Black Box Cover Art

 Develop Industry Excellence Awards Joint winner, Best Art & Sound, 2006 Develop Industry Excellence Awards

Nominations, 2006 BAFTA Video Game Awards:

  • Best Audio

  • Technical Achievement

  • Game Sponsored

  • Artistic Achievement



Developed by Criterion, makers of the popular Burnout series, and Electronic Arts (you know this phrase: "E. A. Sports. Its in the Game!") in 2006, Black is a standard, all be it short, action packed First Person Shooter. The game was nothing much in terms of a FPS and game mechanics, but that's not why people have enjoyed this little gem. It is for the other aspects of the game that made people refer to this game as "gun-porn" for gamers. Winning awards for audio and numerous technical nominations, Black pushed the edge in audio sound effects and music, destructible environments, and graphical details for shooters.

With Black, Criterion didn't set out to create a plot rich, engaging first person shooter. They wanted to immerse players in the sounds of gun fire and the destruction they can cause. Everything with this game is centered around the guns, beginning with the graphics. The guns featured in the game were inspired by both real-life weapons and those made popular by contemporary action films; Die Hard, True Lies, and the series 24 for example. The details on the guns were amped up, showing significantly more details than previous games of its time. Next came the audio which is way more than just bang and boom. Criterion developed a special technique called gun choiring that essentially gave a unique audio sound to each enemy type in the game. This way, when multiple bad guys are on the scene and all firing at once, the mixing of audio levels produces a "choir" like resonance to the user, surrounding him in noise and chaos like no other.

Finally, the developers incorporated the next feature that Criterion is really known for: explosions. If Michael Bay isn't a stock holder in this company, he should be. Criterion excels at creating dynamic explosions in video games better than anyone, and this game is filled to the brim. So much so, that one almost doesn't even have to be a good shooter to get through it, you can just blow everything and everyone up!

But explosions and guns is not all. The game even featured subtle graphical features that you can see even in today's games: black and white coloring and slow motion when health is dangerously low and perspective blurring when reloading. Overall, the game isn't something you get into in plot and game play, but the sounds and cinematics keep your enjoyment up for as long as it can.

The game is only eight missions long, making it a rather short game by modern standards. There are four difficulty levels, the fourth being unlockable. Within the game your character can only hold two weapons and number of grenades. The weapons range from pistols to RPGs and some can have silencers attached. There are two types of secondary objectives that players can find during the game, the number and type depending on the difficulty setting. The first is destruction objectives which involve destroying or setting off the explosions of key locations or objects. This type of objective is only available on the Black Ops mode, hardest difficulty setting. The other second type of objectives are known as Intel Objectives and have several sub categories: intelligence documents, blackmail, reconnaissance, and armament. Depending on the difficulty setting, players must locate a certain number of these to complete each level.

One special feature of the game is the unlockable silver weapons. These are silver or chromed versions of the weapons in the game that players can play with after completing the game on Hard mode and completing the secondary objectives for each stage. Additionally, there is a unlockable weapon, the M1A62, which is a M16 assault rifle with a grenade launcher attachment which is unlocked with Black Ops mode that has infinite ammo while playing on Black Ops mode.



Black's story is about the retelling of events by Sergeant First Class Jack Keller, a CIA "Black Ops" agent who is being interrogated about his last several missions. Keller tells the story of how he and his team were sent to Chechnya (Western Russia) to investigate a terrorist cell called Seventh Wave which was gaining strength and attention. Initially resistant to his unknown interrogator, Kellar events yields and tells his story after being threatened with declassification, dishonorably discharge, and imprisonment for life. The missions are the events that involve Keller and his team as they hunt for the leader of Seventh Wave, a mysterious former CIA wetworks and explosives expert, William Lennox.

PlayStation 2
First-Person Shooter
Criterion Games

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