There are more than a few shooter titles to choose from these days, some might even say they are in excess. Each of these games promises a one-of-a-kind experience in hopes of separating itself from the rest of the pack. Blacklight is one of these games; it promises to not only have the visuals and polished gameplay of its retail siblings, it also aims to match the amount of content found in full retail shooters.
In some places it succeeds, in others, not so much. For an arcade title, Tango Down has a healthy amount of content; the only problem is the “single player” experience, dubbed Black Ops, is far from great. A weak to non-existent story hurts the experience overall, but the addition of cooperative play is a huge bonus. I’m the type of gamer that enjoys playing with a friend in games like this, rather than against them. This likely stems from how bad I am at shooters, with the possible exception of Halo, and how easily frustrated I get when I play a game against people who, in some cases, have way too much time on their hands.
The multiplayer experience is quite a bit of fun, and other than some shady level design its pretty well designed. It seems as if the level designers were creating the levels to work best for snipers and spawn campers. It’s excruciatingly easy to get a sniper rifle, find a high point that overlooks the spawn area’s wall, and kill players as they spawn. Or if you’re a little less subtle you can simply lob grenades into the spawning area while someone covers you. You might be wondering how I know so much about these strategies, thinking to yourself, why Adam, it seems as if you implemented one of the above in your own gaming experience. No, I say, I was merely the one having the strategy implemented upon. Numerous times I might add.
Other than that the variety in the levels is actually quite good and varies in size and layout enough to force you to change your strategy in each match. But by far the best feature in the game is its vast customization arsenal. Once you get to a certain level and have unlocked enough of the goods, you can be pretty sure everyone you play against will have a different layout than yours, and that definitely makes the games more interesting. You can unlock new guns from the familiar categories of pain, i.e. shotguns, pistols, rifles, machine guns, etc. Then you can get charms for said weapons that boost your health, damage, or armor. And then add to that the plethora of unlockable parts for these weapons and you have yourself a good time.
But that’s not all, oh no sir. You can also make these bringers of pain pretty with different paint jobs, and there’s also unlockable armor (and styles) as well. Blacklight easily has the best customization system, so if you’re like me and you enjoy having a little individuality in your shooter games, that might make the game worthy of its $15 asking price right there.
Before you hit the Purchase button you should know something: all this customization is essentially rendered useless because of the health bar. What I mean is, your face hits the floor before you even knew you were being attacked. The 175 health points don’t seem to matter even a little since they evaporate in an instant no matter what gun you have. The difference in the time it takes to kill a foe with the gun you start with versus a gun you unlock after a hearty amount of playtime is unnoticeable.
In the end, Blacklight: Tango Down is a good game with some lofty goals. For sheer amount of content it gets gold stars, and ideas like the Digi Grenade, which explodes into a brilliant array of blinding pixels, are admirable ones. Unfortunately, the game also likes to reward shady practices like spawn camping, and the health bar is pretty much useless.