The Darkness

The Darkness

2K Games, $59.99

The Darkness' antihero, Jackie Estacado, is having a horrible birthday. Not only has he pissed off his adopted uncle, head of the New York Mafia, he's inherited the power of the Darkness, a millennia-old force for chaos and evil that shows up as two writhing snakes perched on his shoulders. Uncle Paulie wants to kill him; the Darkness wants his soul.

But having a demon on your back can be a lot of help when the mob is out to get you. Jackie can send one of the snakes slithering off to scout out new areas, summon up darklings (minidemons that carry everything from swords to guns to suicide bombs) to wreak havoc, and open black holes to hell. At least, he can do it if he's in the dark.

Instead of hiding behind walls, you have to spend your time planning attacks that will leave you in the shadows -- but not for stealth; as soon as Jackie steps into the light, his powers start to fade. You'll spend a fair amount of time popping lights before bursting open a door into a room like the black-hole-wielding badass you are.

That wait isn't bad. Unfortunately, you'll spend even longer just looking for the bad guys. The Darkness has an open-ended style to it, but there's no map or compass to show the way, just street signs. Welcome to New York.

Still, while The Darkness may keep you wandering around for a while, the payoff is well worth it.

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The Darkness

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