Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death
Game Title: Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death
Publisher: 505 Games
Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Available on: PC,Xbox 360
The love affair between modern games and 1980s action movies continues. For a perfect illustration of this, look no further than the swaggering, decadent Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death. Its plot, action and tone could easily be a blueprint for a Reagan-era movie.
Marlow is a regular guy who’s visiting his girlfriend at an archaeological dig. Shortly after his arrival, her employers are revealed to be power-hungry criminals, a fight breaks out and Marlow is killed. The end . . . right? Wrong! Marlow is resurrected by a sentient, mystical mask and goes on a one-man rampage of revenge! This resulting third-person combat is an orgy of chaos and violence.
The biggest complaint to level against Marlow Briggs is that it’s derivative: there’s the third-person hack-’n’-slash gameplay of God of War (it even has similar weapons); the story of a working-class African American imbued with superpowers is very like Prototype 2; the jokey tone echoes the recent, underrated Deadpool; the tropical setting is all too familiar.
On the credit side, it’s playable, lively, audacious and funny. In a world of serious and dour adventure games, Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death is wonderfully goofy.
Marlow is accompanied by a wise-cracking, talking mask whose barbed quips pepper the action nicely. The combat is simple but accessible and effective as you mow through countless henchmen, and there are some nice extra trimmings: Marlow commandeers cannons and machine guns for occasional interludes, and there’s some time-based platform action as our hero negotiates the enemy’s stronghold.
It’s a fast-paced, operatic affair, bursting with slo-mo explosions, helicopter crashes and crumbling buildings. Frankly, Marlow Briggs has everything but restraint. 505games.com