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Video Game / Dark Void

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"Dark Void's only new idea was the ability to seamlessly switch at any time between old-fashioned, ploddy tortoise cover-based shooting on the ground and rocket pack whoosh crikey fun. And you know what? That could be enough."

Dark Void is a 2010 game developed by Airtight Games and published by Capcom for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

The game begins in 1938, with ex-military pilot William Augustus Grey and his former lover Ava making a cargo run from America to Europe, when their plane loses power and crashes over the Bermuda Triangle. They awaken in a bizarre alternate dimension, known as the Void. They soon meet up with the Survivors, a human resistance movement that is fighting the attacks of a strange reptilian race known as the Watchers and their robotic army.

Apparently, the Watchers fashion themselves as gods, ruling over the less advanced humans after they destroyed their own home planet before primitive man eventually rose against them and banished them to the Void. Soon, Will and Ava meet up with Nikola Tesla, who has also found himself trapped in the Void. He equips them with hoverpacks, and Will eventually gets a true jetpack. He takes to the skies, to stop the Watchers before they return to Earth, taking advantage of the coming conflict. There's something else going on, and Ava knows more than she's telling...

The game is notable for seamlessly integrating third-person over-the-shoulder cover-based gunplay with jetpack dogfights, and has the unique feature of "vertical cover". It's also one of Yahtzee's "Branston Pickles" — flawed, but unique and entertaining despite those flaws. So try it anyway.

Sometime after the game was released an April Fools' Day version entitled Dark Void Zero was announced as a joke, but eventually surfaced into an entirely new game.

This game contains examples of the following:

  • Action Bomb: Red Watcher soldiers like to charge at you and explode.
  • Action Commands: In order to hijack an enemy 'hubcap', you have to do one of these. However, you use the control stick to dodge its turret fire, your melee button to damage a panel, and the control stick to struggle with the pilot once he pops up to knock you off. This makes it a rare example of an Action Command that makes sense, and therefore doesn't annoy the player or break immersion. Also, you destroy fifty-foot monsters by scrambling over them prying at weak points.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Contains many, scattered throughout the game, often in somewhat hard-to-reach spaces. The first logs you encounter were apparently written by Amelia Earhart. Some of the logs are very old (detailing the plight of what appear to be Irish immigrants to the Americasnote ), whilst others are much more recent, such as...
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Picking the chaingun up from a defeated Watcher Knight will make you feel like an absolute badass and could, in theory, provide you with enough dakka to turn you into a One-Man Army. In practice, however, it's usually a lot more trouble than it's worth because A. you can't use the rocket pack which the entire gameplay revolves around while carrying it, meaning that, in a game where mobility is survival and progress generally requires flight you're stuck shuffling along the ground. B. because Knights are essentially minibosses and are just so dangerous, you'll normally kill them after ensuring you've gotten rid off of all the mooks which surrounded them, meaning by the time you pick up that chaingun, there's nobody left to fire it at.
  • Bald of Authority: Atem. Will ribs him about the whole "humble guide" image he puts on.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The different Watcher soldiers come in different colors to distinguish their specialty and behavior.
  • Cool Airship / Cool Starship: The Ark, and the captured Watcher transports less so.
  • Cosmic Deadline: Very much so. The first few chapters are paced normally, by Episode 2 plot elements are being thrown at you left and right, and by Episode 3 characters have knowledge of things the player doesn't know. Several things just plain aren't explained, and then it ends on a cliffhanger that seems impossible given the climax. Namely, that Will was supposed to be the only one to return home, but Atem is suddenly in London. Ava had apparently already been to the Void once as well, this is barely touched on.
  • Death World: It's not a nice place, between the plants and the locals and the terrain. Never mind the fact it seems to cause technology from "outside" to degrade much, much faster than it ought to. Small, non-mechanical, and/or locally-assembled-from-scrap items seem to be okay though.
  • Derelict Graveyard: The Void has a bunch of these. Some of them are ships in locations and positions that one really would not expect to find a ship in. The most notable derelict in the graveyards would probably be the U.S.S. Cyclops, which disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle some time after March 4th 1918.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Final Boss is several dozen times the size of Will.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Will's last words to Ava, before she dies closing the gateway between the Void and our world: "I love you!"
  • Escort Mission: When you first meet Atem, you have to escort him to the Resistance's camp. Unlike many escortees, he has the same regenerating health mechanics as the player.
  • Flying Saucer: The main vehicle of the Watchers. The Resistance guys call them "hubcaps".
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: A textbook case of Tropes Are Not Bad. You're playing along, wondering if they're ever going to vary up the enemies a little — holy crap it's King Ghidorah!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ava. Only one of them was ever going to end up going back home right from the beginning. And it wasn't her.
  • Homing Projectile: Specifically drawn attention to by one of the human pilots during your first dogfight with Watcher air vehicles ("Watch out! Their missiles follow you!"). Done oddly in-game, however: your missiles will lock-onto and follow flying enemies, but only if they pass very close to them already. So while the missiles' homing quality turns near-misses into hits, it doesn't actually allow you to fire-and-forget. A large amount of aiming is always required.
  • Human Sacrifice: One cutscene shows the tribal humans offering up a baby to the aliens for this purpose.
  • Jet Pack: The game's main selling point. It is awesome. In case you ever forget that You Want a Jetpack, this game will remind you exactly WHY.
    • It's also in Dark Void Zero, and is very awesome there, too. It's got infinite usage, and a free-hover mode.
  • Nikola Tesla: He invented the Jet Pack and some of the weapons you use in the game. He is killed by a shapeshifter about 3/4 of the way through the story.
  • Powered Armor: The enemies in the game seem like humanoid robots, but are actually robotic suits worn by the Watchers for combat, as most of them are really rat-sized slugs (although they eventually grown into the Elders, who are human-sized shapeshifters).
  • Retraux: An 8-bit version of the main theme plays during the end credits. There's even an 8-bit game called "Dark Void Zero" that was released for download on the DSi, treated as some old game found in the Capcom vaults. It started as a joke based off the 8-bit song, then grew into a Metroidvania game.
  • Sequel Hook: In the ending, Will is in London, 3 months after the final battle. Atem appears, telling him there is work to be done.
  • Shout-Out: The achievement for flying between the legs of an Archon is "Forgot my Towcable." (Keep in mind, flying between an Archon's legs will probably also get you killed, if not by the turrets, then by running into the ground or hitting the Archon's tail.)
  • Super-Sargasso Sea: Loads of stuff that vanished in the Bermuda Triangle ended up in the Void. Grey actually salvages some radio equipment from the USS Cyclops.