Blacklight: Tango Down
|Writer(s)||Mark Long, Jared Gerritzen, Ian Stephens|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
July 7, 2010
July 14, 2010
October 26, 2010
Blacklight: Tango Down is a video game developed by Zombie Studios and published by Ignition Entertainment. The game was released on July 7, 2010 on Xbox 360 as a downloadable title, and was released on Microsoft Windows on July 14. The game was also released on October 26, 2010 for the PlayStation 3.
Zombie was planning to make Blacklight a multimedia franchise that would include the video game, a feature film, and a trilogy of comic books, however the company became defunct on January 8, 2015. The idea was concepted by Zombie executives which later pitched the idea to several film and comic book production companies. The film rights were immediately bought by Fox Atomic to create a film adaptation of the franchise. Fox Atomic's comic subsidiary, Fox Atomic Comics, was also to be creating the Blacklight comics, but after the closing of Fox Atomic, the trans-media rights have been purchased by Imagine Entertainment. The film, comic books, and game will not share the same storylines, but tell different stories in the Blacklight universe at different time periods.
Blacklight: Tango Down is an online multiplayer first-person shooter with an experience system. The game contains traditional modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Domination, with other modes being announced in the buildup to launch. The game makes use of its near-future setting by offering HRV (Hyper Reality Visor) that allow players to see an enemy's presence through walls and other obstacles, as well as two types of grenades that counter other players' visors through the use of a blurring effect, similar to a digital smokescreen, along with a type of EMP-emitting grenade that forces the enemy's HUD to reboot and reset, resulting in temporary blindness.
The game also features a "Black Ops" game-mode, which supports up to four players, in online co-operative play, through a campaign that takes the player or players through a wartorn city. Blacklight: Tango Down features five distinct weapons, including an assault rifle, a sub-machine gun, a light machine gun, a sniper rifle as well as a shotgun. Each weapon comes with its own unique futuristic appearance, as well as a wide variety of upgrades and customizations, including variations of magazines, barrels, and camouflages. The weapon customization lets you affect the accuracy, speed, and health for the four different loadout kits you get.
The game features an experience system which lets the player rank up through 70 levels. Weapon customizations will unlock as the player gains skill and experience points and will include more basic add-ons like sniper scopes as well as more complex enhancements, such as stocks, barrels, muzzles, magazines, weapon tags, etc.
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The game was officially announced by Zombie and Fox Atomic on March 16, 2009 at a press conference. The pair announced not only the game, but the collaboration on the film and comic book series as well. The only details revealed were the first-person perspective and futuristic setting of the game. The designers described Blacklight as "Science Fact", as opposed to science fiction. It was explained that this meant Zombie researched the cutting edge of modern-day technology and applied them to the armor and weapons of the game to give it a real but futuristic atmosphere. Zombie, having worked with the Army on several training games, have had the ability to check the advances in R&D as far as new technologies.
The following day Zombie founder Mark Long had a public interview revealing much more information about the game. A basic plot summary was issued as well as some weapon designs. Although no release date was set, he noted that the comic book will come first and the game will come "sooner than later".
A few screenshots of the game were released alongside the interview. Most of the screens, in a unique marketing approach, all depict the same scene from different angles and perspectives. The scene depicts a battle between two warring factions dressed in advanced combat armor in an urban environment with several skyscrapers. Some of the buildings are shown being crumbled and some are destroyed with large holes in them from previous battles. Ignition Entertainment announced on March 1, 2010 that they would be publishing the game for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Windows.
Blacklight: Tango Down has received mixed or average reviews from critics and currently holds a score of 66% on the aggregate site Metacritic, and a similar score of 67.78% at GameRankings. Blacklight: Tango Down sold over 100,000 copies in its first three weeks of release on Xbox Live Arcade. As of year-end 2010 that number increased to over 127,000 units. As of year-end 2011 the Xbox 360 version moved over 158,000 units.
The most positive review came from Daemon Hatfield of IGN, who described the game as a "fun and inexpensive way to get your multiplayer fix", and that "when you first jump into the game it may be hard to believe you only paid $15 for it". However, despite commending the game for being solid, he admitted it was "not particularly inspired". GamesRadar gave a similar review to IGN, saying that the game "seeks to bring the beloved multiplayer modes of AAA shooters to a downloadable game that only costs fifteen bucks, and in many respects it does this well", but called the co-op modes "linear" and "uninspired". The title's unique weapon customization mechanic came under particular praise by NTSC-uk, claiming it provided "not only the largest variety of guns seen in any competitive shooter today, but also the most balanced online ranking system that is on the market".
The lowest scored review came from Jim Sterling of Destructoid, who rated the game 3/10. He also criticized the co-op missions, saying that the "Black Ops levels seem thrown in for no good reason", and that the "multiplayer is only marginally better". However he did note "Tango Down looks really quite good, with visuals that almost look convincingly retail", but that "graphics really aren't worth buying the game for".
In July 2010, Zombie Studios revealed to file hosting site Big Download that the team was already starting development on the sequel to Blacklight: Tango Down. According to Zombie Studios CEO Mark Long the game will feature larger maps and vehicle control. Titled Blacklight: Retribution, it was targeted for a Winter 2011 release, and came out on April 3, 2012 (July 2, 2012 on Steam). The sequel is also a "free-to-play" game.
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