I believe that all avid video gamers have at least once watched a movie and thought “If only there was a game where I could do that.” Unfortunately, all avid gamers know that most movie-based video games suck, and are usually just second-hand rehashes that only serve to promote the movie. “Enter The Matrix” escapes this stereotype by offering an entirely new side-plot featuring supporting actors from “The Matrix: Revolutions,” written and directed by none other than the Wachowski brothers themselves.

The plot features Niobe and Ghost, captain and first mate of the Logos as they attempt to aid Neo in his quest (“The path of The One is made by the many”). What is unique about this plot is that it ties in directly to the rest of the Matrix universe. Remember the scene in “Revolutions” when Morpheus falls on top of Niobe’s car with Ghost in the passenger seat? You get to play everything leading up to that scene in the game. It’s an interesting approach, but it still has its faults. Fans will be disappointed to see that the game doesn’t actually reveal anything new, other than how its characters got involved.

Actually, it seems like in all aspects of the game, the creators didn’t quite do enough to make it stand on its own. The ambient “Matrix” music is good, but it becomes repetitive without enough beat-heavy tracks to balance it out. The fighting animations kick ass, but the running and climbing animations are laughable. The full motion videos and animated cinematics are great, but the rest of the graphics are boring. The action is fun and somewhat varied in nature, but the excess of third-person combat becomes tiring after disc one.

But the biggest problem of all is that the game is underdeveloped. Even during the fighting segments, your characters will perform moves that are duplicates of those executed by Neo and Trinity. It would have been nice to see Niobe and Ghost show off some tricks of their own. The driving (or shooting if you are Ghost) portions of the game offer something that isn’t a recreation of a movie scene, but even they lack substance. A climbing or swimming segment could have gone a long way to rejuvenate the action. Even the plot didn’t appear to get enough attention by the no-doubt busy directors of the movie.

The game is still a must-see for fans of the series, though. Diving through windows in slow motion (via the ability to “Focus”) with guns blazing makes for memorable gaming. “Matrix” enthusiasts will also enjoy becoming familiar with the crew of the Logos while watching their story tie in to “Revolutions” as well as “The Animatrix.” Also worthy of mention is the “Hacking” mode, possibly the most creative and original idea implemented in the game. Accessed from the main menu, players can type in commands on a DOS-style screen and unravel a ton of extras, from weapon caches to video scenes to training modules. This feature along with the different paths of the two selectable characters provide for some good replay value.

But is “Enter the Matrix” worth the buy in the first place? If you’re a big fan of the series, the answer is yes, since it’s probably the closest you’ll come to being set free from the grasp of the machines. Bear in mind that the game doesn’t suck by any means, and it’s not even a disappointment in itself. The real disappointment here is that “Enter The Matrix” could have been one of this year’s best titles, but the lack of creativity and fresh ideas make this game no more than a decent third-person shooter.

Rating: 3 stars.

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