Apocalypse (video game)
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|Release date(s)||NA October 31, 1998
EU November 1998
JP September 22, 1999
Apocalypse is a third-person shooter video game released for the PlayStation, developed by Neversoft and published by Activision. It is notable for featuring actor Bruce Willis, who provides the main character's likeness and voice, as well as being the first original game by Neversoft, prior to launching their blockbuster Tony Hawk franchise.
A brilliant but evil scientist named "The Reverend" has created a powerful theocracy based on the idea of a rapidly approaching apocalypse. He uses his expertise to create four powerful "Horsemen of the Apocalypse", War, Plague, Beast and Death, in order to ensure this comes to pass. His former colleague, Trey Kincaid (voiced by Bruce Willis), is the only man with the know-how to stop the Reverend, but is locked up in jail and must escape in order to save the world.
Apocalypse is a 3D multidirectional (sometimes referred to as "twin stick") shooter very much in the style of the arcade classic Robotron, and also comparable to modern titles like The Red Star and Dead Nation. The character is moved using the DualShock controller's left analog stick, and shooting is handled independently by pressing the right stick in a given direction, which automatically fires the current weapon in said direction. Alternately, movement may be controlled through the directional pad and shooting performed by using the four face buttons on a typical PlayStation controller (which lack analog sticks), where the buttons' placement on the controller correspond with the fire direction. Using the shoulder buttons it is also possible to duck or jump, and a selection of different weapons are available.
Willis' character, Trey Kincaid, was initially meant to be a non-playable sidekick character, but his role was eventually changed to that of the main playable character, thus reducing the necessity for him to have as much spoken dialogue as was originally intended as the scope of Willis' involvement decreased as development went on. In the finished game, Willis' vocal contributions are limited mostly to the occasional one-liner and a few brief lines of dialogue in story sequences. Willis' face was photo-mapped onto Trey Kincaid's character model, but he didn't perform any motion capture work for the game.
Apocalypse features several songs from various artists including Poe and System of a Down. Technology developed for the game allowed live-action music videos from these artists to be projected on large screens within the game's environments.
The Apocalypse game engine was reworked for use on Neversoft's next title, the seminal Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Already having in mind that they were going to begin work on Tony Hawk following completion of Apocalypse, the team said they had developed rough in-house playable demos of Trey Kincaid skateboarding around Apocalypse's game environments in order to experiment with the way they wanted Tony Hawk to feel. Even though Neversoft continued to develop and evolve the engine primarily to suit the needs of the Tony Hawk series, it was also put to use in another action title by the team, the popular Spider-Man game they released in 2000. The aspect of the engine that allowed for the live-action music videos to be displayed within Apocalypse's game world was also utilized in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater as well as other subsequent Neversoft titles.
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The game received fairly decent reviews, gaining a 7/10 from IGN and a 7.1/10 from GameSpot. GameSpot criticized the voice acting in the game for lacking any feeling and variety. However, GameSpot did complement the game for its gameplay as a shooter.