Ocean should take a seat alongside THQ and LJN in the Trifecta of Unholy NES Publishers. Darkman, like most licensed games based on decent intellectual properties, is a disaster. How do we count the ways? Atrocious controls, poor graphics, bare-bones action, ridiculous difficulty, and an overbearing time limit.
Darkman runs like he has oil under his shoes and he can’t jump to save his life – literally. There are so many precise jumps you’ll have to make onto precariously placed platforms, but it’s far too easy to slide off the platforms or trip and fall.
Darkman’s attacks are a mere punch and kick (what, no cape swoop?) that only connect half the time and aren’t very strong. Even the greasy truck drivers in the first level take several hits to kill; if you’ve ever played Urban Champion, Nintendo’s early street-brawling simulator, you’ll know where Ocean got their inspiration for the fighting mechanics. Unless you bypass the enemies, you can’t jump over them either. Every enemy encounter is an unwanted fight.
Since Darkman‘s gameplay doesn’t amount to more than slippery jumps and awkward fisticuffs with increasingly challenging enemies (ninjas?! C’mon!), you’ll be forgiven for ignoring the titular character’s pitch-black world.
PUBLISHER/DEVELOPER: Ocean GENRE: Action
RELEASE DATE: 10/1991 – (US), 1991 – (EU)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: Amiga, C64, Amstrad CPC, GB, Atari ST, ZX Spectrum