The Play-by-Play

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay

(Vivendi Universal Games; Xbox)

We rate the ''The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay'' videogame

YOU PLAY AS... Richard B. Riddick, a cold-blooded intergalactic fugitive in the distant future who can see (and kill) in the dark.

GAMING GOAL As the title suggests, you have to try to escape from Butcher Bay, a brutal prison on a distant planet.

VOICE TALENT Vin Diesel, who also produced the game, provides extensive basso profundo voiceovers as Riddick. Other stars include Cole Hauser (reprising the role of bounty hunter Johns from the first Riddick movie, ''Pitch Black''), rapper Xzibit, and Ron Perlman.

COOL MOVES You can sneak up on people and snap their necks, turn guards' guns against them, and drag dead bodies around to hide them from the authorities.

JUST LIKE THE MOVIE? Nope. ''Butcher Bay'' is a prequel to both ''Pitch Black'' and the new ''Chronicles of Riddick'' -- although a nifty, near-Pixar-level animated sequence at the beginning links the game to the latest film.

BONUS POINTS Intense, immersive first-person gameplay, a compelling storyline, some of the most lifelike visuals ever seen on the Xbox (heck, some of the best console-game graphics EVER), and even well-crafted dialogue -- it makes you hope that Riddick's chronicles will continue.

LOW POINTS The game gradually ratchets up the action, so don't expect to be smacking guards right away.

FINAL GRADE A-

Originally posted Jul 02, 2004
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