A few weeks back, I recommended my friend buy a used copy of this game from GameStop. It was five dollars. What the shit? For those familiar with the game, I’m sure you can agree. For those not, (everyone) it serves as an incredible campaign worth countless replays filled with excessive amounts of gore, a twisted story arc, countless combat mechanics, and the most overpowered demon in gaming history that happens to be playable.
The premise revolves around 21-year-old Jackie who works as a contract killer for a powerful crime family. On the night of his birthday, Jackie is betrayed by one of the higher ups in the family and shot out of a tall building via a conveniently-timed explosion. Anyway, a few minutes later Jackie is saved possessed by a demon lord that refers to itself as The Darkness. The Darkness is a fucking bamf. As long as you’re using it, it’s basically impossible for you to lose. The only point at which this isn’t true comes when you walk into the light. The Darkness’ powers are in a constant state of drainage as long as Jackie stands in the light. So as long as you spend a few seconds sniping the lights in each area, you’re fine*.
The Darkness presents itself as two black-and-yellow glowing eels that loom on either side of your heads-up display. With the initial presentation of the demon lord, you’re given multiple, very useful, abilities that make dying fucking impossible. The first ability allows you to summon a portal to Hell that will call on a “berserker” who will both guide you on where you’re supposed to go next and/or attack your enemies when a situation that calls for it arises. The second ability enables stealth mode in which you actually manually control one of the two eels. In this mode, as long as you remain in an unlit area, you can basically travel as far away from your body as you want and pick off countless foes by pressing R and taking a huge fucking bite out of anyone within melee range of the eel. Eventually, you unlock many additional abilities including a massive goddamn spike on which you can impale your foes, the ability to summon multiple berserkers at once aaand… Oh. Right. A black hole. You can produce a BLACK HOLE THAT FUCKING DESTROYS EVERYTHING AND AUTOMATICALLY WINS THE BATTLE FOR YOU.
The overall story is twisted, unexpected, and darkly original. Just when it seemed like the game was about to be over, Jackie commits suicide and then winds up in Hell. Yes. You read right. Your character DIES AND THEN GOES TO HELL. And that isn’t even a spoiler. That happens right at the beginning within the first three hours, after which you go back and forth between Earth and Hell, getting revenge on those who betrayed you and doing the bidding of your demon possessor.
Aside from the utterly addictive gameplay, solid control, and original story, the game’s atmosphere is presented masterfully. The soundtrack is always dark and somber, to the point where I actually turned the music to 0 about half-way through the game because it was too creepy to bare. Plus the lighting and color design makes for environments that are guaranteed to be creepily dirty 100% of the time.
Some of the creature designs you encounter will fuck you up. There’s one in particular I remember the first time I was transported to hell. It’s this dying, mutilated, crucified piece of Silent Hill mindfuckery that seriously jumps the fuck out at you and there isn’t shit you can do about it. It’s awful.
That’s about all I have to say on The Darkness. It’s one of the few titles that has really stuck with me as a truly excellent and tragically underrated game for as long as I’ve been playing games. For the sake of spreading the love for this undeservedly ignored title, go pick up a copy at GameStop for $5.00. Worst case scenario, you’re down five bucks.