As any moviegoer knows, the month of June is a special time. Oscar season is well past, and so are the ads calling you back to quality cinema. By now, the compulsion to sit in the dark for two hours watching a serious drama or moody period piece has subsided. June movies, instead, are about guilty pleasures--dashing heroes, titanic explosions, improbable stunts, and multi-millionaire funny men. Of this year's slate, and judged wholly by the trailer, one of the best looks to be Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. Action, sass, sex and absurdity--the Angels have it all.
Even more importantly, they've got a really good game for your phone. Charlie's Angels: Road Cyclone is a driving game with several twists. The innovative gameplay makes what could have been a forgettable branded movie tie-in into a fun game.
In CARC, you take the role of one of the Angels, as you pilot a motorcycle on a horizontally scrolling highway. Depending on which Angel you choose, you have slightly different capabilities: Sandra is the fastest, Mira the most agile, and Hope is the toughest. You're beset by legions of thugs (also on bikes), who do their best to kill you. Angels rely on their wits and luck, not their firepower, so you'll have to find ways to fend them off without the aid of a gun. You'll dodge their grenades and get them to shoot each other while using ramps to jump over and on top of them.
As is traditional, the baddies are not very smart. They're also wimpy (going down with a single bullet, rather than the five or six an Angel can withstand) and they're bad drivers (crashing on ramps that launch an Angel high into the air). But there sure are a lot of them, and they're supplemented by bosses at the end of each level.
Level one, "Road Cyclone," offers a motorcycling boss who you have to jump on several times to kill. Level two, "Death From Above," confronts you with a strafing helicopter to avoid. And finally and most interesting, level three, "Truck Stop," brings in an 18-wheeler that you destroy by crashing enemy motorcycles into it.
The gameplay is consistently smart, with familiar four-way movement control augmented by several unique elements. After luring your enemies into shooting each other, you can use their wreckage to crash others. You can also bump them into ramps and knock them off their bikes, of course. The best Angel detail is that you can recharge your health by jumping onto an unoccupied motorcycle--just like in real life!
It is unfortunate that CARC is so short, and it would be nice to see more bosses, smarter enemies, and crazier maneuvers in additional levels. But that's the way it goes in summer movie tie-ins.
Developed by Centerscore and published by Sony Pictures Digital, CARC is now available exclusively on Cingular.