GAME REVIEWS: Fear the Reapers

Woe is Jericho Cross, a half-man, half-vampire who's totally pissed off in DARKWATCH (Capcom; PS2, Xbox; Game ••••, Graphics/Sound •••½). Still, you can't really blame the man in black: his days are spent dealing death to blood-sucking scum, everything from skeletal reapers recklessly swinging scythes to bitchy banshees with killer vocal cords. Like Halo dipped in a Leone-style Westfest, the exterminations are spectacularly visceral. Lobbed sticks of dynamite make baddies go boom, and chaingun bullets whiz by in rough 'n' routy 5.1. Moments arise when Cross must make a decision: fuel his vampiric thirst or check his incisors at the door, which grants you evil or good power-ups for your trigger finger's delight. And for your eyes, there are hyper-stylized, ruggedly fashionable comic-book visuals rather than just another photorealistic waste of time. Still, that skintight leather worn by Cross's sexy female sidekicks would have looked extra shiny in high-def. Woe is my HDTV.