Film licences can't be the easiest games to do. It's not a criticism I'd usually levy at this particular label, but far too often originality takes a back seat, and the game ends up seeming tired and defeated. A few slabs of race game in a platform sandwich.
Unfortunately, a couple of slabs - or platforms to be precise - is precisely the sort of fodder dished out by Total Recall. It's by no means a bad game, just a little stale. It follows a very successful formula but fails to rise above it. And that's down to the sameness of its levels.
You know what you're getting with an Arnie game - your trigger finger is primed. In that sense Ocean have come up trumps - with simple ideas (and that's not necessarily a bad thing), wrapped in decent graphics and big name appeal.
In the first section you run around picking up objects including a nose gun, a suitcase, a ticket and your passport. Hot in pursuit are Cohaagen's thugs upon whom you heap your renegade brand of violence.
Arnie himself doesn't much resemble the real life thing but he's suitably orangutangish (which is neat) and - especially if you can find the high speed power up - a fairly nippy sprite. His fight manoeuvres are somewhat limited but there's enough in this level to keep you occupied for quite some time, although, personally, I find that's down to the difficulty in finding the objects rather than the size of the map.
Level two is an adjunct to the first, as Arnold emerges in a Martian whorehouse. This one is a straight find-your-way-through-to-the-exit affair as you are tracked by white suited villains and teleoperated machine guns.
Level three is the first of the car chase sequences. This one features the gloriously wacky android chauffeur. You rip it out of its seat and commandeer the car, followed by the enemy.
There are a number of large gates which you've got to smash through, but first you've got to lose the people tailing you. This is followed by a different race; you go careering through a tunnel en route to the shady cafe. Dodge the articulated moles which are being used in the Martian construction.
The final sequence is another platform section. You go looking for Kuato, and when you find him go back to the top of the map, go through a secret passage and get into the lift. Richter will be there. Knock him off and take the lift to the top. SO begins the final fight with Cohaagen.
I was quite surprised by the graphics. I was expecting a lot of digitised stills, but the loading screens and a fair chunk of the intro are done surprisingly nicely in comic book style. To be fair, the programmers deliberately opted for NOT giving Arnie a full range of unarmed combat moves because they felt that would be a bit "Bruce Lee"; but to my mind this merely adds - despite the additional elements, such as the lift fight in level five - to the impression that there's not enough difference between levels one, two and five. The version I saw recently was strictly pre-production, but following discussion with the development team I can't see the game changing drastically.
It's said to be churlish in this profession to compare one person's game to another's (although why I don't know; it happens in other media), but I can think of other. Ocean licences which do this sort of thing better. Movies are about letting your imagination go rip - and so should games.