29th Apr 2003 | 11:31
It's pretty vexing alright
If you force-fed Mario dangerous steroids and exposed him to some sort of space radiation, you would probably end up with both a main character and a videogame a lot like Vexx.
Using almost every idea seen in Super Mario 64, but with vast environments, proper hardcore enemy-mashing and level challenges that require seemingly superhuman gaming prowess, this is one hero who is certainly hellbent on making an explosive debut.
TAKEN TO ANOTHER LEVEL
You know the score: each massive level, accessed from a central hub, has a number of individual challenges where the ultimate goal is to collect each Wraith Hearts (Vexx's equivalent to Mario's stars, Jak And Daxter's power cells or Haven's cogs). It's as traditional as it could be, yet manages to be as compelling as any other decent, recent platformer. This is thanks largely to the devious level design, merging many familiar ideas into enormously taxing obstacle courses, and forcing you to work really hard at nabbing each wraith heart.
The graphics are mostly excellent too and the whole experience, though in no way original, is a fantastic example of how to repackage and rework all of the platform game clichés for a brand-new generation of consoles and console players.