WATCHMEN: The End is Nigh is based on the recent movie, which is in turn based on the award- winning 1980s comic book series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. The game is in two parts: the first part was available on Xbox Live Arcade at the same time as the movie release and the second part came out more recently. A budget priced retail version of the game is also available.
The game follows the adventures of the unlikely crime-fighting duo of overgrown boy-scout Nite Owl and the sociopath Rorschach. Watchmen: The End is Nigh serves as a prequel to the events in the movie. Part One is based on an Alan Moorepenned Watchmen role-playing game adventure and Part Two is written by Len Wein, editor of the original comic book. The movie actors have lent their voices to the game, which is great, as Rorschach was the role that Jackie Earl Haley was born to play.
You play as either Nite Owl or Rorschach in what is a simplistic but satisfying old-school beat-‘emup. Like the movie, it features over-the-top graphic violence that can be quite shocking at times. A basic but effective combo system makes the combat shamefully good fun. The two heroes face off against wave after wave of thugs and villains as they fight their way through the game.
There are some nice graphical touches, the reflection and lighting effects adding to the atmosphere, but nothing to blow you away. Part One has Rorschach and Nite Owl attending a Sing Sing prison riot in 1972, while Part Two, set in the middle of the 1977 police strike, follows the costumed duo’s investigation into the disappearance of a young girl, leading them to a confrontation with the very saucy Lady Midnight.
I had a surprisingly good time playing the game. It is a simple affair, but it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Watchmen: The End is Nigh is worth the entry fee and serves as a guilty pleasure that is just the ticket for a bit of button-mashing escapism.