The Happy Crappy Gamer: Enter the Matrix
I have this uncanny ability where I’m able to recall the most intricate, mundane details of my life by associating people with specific times, dates, and places. That’s how I remember buying Enter the Matrix the day before The Matrix: Reloaded hit theaters in May of 2003. I’m able to remember that because I was with a girl named Renee and we saw The Matrix: Reloaded together but we didn’t see The Matrix: Revolutions, because by that time I was with a girl named Diana, who I first went out with on October 3rd, two days after my mom’s birthday, which we celebrated by having dinner at a local Red Lobster and I wore new jeans that I purchased earlier in the day from the J. Crew outlet.
So yeah, I can remember all sorts of random stuff: I moonlight as a man-whore, and Diana accused me of poisoning her, but it turns out she had an allergic reaction to some medicine that caused her tongue to turn black, and all I could think about was, “I kissed her goodbye.” Who cares, all’s well that ends okay, so let’s pop a red pill, go down the rabbit hole, and have a good day.
I didn’t write this piece to tell you this game sucks; I wrote it to tell you why I love it. I’m going to end this paragraph and then I’m going to tell you, the reader, why I love this game. My love is without rules or boundaries; with my love, anything is possible. Where you go from here is a choice I leave to you.
I want to start off by saying that Enter the Matrix is more than a video game, it’s an interactive experience, and that’s downright fantastic because I’m so tired of the traditional movie tie-in garbage. In Enter the Matrix, instead of playing as the main characters of the film series, you get to play as the second-string characters that don’t get a lot of screen time in the trilogy, but they get their own story told through events that parallel the films. You’re still able to do see the oracle, fight agents, go into bullet time, hang with the Merovingian, cruise on the Nebuchadnezzar, rescue the key maker, and watch as Persephone kisses Niobe, so all is not lost. As for the actual story of the game, you can play as either Ghost or Niobe, who are sent on a mission to retrieve a package left behind by the real Matrix crew. The package turns out to be a message for the last human city on earth, Zion, warning the city of an impending doom of sentinels sent to destroy the city and all humans.
I really loved the ability to hack into the Matrix before loading up a game; it was as if you were an operator like Tank or Dozer. It’s fun to hack and drop weapons, ammo, or health throughout the map before getting plugged in. Remember when Neo said he needed “Guns, lots of guns” before attempting to rescue Morpheus from the agents? It’s kind of like that. Your controller even vibrated while hacking, how awesome is that?
Enter the Matrix wasn’t the first video game to have bullet time, but it does implement it well and in an enjoyable fashion. I loved going into bullet time, cartwheeling through bullets, jumping out of bullet time, flipping over an enemy, grabbing their gun, shooting them in the back, going back into bullet time, running up a wall, slow motion kicking a different enemy in the face, and as soon as the foot is hitting the face, coming out of bullet time so I could see the enemy getting kicked in real time.
Enter the Matrix gets a lot of flak for being buggy which is a real shame because it’s easily one of the smartest and most intelligent video games/interactive experiences to ever come out. Do you honestly think the glitches in the game were products of a rushed development cycle? It was actually an act of brilliance on the developer’s part to keep the game as authentic to the films as possible.
Take for example when you see the AI getting stuck in a wall while trying to shoot you. You’re trained to think it’s a flaw in the game design, but no, it’s actually a glitch in the Matrix, or a ghost, except it’s not quite fully formed yet, so that’s why it’s stuck in the wall. Think of it as an old magnetic cassette tape. The tape has layers wrapped around a spool which can cause a faint imprint of the magnetic information to be transferred to the adjacent layer, resulting in the audio to be layered on top of each other. So when you see the AI running into the wall it’s really the formation of a ghost, because each time you play the game, you’re basically creating a new Matrix, which in turn is writing over the previous one and eventually leading to the bleeding through of information. That is hands down one of the greatest innovations in gaming history ever, next to the pause button, but people were too busy taking the blue pill to even notice how seamlessly the developers were able to translate aspects of the films, like ghosts, into Enter the Matrix. Unfortunately I cannot tell you anymore, you have to play it for yourself.
I could sit here all day and rave about how great and ahead of its time this game was. It pretty much has everything a fan of the franchise or gamer would want. You get to play not as the main characters, experience a parallel story that’s less than five hours long, repetitively shoot enemies during those five hours, and go into bullet time. It’s the holy grail of gaming. Thank you Shiny Entertainment for finally unplugging me from the harsh reality of movie tie-in games and taking me deeper into the rabbit hole.
The Happy Crappy Gamer