The final dose of brilliance for XBox and PS2?
With it's tense gunplay, brutal one-shot kills and exhilarating rewards for players who curbed their gung-ho urges, Rares 1997 hit GoldenEye changed the face of console blasters, steering the genre in a more realistic direction and punishing players who couldnt control their itchy trigger finger. By contrast, in adopting a back-to-basics approach and the sort of savage action that made Virtua Cop an arcade classic, Black is one of the most deliriously thrilling shooting games in years.
Developed by Criterion the coders behind the psychotic Burnout series Black thrusts players into a volatile world where everything can be destroyed, making for an explosive experience that feels like a Schwarzenegger flick circa 1985. Rather than the slow, edgy action of contemporary blasters like Rainbow Six, Black is all about blowing doors off their hinges with a sawn-off shotgun, mowing down legions of soldiers with an endless supply of bullets and igniting fuel tanks to unleash teeth-rattling explosions, making for a chain of wild and deeply satisfying skirmishes that are a breath of fresh air in a genre that takes itself
much too seriously.
Even better, while its enormous fun taking part in the fierce fire-fights, the aftermath of your killing sprees is just as gratifying, with huge chunks gouged out of the Eastern European environments, enemy corpses strewn across the dusty streets and thousands of empty shell- casings carpeting the ground. Criterions dubious ambition to create the first gun porn game has been beautifully realised.
With the Xbox 360 already in stores and the PS3 looming on the horizon, the current generation of consoles are sure to experience a drought of quality software in the coming months. But if youre determined to stick with your machine until the bitter end, Black
could be the last truly great game on the PS2 and Xbox.