Tag Archives: Action

Pepsiman (PlayStation)

Developer(s) – KID

Publisher(s) – KID 

Designer(s) – Nobuaki Umeda, Nozomi Takeguhi & Keisuke Itou

ESRB – T for Teen


Developed on a low budget and released exclusively in Japan after the development team failed to get the game published overseas, Pepsiman is an action game, which has silently become one of the most influential games in recent years, with it’s gameplay being the basis for a plethora of popular smartphone titles like Temple Run and Angry Gran. It’s one of those games that on paper would sound ridiculous, and in many respects it is, but regardless, it is a game worth playing.


Graphics – 6/10

The majority of the game is set in Pepsi City, where everything seems to revolve around Pepsi; there are billboards advertising it and Pepsi vans driving around everywhere; on some levels, there are even NPCs holding signs saying “I love Pepsi”. Other levels also break away from the modern-day city settings to levels set in science labs, sewers, and motorways. Conceptually, it stands out a lot more than what gamers would think it would after hearing about a game like this. In terms of the technical aspect, it just about meets industry standards set at the time, albeit including a number of 2D sprites all over the place, which back then were being fazed out gradually.


Gameplay – 7/10

The concept of the game is simple; guide Pepsiman through a series of on-rail levels, whilst collecting as many cans of Pepsi darted across each of the levels as possible. What isn’t easy is mastering the game, since there are a lot of obstacles and obstructions to overcome along the way. The natural flow is very cleverly disturbed at times, with Pepisman having to run into dustbins at certain points, which reverse the controls as long as his upper body is still in a dustbin for example. It provides much more of a stern challenge than what most people would think going into it; even for players who had previously played the games that were later inspired by it. At the time, a lot of critics were comparing the game to the original Crash Bandicoot games, which although I’m able to appreciate that that was the frame of reference at the time, Pepsiman is still a different type of game indeed. 


Controls – 10/10

The game’s control scheme also poses no issues; if the player fails, it’s solely on them. It’s also quite clever how the developers managed to implement changes to the controls based on Pepsiman’s given situation, such as for when he’s balancing on a barrel or riding a skateboard, or when the camera angle is reversed for when he must escape from objects moving behind him. 


Lifespan – 4/10

Disappointingly, one playthrough can only be made to last around half an hour, which for the amount of innovation perpetuated with this title, is nowhere near enough time for it to last; especially when drawing comparisons with other games like it, which can be made to last forever. There’s only a certain amount of replay value to be had in addition, with the only incentive being to unlock an alternative costume for Pepsiman, whereas again, there are several skins and characters that can be unlocked in future games that follow the same mantra. 


Storyline – 7/10

The story of Pepsiman is very reminiscent of that of an exploitation film in my opinion. It features Pepsiman traversing Pepsi City solving primarily Pepsi-related problems, such as stocking a particular vending machine with Pepsi, rehydrating a bunch of people stranded on a rooftop, and ultimately preventing a worldwide shortage of Pepsi and in turn, stopping a riot from continuing among those wanting Pepsi. It’s as ridiculous as it is flat-out hilarious. But it’s actually quite aware of how ridiculous it is, and the developers played on the fact heavily. It also features a lot of the slapstick violence that was synonymous with the character before the game was released, which further plays on the comedic aspect of the game throughout. 


Originality – 9/10

The amount of uniqueness attached to this game is staggering; especially compared to what perception the player will have going into it. It was a game that proved to be ahead of its time in terms of gameplay, given how many developers would go on to copy the model it set years later. Even the games that were perceived to have influenced it at the time are only very loosely related to it; it’s an action game by design, but in terms of its actual gameplay, it was genuinely in a genre of its own, as would later be proven.



Overall, Pepsiman is much better than what it seems on the surface. When stripped back away from all the Pepsi ads and the hilariously bad story, there’s a very enjoyable game to be played for the short time that it unfortunately lasts. 



7/10 (Fair)

Enter the Matrix (PC, PlayStation 2, GameCube & Xbox)

Developer(s) – Shiny Entertainment 

Publisher(s) – Infogrames

Director(s) – The Wachowski Brothers

Designer(s) – David Perry

ELSPA – 15+


Set during the event of the second film The Matrix Reloaded and directed by the film’s original directors, Enter The Matrix was released to mixed critical reception but performed very well commercially at the time. Personally, this is one of those games that to me is extremely enjoyable to play, yet gamers and critics seem to hate it for unjustified reasons. A lot of critics at the time commented that both the game and the film were devalued as a result of the release of the game, but I disagree; I enjoyed the film and the game in equal measure and I still do.


Graphics – 9/10

On a technical level, the visuals were cutting the edge at the time, and they more than adequately hold up this day in comparison with any other sixth-generation titles. There is the odd graphical glitch here and there to prevent it from receiving a perfect score for visuals, but they are few and far between; the best port in terms of this would be the Xbox version. In terms of conceptual design, it’s exactly what people who have watched the films can expect. It’s dark, gritty, and takes place in many locations that are in the film itself, as well as a few new locations added for good measure. 


Gameplay – 7/10

Enter The Matrix is a third-person action-adventure that’s heavy on hand-to-hand combat as well as gunplay. If I would have to compare it to any other game, it would most like be Max Payne, as it plays out quite similar to the former. Again, it’s exactly the kind of game that people familiar with the films can come to expect in terms of gameplay as well. Players can instigate slow motion to their advantage similar to show the film is shot and they have a variety of different weapons and combat abilities at their disposal throughout. There are also car chasing sequences whereby players either have to control the car or shoot from the window to fend off enemies, depending on which character they are playing as. There are two-story arcs to experience within the game, which gives it a fair amount of replay value in addition. 


Controls – 8/10

The biggest issue with the Controls in terms of the targeting system. It’s supposed to work in a similar fashion to Ocarina of Time, but as it’s meant to be instigated automatically, it can cause issues with things like hit detection. But otherwise, the control scheme is handled as well as what was needed. I certainly didn’t have as much of a hard time as many other gamers and critics seemed to have. 


Lifespan – 5.5/10

Enter The Matrix can be made to last about 6 and a half hours, which for a linear action game isn’t too bad. If comparing to Max Payne in this respect, it falls short, as the former could be made to last around 20 hours, but for those looking to experience this game in full, there is plenty to do to keep things entertaining throughout. It didn’t perpetuate the standards that were met at the time in terms of Lifespan compared to many other games released back then, but it’s not as painfully short as many other games would in years to come either. 


Storyline – 8/10

The story takes place during the events of The Matrix Reloaded but told from the perspective of the member of the ship The Logos, led by Captain Niobe. She, along with her partner Ghost and their operator Sparks, are tasked with various missions in order to help Neo fulfill his destiny and bring about the end of the war between man and machine. The story is well written to the point that it feels almost like one massive deleted scene from the Matrix Reloaded. Jada Pinkett-Smith gives a solid performance as Niobe and the plot fits in nicely with the events of the second film. It all ties in to make for what is a very cinematic experience without it feeling too cinematic, like in many other games. 


Originality – 8/10

In terms of uniqueness, it’s exactly what fans of the film and come to expect in every respect, but the gameplay, despite the gripes that people may have with it, was enjoyable to a great enough extent and still remains so in my opinion. The combat system, though somewhat flawed, was unlike anything I’d seen prior to playing it. It stands out as a licensed game that was of a decent standard before the general standard of licensed games would be elevated with the release of Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009, and in my opinion, very unfairly overlooked. 



Overall, Enter The Matrix is a far better game than what people have given it credit for since its release. Though it has its problems, it’s an enjoyable game that ties in with the films flawlessly. 



7.5/10 (Good)