View Full Version : Review: Condemned: Criminal Origins

02-23-2008, 02:04 PM

We interrupt this review with an important news bulletin: I need to empty my pants. You’ve done it again Monolith. You’ve ruined my already sleepless nights (a la F.E.A.R) with the Xbox 360 title Condemned: Criminal Origins. My views of hobos and homeless druggies will be scarred forever thanks to the brutal combat, eerie environments, and twisted, gripping story.


Throughout Condemned: Criminal Origins, you’ll guide Ethan Thomas, an SCU agent (Serial Crimes Unit) in a dark, murderous city. You start the game tracking a killer known as “The Match Maker”, and as Chapter 1 progresses, you find yourself face-to-face with the killer himself. After a beating, gun stealing, and murder of two cops, you find yourself charged with the murders and fleeing for safety. Your goal, nay, your mission is to find The Match Maker, prove your innocence, and clean up the streets of the addicts and killers.


The gameplay is pretty straight-forward FPS, with a few unique twists. You get a few standard weapons (I mean few), and a few not-so-standard weapons. There’s the classic police 9mm and shotgun, but those are few and far between. The majority of the game will be fought with items taken from the environment, like lead pipes, fire axes, and 2x4s (with bolts). You also wield a Stun Gun for a quick “freeze” of the enemy for a good whack or two with your weapon. The fighting is pretty easy to understand, and works very well for the game. You take a swing at the enemy. If you connect, you do damage. Simple, right? Depending on the area of the body you hit, you do more damage. Hit him in the head, he recoils, and you attack again. Miss, and he’ll turn around and clonk you on the head. After the cycle repeats itself a few times, you may be prompted to do a “finishing move”. These are especially twisted ways of sending the final blow to your enemy. Ever wanted to beat a hobo with a pipe, and snap his neck (oh God I hope not)? Well, you can do just that.
Condemned also stands apart from the rest with the addition of evidence collection. You are equipped with state of the art evidence collection tools to aid you in your quest to prove your innocence. You’ll find strange fluids, take pictures, and follow gas to lead you through the mission. As you go through a level, you’ll be prompted to pull out a Collection Tool. This means that you are in the presence of a clue. Find the clue, progress the story, rinse, repeat.


There are also times where you’ll be at what seems to be a stand-still. You’ve looked all around, and you can’t find where you need to go. Something looks like it’s blocked off, there’s a rope in front of that… You get the idea. That’s when the Action button takes place. The Action button is what pops up when you have a certain action you can perform. Move Object, Climb Over Rope… Just some examples. Let’s branch off the Climb Over Rope action. There are a few of these types of actions in the game, and all of them seem to go the same way. Oh look, a rope. Yep, I need to climb over it. *climbing over rope…* *BOOM! PUNCH! HIT BY A PIPE* Oh #$%! What the &%$# AHHHHH! as you are brutally taken down by an opponent in a pants wetting first person cinematic. These can end in many different ways, like a story forwarding encounter with The Match Maker, or a first person barf session. They’re exciting all the same.



Many of you have probably played F.E.A.R, Monolith’s flagship title. You may recall the grungy, urban and office environments. Dimly lit, crowded with shelves and junk, and always creepy. Condemned has the same type of environments. You’ll travel through disgusting, run-down apartments, a druggie infested abandoned Metro station, and other dark, creepy urban environments. The environments are really what make Condemned scary. They just ooze horror movie all over the place. The baddies use the environment for cover, and like to pop out of nowhere. Let me elaborate with an example. I was just pushed down an escalator. I stagger to my feet, only to find 3 baddies attacking each other and me. I go in for a kill. I clonk him on the head. But wait! I just took damage! I’m sure he didn’t hit me… I turn around, only to find that ANOTHER baddie was hiding behind a pillar, and was now winding up for a kill-strike.


This is a going to be a short section. I mean, how much can you say about the intelligence of a drugged up serial killer? They take cover, they fight each other, they pick up weapons… However, compared to other modern games, they’re only slightly above average.


Condemned: Criminal Origins is a game that would creep out Mr. Manson. Nuff said. If you like the whole scary, adrenaline rush, poop-you-pants action of a horror movie mixed with the emersion of a first person shooter, Condemned is the game for you. If you like fast-paced, 800-hits-before-you-die style shooter, this game isn’t for you.

Story: 9/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Environment: 10/10
AI: 7/10

Overall: 8.5/10 - .Maleficus. Recommends

02-23-2008, 02:39 PM
I've been dying to get this game ever since I played the demo. I've played that thing over and over again. God is this game creepy.

The AI can be average in places and in others they simply surprise the heck out of you. The first time I went through the demo being all cautious and checking everywhere. There was a point where the walls must have been thin or whatever. I could here the guy and yet I couldn't see him. Slowly I paced through the hallway... he freaking bashed through the partially broken drywall and beat the hell out of me. That totally hooked me on the game. From what I've seen on the AI, those moments are probably few and far between but OMG did I almost crap my pants. I tried to repeat that part but it only did it that one time, but ohhh was that awesome!

02-23-2008, 03:47 PM
Condemned had me interested from the first commercial. I forgot about it until recently (just got my 360) and I went to Gamestop and saw it for $19.99. I had to buy it.

02-28-2008, 01:32 PM
I love the fighting in this game.

the next condemned is supposed to have EVEN better fighting engine.

im really excited.

I found the last boss to be extremely annoying and tough.

02-28-2008, 09:36 PM
I love the fighting in this game.

the next condemned is supposed to have EVEN better fighting engine.

im really excited.

I found the last boss to be extremely annoying and tough.

It's out. I saw the commercial for it yesterday.

02-29-2008, 07:39 AM
It's out. I saw the commercial for it yesterday.
Oh... snap.

Well, I was either between CoD4 and Oblivion GOTY for my next 360 game, but Condemned 2 is now fighting its way to the list.

The only problem I have is I can only sit down and play Condemned for like 15 minutes at a time before I just dread looking around the next corner :rolleyes:. I love that about Condemned though.

02-29-2008, 01:28 PM
Great Review +Rep. I beat this game on my PC about a year ago.
Its preddy intense. .Strange storyline, but otherwise great graphics and action sequences.

03-01-2008, 01:48 PM
The only problem I have is I can only sit down and play Condemned for like 15 minutes at a time before I just dread looking around the next corner :rolleyes:. I love that about Condemned though.

Same thing for me and fear :P