The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

Content review for this game:
Pertaining to the ESRB rating.

Escape from Butcher Bay | Assault on Dark Athena

Content sum up: While Riddick's demeanor is more tolerable, and you can turn blood effects off, it doesn't do much to lessen the extremely violent and brutal (blunt force trauma-oriented) combat, or the chaotic gunfights; the atmosphere is dark and gritty, with rough, hostile inhabitants; it's filled with harsh language (like seventy-six uses of the f-word alone); and contains heavy sexual content, including a male prisoner who is openly into necrophilia (raping the dead), and a scene of (fortunately undetailed) male masturbation. In some ways, the first honestly seems tame in comparison—there are simply more appropriate games for younger teens. So I recommend this game for ages 17+.

Blood and gore: The blood spurts in thick, dark and moderate amounts when you hit, cut or shoot an enemy. Blood does linger, splatters onto walls and floors, and there is static blood smeared and splattered on floors and walls throughout. When you engage in fist fight with enemies, their faces gradually swell, bruise and bloody as your fists also bloody, and when you slash at them with knives, shivs or Ulaks (dual, U-shaped blades; all can be used to slit their throats or jam in their eyes, chest, neck, or sides) their clothes will rip, with bloodstains visible around the tears, as their blood splatters on your arms, hands and weapons. Bodies do linger, and you see many dead, bloody mercenary and (later in) colonist bodies scattered throughout. However, blood can be turned off by going into the pause menu, "Game," and "Gore" off—this will disable all blood in the cutscenes and gameplay (offline and online), including the static blood on walls, floors, bodies, and objects—bloody sound effects remain.

Specific scenes of blood & gore:

(If "Gore" is off, these would instead be considered scenes of Intense violence).

  • At the beginning of a tutorial sequence, you see a colonist clutching his bloodied side and wincing in pain, with his clothes heavily bloodstained at the site of the wound—you hear him moan in pain and see him drop to his death as you leave.
  • Riddick jumps on top of an elevator, opens the hatch, lifts a (fully armored and helmeted) mercenary by the scruff of his armor, sticks a retrofitted shiv in the enemy's neck and pulls it out (with a squish), causing moderate blood splatter.
  • After killing a mercenary for a prisoner, Riddick lowers himself to the body and then struggles to open the body's mouth for its gold tooth (for proof of the kill). He apparently has a hard time, as Riddick then takes his elbow and smashes it against the dead man's nose and mouth, causing a moderate amount of blood to splatter onto the floor—you hear squishing/crunching as he pulls the tooth out.
  • As you use a Drone (a human turned into a mindless, remote-controlled soldier) in order to remotely take out other Drones and shoot open a vent containing an active fan, you steer the Drone into the fan (with a crunch and squish), causing its body to spurt and smear heavy amounts of blood onto the surrounding area.
  • When you enter a Drone conversion room, dispatch of the—armed—doctors and look around, partial limbs are seen (arms, hands, upper legs, etc.) lying about, with heavy amounts of blood speckled all about the floor, and two Drones lying on operating tables; one Drone is still alive, conscious, and not fully converted. He is bloodied, has multiple tubes sticking from his torso, a partially stitched up thigh (showing bone and muscle underneath a long vertical slit) and blood trails running down the sides of his eyes with a few small wires entering his temples.
  • After you drop a mech-suit-equipped enemy down a pit—damaging his suit—and then jump after him, he says, "Now I'm gonna pull your entrails out your a**!"
  • While Silverman (one of the freed prisoners and Riddick's ally) starts to cut him out of a grate with a torch, another prisoner, Jaylor (an evil, twisted prisoner), abruptly shoots her in the back, resulting in mild blood splatter and her death.
  • When Riddick enters a room, he sees an allied prisoner slumped on a chair. He approaches and lifts his head to find that his throat is slit—blood runs down his neck from the wound, staining his clothes. Captain Revas then jumps from her hiding place and attacks Riddick as a scuffle ensues; he soon wins, sticking his shiv through her neck, which causes a moderate amount of blood to splatter as she gurgles—he walks away as she lies gasping and gurgling in her own blood.
  • As you navigate the tunnels beneath a colony under siege by the Dark Athena's crew, you see a bloodied colonist body—dropped from a manhole—as it falls on many other dead, bloodied colonist bodies—you then overhear the mercenaries talk on how the bodies they're discarding are useless for the Drone conversion.
  • While Riddick stands behind a sealed, windowed door, Revas orders her men to cut the door open and kill him. The mercenaries then order the Drones to do so, but they turn on the men; you hear their gunfire and screams, as the window is covered in the mercenaries' blood, like paint, until Riddick's view is completely blocked (blood covering the window will not be disabled with the Gore filter on).
  • An unlockable document in the Extras menu examines the procedure on how to convert a human into a Drone, and goes on to detail that the patient needs to be alive and fully conscious while they cut open their chest, and then replace their heart with an artificial system, cut off the top of their skulls, remove eyes, etc.
  • A prisoner's unlockable bio in the Extras menu tells of Sad-eyes, a woman who joined the "Blue-skins" gang after living with an abusive grandmother. It details that after joining the gang, Sad-eyes and a few of the other members went into her grandmother's house—for revenge—and "Beat the old woman to death with nail-studded clubs, not stopping until every bone in her body was broken."

Intense violence: After Riddick and Johns escape Butcher Bay in a stolen spacecraft, they go into cryogenic sleep for a journey to the next (unknown) destination. This trip is soon cut short however, as the Dark Athena prison ship, led by Gale Revas (an old acquaintance of Riddick's) has their ship in its sights. Riddick awakes just before they board—managing to hide in the rafters—and upon entering, they find Johns still asleep in his cryo chamber, with Riddick's empty chamber next to his; they leave with Johns, unknowingly letting Riddick onboard. Now that he's been set loose on the Dark Athena, Riddick needs to traverse the ship undetected as he takes out its crew and converses with their (relatively) innocent prisoners, in order to ultimately escape—again. Things soon get more complicated, when Riddick encounters Drones (former human colonists turned into mindless, remote-controlled soldiers), and finds that the Athena's crew is invading planets, killing the weak and keeping the strong for conversion. Riddick likes the dead to stay dead, and he'll do what he does best to stop it: kill...

After completing a training sequence, evading Revas' crew and sneaking onto the Dark Athena, you'll start your escape. And the base gameplay consists of exploring the ship while conversing with and doing fetch-quests (retrieve items and kill) for prisoners, in order to collect intel and supplies. You will then use eyeshine to navigate the dark, as you crawl through vents, climb stacks of crates or ladders, and shimmy across piping and ledges; shoot out lights, lure and sneak up on the Dark Athena's crew, take them out (retrieve security cards), and hide their bodies. When you're not sneaking around, you'll use your arsenal (later, pilot a mech and then Alpha Drone as you wreak havoc) to combat them, as you refill your health at NanoMed stations. And you'll solve minor puzzles by using downed Drones' attached weapons to clear away obstacles (in a later sequence you'll remotely pilot Drones as you clear barricades/enemies), and the later S.C.A.R.'s air charges to shove crates out of the way (or next to walls, as to climb up them), or shoot out-of-reach buttons to activate lifts and bridges.

You'll be combating the Dark Athena's mercenary crew, their Drones (former humans, now mindless, remote-controlled soldiers), and later, mechs (mercenaries encased in large, mechanical suits), Spider-bots (spider-like, turret-equipped robots that stick to walls) and Alpha Drones (giant versions of the human Drone, equipped with a missile launcher and heavy machine-guns). You will be fighting them with your fists, a hatpin (retrofitted as a shiv), combat knife, Ulaks (dual, U-shaped blades with sharp ridged edges), club, pistol, assault rifle, shotgun, submachine-gun, Tranquilizer Gun, Drones' arm-attached guns (pick up their downed bodies, lift their arms and shoot), and (the later) S.C.A.R. gun (a weapon that shoots up to five charges at once; when detonated, they expel deadly pulses of compressed air).

The combat system is intensely violent and mercilessly brutal, and consists of beating enemies with your bare hands (hooks, jabs, uppercuts, etc.) and adjoining blunt force trauma, finishing them off by grabbing them by the throat or shoulders to repeatedly beat them in the face or neck; you'll use your shiv, combat knife or Ulaks to slash the enemy and finish them off by repeatedly sticking it in their side and necks, stabbing and ripping it out of their chests, doing the same to their eye or slitting their throats; you'll snap mercenary and Drone necks (with a crunch); Disarm them of their guns by forcing it under their chin and pulling the trigger; your varied arsenal to pump dozens of shots into their bodies; the butt of your weapons to bash at them in close quarters; the trank gun to stun them, and then knock them in the back of the head or kick them while they're down to finish them off; and the S.C.A.R gun's compressed, explosive air charges to take out—and fling—any nearby enemies.

For the fact that—at first—the Dark Athena's crew doesn't know of Riddick's presence, he's more empowered than the average protagonist. Add this element of surprise with Riddick's incredible and deadly skills, and they're more preoccupied with the fear that their ship will be taken over, than with a confidence of catching and killing you. That said, Riddick is not invincible, and you are on an enemy ship with no place to hide—if you're found, that is. And to avoid the crew and—merc-controlled—Drones, you'll have to sneak within the shadows (or chance a swift death; even when armed, you can only take a few hits) while you use stealth and your eyeshine ability to navigate the dark, which can only be used effectively in darkness—if you're exposed to bright light, it will blind you. The enemy unknowingly uses this to their advantage by using laser-pointed weapons and flashlights in the dark, and if you're detected (which isn't too difficult to accomplish), they'll open fire, scream out expletives and bash away in close quarters. With this, the fact that they're on a constant search for you, and that you can't always shoot out the spotlights in the more open areas, you're never safe.

After they learn of your presence, enemy encounters only step up later in; you'll have to navigate a vast elevator shaft as you climb stacks of crates and hide from a circling spotlight, with armed mercs at the end; use a downed Drone as a shield while riding a lift down a long shaft, using its built-in gun to dispatch of enemy sharp shooters firing from all directions; run down a long corridor with very little cover as a powerful mech pursues closely behind, barraging you with fire from its machine-guns; sneak past and then evade two mechs through a tiny, spotlit door—which they fully block; explore the streets of a colony city being invaded by droves of Drones, while Spider-bots are shot from the sky, attaching to nearby walls and use their laser-targeted turrets to fire on your position (killing you in a couple of hits); and you'll later encounter (over a dozen of) giant Alpha Drones (in a row), which barrage with missiles and their arm-mounted machine-guns in very cramped quarters—although you are capable, it doesn't change the fact that you're always outnumbered.

Riddick will also have to make a couple of pseudo-moral choices: early in, you come across a dying colonist. There's the choice to comfort him—Riddick style—by saying he can look for his family once you clear the enemy anyway, or simply blow him off. And later in, you find a partially converted drone lying in an operating room, as he weakly asks if you can find and letter in his cell and then send it to his family—you can agree, or turn him down. He'll then ask you to put him out of his misery, you can do this, or let him lie there in pain. Concerning character, Riddick hasn't changed from the last, but because of the presence of (mostly) innocent prisoners (including a cute little girl) it does show that, although he's still his cold, indifferent self, as long as they don't get in his way—or better, assist him in his escape—not only does he not harm them, but seems to goes out of his way to free them. And later in, Riddick comforts the little girl (again, in his own way) when her mother is murdered, and even attempts to save the main villain, simply stating, "It didn't have to be this way."; Riddick never harms the innocent—he says they die simply on account of his presence.

The cutscenes contain several moderately violent scenes (the prisoners and colonists are seen being shot down by the Dark Athena's mercenaries, etc.); a few of the side characters are killed, including the little girl's mother; and the concept of Revas' men invading innocent people's colonies, killing them without prejudice, then discarding the useless and turning the remaining into mindless Drones, is quite tragic. When it comes to age, while Riddick's demeanor is more tolerable this time around, and you can turn blood effects off, it doesn't do much to lessen the extremely violent and brutal (blunt force trauma-oriented) combat, or the many chaotic gunfights; the atmosphere is dark and gritty, with rough, hostile inhabitants; it's packed with language (like seventy-six uses of the f-word alone); and unlike the last installment, it contains a heavy amount of sexual content, including a male prisoner who is openly into necrophilia (raping the dead), and a scene of (fortunately undetailed) male masturbation. In some ways, the first honestly seems tame in comparison, and there's simply more appropriate games for younger teens; it's just more suited to older teens and adults.

Sexual Content:

  • While listening in on a conversation between two enemy mercenaries, you hear one mention how the captain would rip off his "nuts" if she heard what he did.
  • You overhear a conversation between two other enemy mercenaries, with one of them stating that Revas (their captain) is "F**king hot!" and has "A nice a**!"
  • While sneaking into the prisoners' cells, you overhear a conversation between a newer mercenary and a veteran crew member; the veteran says, "I know your type, five years in space tends to build up in the balls, huh? You find that pretty little princess who reminds you of your mother an' the pants start stretchin'." He then goes on to tell the younger that when they're off planet, he'll take him to a red-light club; "Yeah, I bet you gotta pay for a lay (sex) newbie (laughter)!"
  • A former mercenary of the Dark Athena (now its prisoner) speaks to you about a female prisoner named Silverman, ranting, "That a f**kable piece of meat or what!" You then ask him about the captain, with him stating, "Skirt's got balls!"
  • As you explore the mercenaries' sleeping quarters (with bunks on either side of a long corridor) you see several female oriented magazines, with titles like "101 hottest women in space," and "Bikini Illustrated: Golden a** awards"; the first cover has a low-res, undetailed view of a woman's torso in a skimpy black top, and the second is also undetailed, with a view of the female's behind in a thong; there's also a sign posted on a bunk stating "Masturbation equals sterilization."
  • After Riddick enters the second room in the mercenaries' sleeping quarters, you see a figure in the distance knocking on a mercenary's sealed up bunk. He then asks, "Are you in here masturbating again!?" The crewman inside then responds with, "Yeah Margo (the questioning man's name). To a picture of your wife."
  • As you approach Exbob's (a prisoner's cell)—in real-time gameplay; this is not a cutscene—he stands with his back to you as he masturbates, apparent from the fact that his arm is going up and down in a rapid motion while he hops in place, moans loudly and writhes. He notices your presence, turning his head (with his back still towards you) and states "What? What, you want some of this?!" As he continues the act (with his face turned toward you), and begins to jump up and down simultaneously, saying "Mmmm, this is good!" He continues his moaning, screaming and growling until he appears to have a climax—while he twitches in place—and then turns around; with his pants closed, no details are ever seen. If you continue to speak with him, he'll give you the finger and state, "Up yours!"
  • A female prisoner dubbed, Sad-eyes (who is enraged about you killing a few of her "Blue-skin" gang members in the last game), gives you the finger, says that "She's gonna tear off your d*ck and shove it down your throat!," and eventually grabs her crotch in a lewd manner with both hands and says, "Eat this f**ker!"
  • Jaylor (a mercenary once hired for the Dark Athena prison ship, now a prisoner on the ship for trying to kill and rape female prisoners—in that order) states to Riddick what he used to do with female colonists' "p*ssies!," and continues with saying, "I'm going to pillage some Silverman (a female prisoner's) p*ssy once I'm outta here!" going on to angrily state, "I'm gonna kill her, then f**k her!"
  • You overhear two mercenaries talk of raiding a colony, as one says on how the other will be rewarded "Under the covers," once they are finished. He continues with their dialog, and asks how it feels to be the female captain's "F**k toy?"
  • While you get closer to the captain's location (and to taking over her ship), she says, "You think you are a better man (Riddick)? Well...if I had a d*ck that is."
  • After you free the prisoners from their cells, Jaylor (a twisted necrophiliac) kills Silverman with a single shot, stating, "They're so beautiful when they're dead." Then, as you chase him, he runs saying, "Riddick! You like dead p*ssy? haha!"
  • As you talk with an older man in a later area, he asks for you to retrieve a gas mask for him at a nearby supply depot, in exchange for the S.C.A.R. gun. When you ask of its power, he states it's an, "Aguerra miners wet dream!"

Strong language: There's over six dozen uses of the f-word, two dozen uses of sh*t, under a dozen uses of a**, b*tch, hell, d*mn, p*ssy, p*ss, God d*mn, and God, three or under uses of SoB, a**hole and d*ck, and one use of the words bastard, c*nt and c*ck sucker. Other than the main script, you will frequently hear the f-word and sh*t during overheard conversations between enemies; and the Dark Athena's mercenaries frequently use the f-word, sh*t, SoB, d*mn, hell, a**, and a**hole, (p*ss and p*ssy very infrequently; at the very worst, they'll call you a "C*ck sucking mother-f**ker!") while they fight and/or pursue you. There is no option to turn language off.

Content review posted: 05/20/09

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