Blacklight: Tango Down is a new downloadable title developed by 'Zombie', who recently developed the SAW video game. Blacklight however has nothing to do with deadly traps and creepy dolls, it is a first-person-shooter with the main focus being multiplayer combat instead of a storyline that everyone would've skipped anyway. Although being a downloadable title, the game offers up seven game types over twelve maps that can be just as fun, and frustrating, as any other shooter out there.
That's not to say that Blacklight has no story or purpose, the game is actually based in the near-future during a conflict between the Blacklight team and a group of rebels, The Order. It is believed that The Order have captured and possibly killed a key member of the Blacklight team. In response to this, they have sent in another team to investigate. The team arrives in the city of Balik, where the game is set, to find that the citizens have been affected by an unknown virus causing them to become aggressive and violent towards the visitors.
The back-story is a nice little explanation to justify its own existence, and that's all it really needs. But what players will find is that, aside from the co-op, it doesn't really matter 'why' they're shooting their opponents, just that they have to take them down and win. It's this simplicity that makes the game so much more inviting; there is no complex storyline to get your head around like some other shooters out there. It's simply: choose a match, join, shoot some guys, win.
Blacklight was more than likely built up as an arcade type shooter for the less serious player. Features like customisable guns, armour and rankings are in there but are not an important factor. The game is all about having fun in whichever way players feel comfortable with. Even the option to change the sensitivity of the character's aiming speed was a nice touch, especially since the default speed makes the game near enough impossible to control. After a few modifications to the controls, the game felt comfortable and much like any other shooter, which was great. Multiplayer fans need to be comfortable, otherwise they'd simply go back to what they considered their normal multiplayer shooter.
Multiplayer is of course the game's main focus and brings with it the game types and maps to support such a feat. Of course there are the regular Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes, but there is also 'Detonate', 'Retrieval', 'Domination', 'Last Man Standing' and 'Last Team Standing'.
Detonate requires players to work together more than the other modes .A bomb is placed in the middle of the map for teams to procure and use to blow up the other team's base. Getting the bomb is no problem but setting it up can be one of the most arduous tasks in the game, namely because of the mini-game associated with it. When players are finally able to plant the bomb, a rather confusing set of triangles is thrust on the screen. One set of triangles remain at the side while more triangles move from the middle to the edges and back again in a repeating pattern. The trick is to press left or right at the right time when both sets of triangles are lined up - it's not really explained though and it can lead to some initial frustration.
Retrieval, or Capture the Flag, is the simple recovery of the other team's 'secret documents' in the form of a capsule and bringing it back to home base. Both canisters need to be secured before a point is won, however, even if someone makes off with one of the canisters, both of them are always marked on the map for players to hunt them down.
Domination is another classic game mode. Three positions are marked on a map for players to capture. Owning these positions then awards the team points. It's a simple objective, own as many points as possible for the longest time. Capturing them can be an interesting process however as this leads to another mini-game. This one is a little more forgiving though; four icons corresponding to controller buttons appear on screen. They then flash in a sequence which players then have to copy to take control of a point in an instant.
Last Man Standing and Last Team Standing have the same concept. Every game mode before these ones have allowed as many respawns as long as the game continues - these two modes do not. They are essentially the game's 'hardcore' mode as each player gets one life to take out the opposition and that is all. These two game modes were by far the least fun; the only good thing about them was that they were short.
The game contains twelve maps which all feel different from one another. This is actually quite remarkable considering there are only three major themes throughout them: city streets, broken buildings and run-down harbours. Each level feels dark, but that's rather expected. It just seems that more of a variety would have been nice, but remembering that this is a budget game, it is easily forgiven. It is the same for the graphics, not the best, but they get the job done and as long as the gameplay works, it's all that matters.
But for the hardcore players out there, rankings and unlocks are available for those willing to put the time in. Experience points are earned throughout the game by killing other players and winning objectives. These points then accumulate to a rank that slowly increases giving access to bigger and better guns, the ability to customise those guns and then the use of said guns against a poor lower rank player.
Blacklight: Tango Down, for its price, is an incredible shooter. Its variety of game modes and maps mean that players shouldn't get bored too easily and it looks like the developers will continue supporting the title for a while. The only real drawbacks are that, aside from the HRV visor, it doesn't really do anything new. And some people may not get on with the arcade feel of it after playing more serious shooters.