DANGER GIRL / THQ / PlayStation
 
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I'd never heard of the Danger Girl comic before this, but apparently it got big enough to do crossovers with Batman and GI Joe at one point. It's a mix of old serials, James Bond, Charlie's Angels and tons of T 'n A that ran in the late '90s originally, but seems to pop up every few years for a new limited series.
 


The gameplay in this lone video game conversion of the property is a similar hodgepodge. It basically borrows from all the shooty console games that were popular at the time - Tomb Raider, Syphon Filter and Goldeneye mostly, but with just a little soupçon of Metal Gear Solid as well.
 


The Danger Girls take on a series of about a dozen levels, fighting the schemes of a Hydra-like global terrorist/Nazi organization. With gravity-defying giant jubblies straining against tight shirts, of course, as is tradition. Though the bazoombas bouncing around would naturally lead your mind to Tomb Raider, that's really the lightest influence here, only in the sense of the character design and a few rare and not-too-involved jumping puzzles. It really plays much more like a Syphon Filter game or over-the-shoulder Goldeneye. There's very little emphasis on stealth, as well; it's pretty much headshot them or mow them down with a machine gun before they open up on you.
 


The design of the game is thus really more like a 1990s PC FPS than anything else. 1990s PC FPS games were designed to let you save/restore freely due to frequent and brutal deathtraps, however; Danger Girl's biggest sin is having no in-level save feature or even checkpoints whatsoever, even though the levels tend to be fairly large and sprawling. There are pits you can fall in, there are QTEs you can fail, there are enemies throwing grenades who can ambush you, and any of these mistakes can force you to replay a fairly lengthy level from the very beginning. Enemies also never miss and there's only the most rudimentary "cover system" in place, so you'll have to do a lot of exploiting of AI jank to survive.
 


Outside of the brutality of including no checkpoints, however, it's actually designed fairly well. It has that gameplay jank inherent to trying a game like this on the PS1, but it's actually leagues better and more smooth than the first Syphon Filter. The biggest complaints are that jumping is very iffy (but also rarely needed), first-person aim is excruciatingly slow and enemies are total sponges who are never stunned by your bullets (though a well-placed headshot will insta-kill any of them).
 


On the plus side, at least by PS1 standards the graphics are pretty good - naturally they look awful put up against today's offerings, but I didn't really notice any tearing in what are some pretty big and elaborate levels, and the design is cohesive and has a good level of detail. You've also got a pretty good arsenal of moves for the era - a backflip and side dives to quickly get back under cover, a diving-shoot move in the style of John Woo which is about the only way to get enemies to miss, and auto-targeting once you're close enough to the enemy. The weapon lineup is also pretty decent, and the game has a surprisingly good little soundtrack to boot.
 


I initially felt like I should dock the game a point and give it a 2/5 for having large levels with insta-deaths but not including any checkpoints, but I feel like anyone playing it today is playing on an emulator of some sort so they'll be able to use save states. Being able to save in-level is essential, but with that ability Danger Girl is actually pretty solid sneaky-peeky-headshotty action in the old Goldeneye mold.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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