainly presents itself well. The digitized character sprites are large and move fluidly, while backgrounds are colorful and full of depth thanks to multiple layers of parallax scrolling. Enemies sometimes blend in with the dark surroundings, but not so much that they're invisible. At the same time, the soundtrack is fast-paced and has a theatrical quality to it that doesn't seem rehashed or overblown.

Unless you really love Road Rash, or you just can't live without every XXX movie tie-in, there's really no reason to subject yourself to XXX the game. Sure, it looks pretty, but that doesn't justify 11 levels of the same old thing.

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  • First Released
    released
    • Game Boy Advance
    For many reasons, XXX just does not work as a handheld game.
    4.2
    Average Rating53 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Digital Eclipse
    Published by:
    Activision
    Genre(s):
    Platformer, Action, 2D
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
    Violence