The 2003 tie-in video game to The Matrix saga, Enter the Matrix follows Captain Niobe and the crew of the Logos and their side of the war. The narrative picks up just after the events of The Animatrix short "Final Flight of the Osiris", and weaves in and out of the plot of The Matrix Reloaded.
Gameplay consists of a lot of running, fighting, slo-mo, shooting, driving and occasional problem-solving, as you use your free-minded character to take on endless mooks and escape the occasional agent or two (or loads, in the case of Agent Smith). The game is also notable for having over 40 minutes of live-action cutscenes shot alongside The Matrix Reloaded and utilizing its cast, sets and crew. That footage was later released separately on the Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition and would be interesting to see even for those who will find the graphics of the game itself long outdated to even bother with.
At the time of its release, it had the biggest budget ever for a video game, perhaps due to its use of Serkis Folk and live-action cutscenes. Unfortunately, it was rushed out in order to be released at the same time as The Matrix Reloaded, and as a result, has more than its share of gameplay issues, to the mixed reviews of most. Nevertheless, Enter the Matrix does a good job of filling in some of the gaps left by the films, and the game's creators insist that the Matrix saga is not complete without it. It was followed by 2005's The Matrix: Path of Neo.
Tropes used in this game:
- Absurdly Short Level: One level in the vampire mansion, "Return to the Great Hall", consists of walking three steps from one door to another in the same room.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Sewer level takes place in one, which is big enough to hold multiple gunfights with dozens of cops.
- Action Girl: Niobe.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Ghost is apparently prone to this off-screen.Ghost: Like Augustine, I'm dedicated to a higher purpose.
Trinity: And that is?
Trinity: Is that why so many saints are blind?
Ghost: Celibacy is a hands-on job...
- All There in the Manual: In this case, the game is the manual for The Matrix Reloaded - several scenes in the movie only get full meaning after you've seen them from the game side.
- Ascended Extra:
- Ghost and Sparks. Niobe is a fairly important supporting character in the movies, but her two subordinates were just background characters with extremely brief appearances. In this game, Ghost becomes the protagonist (if you choose to play as him) and Sparks is the always-present Plucky Comic Relief.
- Captain Soren, another background character from the movies, has a major subplot where the player helps him rescue one of his crew from the agents.
- Bare Your Midriff: Niobe in the post office levels.
- The Brute: Vlad note and Cujo note serve as this to the Merovingian.
- Bullet Time: Par for the course, being a game set in the Matrix universe.
- Button Mashing: Especially during Bullet Time.
- The Cameo: You can talk to Trinity when on the Matrix console, but it's pre-automated. You'll also not want to tell her that you're screwing around on the drives.
- The Captain: Niobe.
- Cool Sword: Requires some hacking and mucking around in a security-protected system, but worth it.
- Cutscene Incompetence: At one point in the fight with Cujo, the game will override the controls so that he will effortlessly slap you down. If you've been completely curb-stomping him up to that point, the effect is a little jarring.
- Cutscene Power to the Max
- Deadpan Snarker: Sparks.
- Demoted to Extra: Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity only have a few fleeting appearances in cutscenes. Trinity is the only one who you actually encounter in gameplay, and only if you choose to play as Ghost.
- Early-Bird Cameo: The Trainman makes a fleeting cameo in the cutscene at the end of the airport level. He didn't actually appear in the movies until Revolutions, which came out after the game.
- Easy Level Trick: In one level you are evading an army of Smith clones around a city. However the entire level can be bypassed simply by heading right at the start of the level instead of left, as the game tells you.
- Empty Room Psych: When playing as Niobe, one level in the vampire mansion consists of walking from one door to another in the same room, then just loading the next level. Considering how dodgy the game was, chances are it was just oversight on someone's part.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Canonically, only Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus have ever killed an agent. In practice, Niobe and Ghost can kill every agent they meet by throwing them off buildings or other environmental exploits when the agents initially spawn. With practice, the player can execute a One-Hit Kill every time, even without entering Bullet Time.
- The Ghost: Oddly enough, Neo. He's constantly referred to, but only appears in a cutscene scene where he saves Morpheus and the Keymaker from the truck crash. However, he does appear in a deleted cutscene, and you can unlock an audio message from him in hacking mode.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted. Ghost is a better marksman, so at several points during the shared missions he stays to cover Niobe's kung-fu from above.
- If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: Sparks is definitely guilty of this.
- Before the very first mission: "Oh, and if Ghost doesn't make it, can I have his boots?"
- Also during the Freeway chase: "Can I have your personal processing unit?"
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Comes with the territory given that this is part of the Matrix franchise, though some examples stand out more than others, such as Ghost shooting out the nose wheel of a Gulfstream jet from an airport control tower as the plane's beginning to take off, a feat even an expert sniper would find difficult to replicate.
- Interquel: The first two stages (the Post Office and the Airport) take place between The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In this game, it's revealed that Ghost has some strong romantic feelings for Trinity. He chooses to keep their relationship platonic, however, because he knows that she's in love with Neo.
- The Lancer: Story-wise, Ghost is this to Niobe. Gameplay-wise, though, he'll technically be the protagonist if you choose to play as him.
- Live-Action Cutscene: Some of the live-action cutscenes were filmed alongside The Matrix Reloaded. Said cutscenes were later repackaged as a special feature for the DVD and Blu-ray collection sets.
- Locked in the Dungeon: Either Niobe or Ghost (depending on who you play as) will end up in the Merovingian's dungeon in the chateau level, forcing the other to come rescue them.
- MacGuffin: The Package in the first few levels.
- Mercy Mode: If you lose the fight with Seraph in Dojo, then the entire Smiths chase consisting of multiple levels is skipped. Instead, you get a different cutscene and proceed straight to the second to last level onboard the hovercraft.
- Mythology Gag: In the cutscene where Niobe is calling the meeting of the ship captains to order, one of them tells her that everyone has arrived except the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar. She rolls her eyes and says, "Figures. Anything for an entrance." We never see Morpheus and his crew enter, but the line is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Morpheus' dramatic out-of-nowhere entrance in the movie.
- Obvious Beta: Getting stuck on walls, texture problems, collision detection issues...it's all here. Dave Perry of Shiny Entertainment admits this is an Obvious Beta, citing a poor work schedule that combined meeting the theatrical release of Reloaded and being evicted from their office during the development cycle (according to him, the game had to be moved from an alpha build to a beta build in the span of one day, which is generally unheard of), though the PC version is a lot less glitchy then the console versions.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
- Because Niobe and Ghost's paths diverge at some points, there are a few inevitable ones. If you play as Ghost in the airport level, for example, you won't get to see Niobe's dramatic rescue of Axel. And if you play as Niobe, you won't get to see Ghost's fight with Trinity.
- Inverted with the climactic assault on the power plant. It's extremely important to the plot of the movie, but it's only seen in the game.
- Our Vampires Are Different: The player encounters several vampires in the Merovingian's Chateau. They can be killed with wooden stakes, which somehow "Disrupts their code".
- P.O.V. Sequel: The game's events take place just before and within The Matrix Reloaded from the perspective of the crew of the Logos (Niobe, Ghost, and Sparks).
- Residual Self-Image: Niobe, Ghost and every other rebel.
- Sarcastic Devotee: Sparks.
- Sequel Hook: The ending is basically "Phew, that was close. Now go watch The Matrix Revolutions!"
- Sequence Breaking: The level with you evading an army of Smiths around a city can be entirely bypassed simply by heading right at the start of the level instead of left, as the game tells you.
- In the office building level you have to navigate the outside of the building on the construction frame. When you reach a specific part the game spawns a Smith dropping down in front of you and breaks the platform you're standing on. But if you are in the middle of a wall-run your character continues the wall run, watches Smith break the platform before reaching the next platform. Doing so allows you to skip the rest of that part of the level, since no Smiths spawn.
- In the same level, if you simply charge the first Smith that drops down in front of you and do a specific (but short, only 3 moves) string of moves, you'll force the Smith into a knockback animation that sends him falling into a pit he has no way out of. You can then take a leisurely stroll through the rest of the level.
- Serkis Folk: Anthony Wong and Jada Pinkett-Smith famously motion captured all of the moves in the game.
- Shout-Out: The Merovingian's brutish werewolf minion is named Cujo, a reference to the Stephen King novel about a rabid dog.
- The Smart Guy: Sparks.
- Supporting Protagonist: Niobe. She's the protagonist of the game (though you can choose to play as Ghost), but Neo is the protagonist of the series.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Cain and Abel, the Merovingian's two henchmen.
- Tuckerization: Seraph's teahouse is located on "Wu Ping avenue", named after the fight coordinator for the Matrix movies.
- Warrior Poet: Ghost. As well as being a top-notch martial artist and marksman, he references various philosophers, including David Hume, William James and Friedrich Nietzsche.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Inverted. The game deliberately takes ludicrously destructive routes for relatively simple tasks - justified in that the Machines (a.k.a. the game's programmers) are doing everything they can to make those tasks as difficult as possible.
- The entire first mission, 20+ levels, is to retrieve a tape from a post-office box dead drop - except the police are already inside the building opening all the mail trying to intercept the tape, and the tape is the final message of a captain who explicitly hated dead drops because he knows that such interceptions are common.
- The Airport is A Simple Plan to call all the ship captains to a meeting that is interrupted by a rescue mission.
- The resulting meeting in the sewers is interrupted by a raid by hundreds of cops chopping phone lines as they head in.
- Finally, they blow up a nuclear power plant at the climax of the film to disable the alarms in a high security building - as everything in that building, everything, has a backup system/defense mechanism; One that would blow up the whole building and everyone in it.