The Darkness is an incredibly underrated game, but if you’ve played it chances are that you’ve fallen in love with it for a plethora of reasons ranging from generally terrorising your enemies from the shadows, blasting them across the environment with a pair of elaborate pistols, unleashing a set of supernatural powers to rip anybody in your way to shreds, and lastly sending out some ghoulish little creatures to cause a bit of chaos!
When you first start activating your Darkness powers there’s plenty of fun to be had, but eventually you’ll be drawn towards some circular pools of light with dark tentacles reaching out of them, which you’ll quickly learn are the spawning points for your crafty little minions, otherwise known as The Darklings.
In general The Darklings are fairly obedient, they’ll go where you want and they’ll attack your enemies on sight, which definitely makes it easier to navigate through the environments. However, if you stop telling them what to do they’ll get bored and will go in search of their own fun, which means they’ll indiscriminately attack people in the street, or knock bodies across the floor to amuse themselves whilst cackling away and letting out a few amusing phrases, you could say they’re the Gremlins of the video games world only they don’t come with a set of rules!
There are several types of Darkling to take your pick from depending on the situation you find yourself in, the first of which are the Beserkers. At a glance they’re not very impressive as they scurry off into the distance towards a walking, talking hunk of meat, but once they get to a hostile character they launch themselves towards their head and chest, where they proceed to tear into their unfortunate victim’s flesh like a wild animal that’s been backed into a corner, before scurrying back to you and staring up at you with wide eyes like a dog that’s looking for a treat. They can shift a pretty impressive amount of weight too, so you can use them to move objects, like cars, out of your way. The Beserkers are also the fashionistas of their murderous species and there are a couple of different outfits for them that are hidden around the place for you to find.
The Gunners look like little demons that have been pulled straight out of a scene from Full Metal Jacket because they run around wearing a flak helmet and jacket whilst also carting around a ridiculously oversized mini-gun. These guys come into their own when you’re being pinned down by a group of heavily armed enemies and you need to call in the big guns to take them all out whilst you hide behind a bit of cover, or lay down suppressive fire as you creep through the surroundings undetected so that you can take care of things up close and personnel with a few execution moves.
When there’s a pesky wall stuck in your way, or you want to see some bodies flying through the air, you need to call up the Kamikaze Darkling so that he can do his thing! Out of all the Darklings, the Kamikaze is easily the most excitable and when he spots something that needs to go up in flames, he’ll jump into the air shouting and screaming before he blows himself sky high, so make sure you’re at a reasonable distance!
Light Killers are probably the most tactically useful Darklings seeing as they’ll take care of any light source in the area with a powerful electrical charge that looks pretty cool. This leaves you safely in the shadows before you charge into the unknown, so you’re Darkness powers’ll be at optimum efficiency when/if you come across a stray enemy or two.
You’ll also get the chance to transform into a Darkling if you decide to head into the multiplayer, which can be pretty good fun, provided that you can actually find somebody else who’s playing the game online and you can overlook the fact that it’s a little bit broken.
With The Darklings watching your back you’re unlikely to come unstuck in any situation that you find yourself in and it’s great fun watching them do their thing, especially when you send them after an enemy who’s making things particularly difficult for you. Just make sure that you don’t bore them unless of course you want a load of unchecked mischief on your hands.
First published on Dealspwn (11 December 2011)