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Blacklight: Tango Down

Blacklight: Tango Down pack shot
Developer:Zombie Studios
Publisher:UTV Ignition
Genre:First Person Shooter
Platform:Xbox 360
Official Site:http://www.playtangodown.com/
Release Date:July 7th, 2010 (UK)
Reviewer:Andy Hemphill (Bandit)
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What does £10.20 buy you? In London you might get three pints. In Birmingham, perhaps a medium pizza and a coke. But what about online? Another day or two of World of Warcraft? No, for once, spend your hard earned cash on something worthwhile - spend it on Blacklight.

This little shooter is pretty good for its price tag. Springing from the minds of Ignition Entertainment's development crew, the game plays like a cross between Call of Duty's intense multiplayer action and Splinter Cell's gadgets and gizmos, and is well worth a little time and money.

Taking place in another dystopian future, this time in Russia, (why is the future never a good place to be?) the game chronicles the struggle of two groups: Blacklight, a team of elite US commandos, and The Order, another team of commandos who have gone rogue and might be carrying some freaky weapons around with them.

That's about as interesting as the story gets, and thankfully the game isn't really built around it.

The core gameplay is a pretty simple multiplayer blaster. There's a good selection of levels on offer, ranging from lit-up cityscapes to a fair number of brutal close-range brawls in dungeons that would make WoW proud, and the gameplay is intense and enjoyable.

Blacklight: Tango Down screenshot 1 Blacklight: Tango Down screenshot 2 Blacklight: Tango Down screenshot 3 Blacklight: Tango Down screenshot 4

The usual selection of modes are on offer: deathmatch, team deathmatch, domination, capture the flag and search and destroy. Like many shooters on the market, there's a selection of character classes up for grabs, ranging from your sniping marksman to your heavy gunner and the one-size-fits all soldier, and all come with a bunch of weapons you'd expect to have in the near future - assault rifles with laser scopes and grenade launchers for example, but by far the most interesting aspect of the solders' loadout is the high-tech battle suit they're all wearing.

The suit naturally absorbs a few bullets - though just like COD, catch a burst in the chest and it's game over - but the suit more than just a pretty bit of body armour - it also incorporates the hyper-reality visor (HRV), a nifty bit of hardware that lets you see through walls. Though the ability only lasts a few seconds at a time, the HRV lets you see enemies and friends through walls if they're nearby, switching into a cool-looking thermal vision at the same time.

This gameplay mechanic can turn matches on their head in an instant, and offers many chances to counter attack from unexpected places, as well as deterring the much-maligned campers of FPS-land. Thankfully the game has a counter to this deadly power - grenades that turn the heads-up display your suit comes with into little more than white hash - like a TV that's lost its signal.

It's quite jarring at first to be charging into a bad TV signal, but once you get used to the enhanced reality the visor offers it makes the game a whole lot more fun.

As well as these goodies, the game also has a pretty prolific upgrade and reward system, and while it's still irritating to get constantly demolished by gamers with too much time on their hands, it doesn't take too long to get your hands on some nifty goodies.

Blacklight: Tango Down screenshot 5 Blacklight: Tango Down screenshot 6 Blacklight: Tango Down screenshot 7 Blacklight: Tango Down screenshot 8

Outside of the multiplayer, which thankfully has a lot of people playing it - it's never hard to find a game - there's also a pretty underwhelming singleplayer co-op mode.

This mode pits you and up to three mates against four levels filled with AI bots. The AI is dumb, the missions are easy and there's not really any point to completing the tasks set before you, it seems tacked on, which is a shame, as using the HRV to plan assaults on superior enemy positions could have been a lot of fun. As it is, it's solid, if boring. Control-wise the game is nicely implemented. The control scheme will seem familiar to anyone who's played an FPS before, and there is very little lag present in most games.

Graphically the game is also pretty good, especially for an Arcade title. The textures are solid and believable, and look pretty damn fine through the confines of the HRV. The ragdoll effects can be a little off now and then however, with bodies getting wedged in walls before fading to ash, but that's minor at best.

The game does, however, suffer the eternal sin of overdoing the in-game advertising. I don't know what it is, but when I'm engaged in a pitched firefight with the enemy, throwing grenades left and right, and I dive into a small room for cover only to find an advert for Alienware all over the wall - it's a little jarring. And unfortunately is all too common.


While a little derivative at times, Blacklight offers an interesting take on the FPS genre, with a few nice touches. The HRV is a nice idea and well implemented - and though the over-the-top advertising can be a little irritating, and the occasional ragdoll antics entertaining, the game is a solid and fun shooter in the vein of Call of Duty, but with enough new stuff to keep you entertained. If you've got £10 to spare, give it a go.

The bottom line
7.5 / 10

Good stuff

  • HRV visor is great fun
  • Simple, intense gameplay
  • Good design, wide range of weapons

Not so good stuff

  • Dodgy ragdoll physics
  • Blatant in-game ads are annoying
  • Limited levels

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