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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Vengeance, Wrath, and a Whole Lotta Darkness

Each time I sit down to play The Darkness, I start to like it a little more. I like the characters in the game, plain and simple. Sure, maybe there's not much depth to the Jackie and company, but I do get a clear sense of Jackie's anger and frustration over the game's events. There's nothing better than having those feelings of righteousness, wrath and justice come across in a video game, flowing through the game controller, and setting me up for every emotional up and down that the game can throw at me. And now that I'm accustomed to the controls and gained a little practice with the various Darkness powers at my disposal, I'm having a great time destroying exacting Jackie's revenge on everyone and everything that gets in my/his way.

In my last Darkness-related post, I mentioned that I'd be focusing on working towards clearing a few achievements: One With the Dark, Heart of Gold, and Ripper. Completing the Heart of Gold achievement takes a little bit of work and can't really be completed all at once. Instead, this achievement is cleared by helping various NPCs through various side-quests that take place over the course of the game's five chapters. Thankfully, one of the side-missions (Vinny Mortarello's "hit" list) allowed me pick up a couple achievements and gave me further progress towards grabbing a big achievement down the road.

I think it's the second hit for Vinny that sees Jackie facing off against a few cops and a Mafia thug in Grinder's Lane. From a saved checkpoint, I only had to turn a single corner to come face to face with my four or five enemies. This type of situation - saved checkpoint seconds before a big fight - is a great place to pick up some of the combat-type achievements in The Darkness.

The first achievement I picked up was the Gunner achievement, awarded for killing 30 enemies with Jackie's Darkness guns. The best thing about the Darkness guns is that they don't run out of ammo as long as you avoid getting shot too much and that you remaining standing in the shadows. My typical "run" at the thugs would go as follows:

  1. Climb the stairs from the subway station, turn left, and knock out the two streetlights at the three-way intersection.
  2. Crouch in the shadows to remain hidden and look for an enemy who's made the mistake of standing a little too far from his buddies. If he happens to be standing in the shadows, even better.
  3. Approach the straggler and use the Demon Arm darkness power to impale and kill him.
  4. With the rest of the enemies now alerted to your presence, retreat a little ways back with Jackie, bring out the Darkness Guns, and start shooting.
  5. Once everyone has been dealt with, restart from the last saved checkpoint and start again at step 1.
By following this pattern a number of times, I was easily able to get the Gunner achievement.

I followed this same pattern for the Ripper achievement, awarded for killing 30 enemies with Jackie's Demon Arm power. Once I'd picked up the Gunner achievement, I focused on taking out more enemies with the Demon Arm. Typically, I'd run in and skewer one or two guys first. After that, I'd do my best to skewer as many of the remaining bad guys as possible. Once I had the mechanics of the Demon Arm well-practiced, I found it pretty easy to work through enough Demon Arm kills to pick up the Ripper achievement.

I should also mention that I ended up repeating my "five easy steps to killing mafia thugs and dirty cops" until I'd killed a total of 60 enemies with both the Darkness guns and the Demon Arm. By doing so, I paved the way to picking up the Darkness Master achievement. The Darkness Master achievement is awarded by completing the following sub-tasks:
  • Kill 30 enemies using the Creeping Dark power.
  • Summon 100 (or maybe just 50) Darklings.
  • Kill 60 enemies using the Demon Arm power.
  • Kill 60 enemies using the Darkness Guns.
  • Kill 40 enemies using Black Hole power.
As it stands right now, I need only take out 40 enemies with the Black Hole power to finish up Darkness Master and earn myself an extra 100 GamerPoint! First, I'll need to get my hands on the Black Hole power though.

I also managed to pick up the One With the Dark achievement last night, given to me for having devoured 180 hearts. This also puts me on track to taking down the Cannibal achievement (devour 300 hearts) sometime soon.

I'm making some pretty good progress in the game. There aren't too many moments where I've found myself lost or confused about what action to take next. However, I did get royally stuck while completing the fifth hit on Vinny's side-quest. This last hit involves taking out a thug spying on a police captain. The instructions sound pretty easy: go to Gun Hill, look for the thug and take him out! The catch is that the thug is in an apartment somewhere in Gun Hill: to get to him, Jackie must use the Creeping Dark power to get into the apartment and kill the guy.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a minor glitch when it comes to completing this mission. After getting the mission from Vinny, I accidentally bumped into him a second time before actually reaching the maintenance tunnels to Gun Hill. Vinny started to discuss the hit again but I kept walking since I'd already heard the briefing and ignored Vinny's calls to come back and listen. Ehen I got to Gun Hill, the apartment window that is supposed to be lit up and open was both dark and closed. It seems that the game took the mission away from me because I walked out on Vinny even though the mission itself was still displayed in my objectives. In any case, another quick talk with Vinny and a second trip to Gun Hill cleared up the problem.

For those of you out there still having problems taking out the thug spying on Captain Shrote in Gun Hill, watch the following video and you'll have all the help you need with completing the hit.

In the next couple days, I'm hoping to finish up Chapter 3 of The Darkness and make it through most of Chapter 4. I should also be able to pick up the following achievements:
  • Crazy For You: I believe that I'm less than two minutes away from picking up the Black Hole power in my game. It's gonna be awesome: I hear that the game is a cake-walk once you've got the ability to generate black holes and I love cake! Most gamers would make some sort of "the cake is a lie" comment here, referencing Portal; however, I still haven't played Portal or Half-Life 2 and haven't a clue what to make of the "cake" reference.

  • Into the Dark: I believe this achievement is unlocked once I make my way to Chapter 4. What I'm most interested in right now is seeing how Chapter 3 ends. I don't think it'll be as good as the Chapter 1 ending but I'm sure it'll great nonetheless.

  • Anti Air: This achievement involves bringing down a helicopter, probably the same helicopter that has appeared to take potshots at Jackie in Chapters 1 and 3. I've read that black holes and helicopters do not play together nicely: it'll be nice to see this bird go down for the count.

  • Bringing People Together: I'll need to take out five enemies with one black hole: how hard can this be?

  • Void Bringer: Like the Ripper and Gunner achievements, I'll need to take out 20 enemies with the Black Hole power. I'll just need to find a good checkpoint/fight situation that I can exploit again.

  • Darkness Master: If I can take out 20 guys with a black hole, I'm sure I can take out 40 with very little extra effort. This achievement is worth 100 GamerPoint so I'd really like to get that as soon as possible.

I should mention that I do stop to "smell the flowers", so to speak, when playing video games. I've really enjoyed the story behind The Darkness and I'm anxious to see how things end for Jackie and friends. It may appear that overlook story and gameplay in favour of achievement points but that's not quite true. I will go out of my way to collect certain achievements when I feel they are easily cleared or if they sound fun to do; however, I'll also go out of my way to enjoy the finer points of a game as well.

Tonight I play! And that's all that matters, right?


Mike said...

Ahh, The Darkness. Now there's one game I've always wanted to play for the PC. I don't really know if I'll ever get to play it, since the 360 isn't high on my priority list, thanks to its unreliability.

I was able to watch a few videos of The Darkness, and I think it's pretty sweet. I don't know if multiplayer is any good, but the single-player game looks awesome.

Klopzi said...

Mike -

The Darkness is a solid single-player game, but I've heard the multiplayer is crap. It seems that LAG is the primary culprit in making the online play suitable only for true fanboys of the game.

I'd stick with G.O.W. or Team Fortress 2 for online play, though I know you're having G.O.W. issues. Oh, and I'm not a big Halo fan so Halo 3 multiplayer is right out...