Enter the Matrix is the first video game based on The Matrix series of films. It was developed by Shiny Entertainment and published by Atari and WB Interactive for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube game systems, and for the PC. It reportedly cost over $30 million to create, one of the most expensive games ever developed. It sold one million copies in its first eighteen days of release, 2.5 million over the first six weeks, and eventually 5 million copies. Enter the Matrix was simultaneously produced with the The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions films.
The player learns that Neo is not the only target of Persephone's predilection toward trading kisses for esoteric information; Niobe and Ghost are both put into positions where they must submit to her whims in order to gain critical information that she offers them in return for their favors. Significant also to the continuity of the Matrix universe is the first appearance of actress Mary Alice in the role of the Oracle. (Gloria Foster, the original actress, died of complications related to diabetes early on in the production of both The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions). The game includes a film sequence specifically explaining her change of appearance, as a result of an attack on her by the Merovingian, a malevolent character introduced in The Matrix Reloaded, who also appears in the game. Another film sequence reveals that the Merovingian's attack was facilitated by a sacrificial trade with the compassionate program Rama-Kandra. Allowed to occur by the Oracle, the Merovingian acquired the deletion codes for the Oracle's external "shell," and in exchange, he gave Rama-Kandra's daughter Sati her freedom and safety in the Matrix, despite her lack of purpose in the machine world, though the Oracle foreshadows that Sati will play an important role in both the Matrix and the Real. What role Sati will play is yet to be determined in The Matrix Online.
After being picked up by his or her partner, a car chase ensues between the two rebels and the police. With Ghost shooting and Niobe driving, they escape. Unfortunately, Agents succeed in disabling their car, and Niobe and Ghost are forced to make their way across Mega City's rooftops in order to get away.
Upon viewing Thadeus's final message to Zion, the Logos's crew and Commander Lock discover that the Sentinels are tunneling toward Zion with an army of at least 250,000 Sentinels. Lock then informs Niobe that he wants all of the city's ships to return home as quickly as possible.
In order to contact the rest of the fleet, Niobe and Ghost decide to use the airport's payphones to deliver the message to make tracking harder for the Agents. Before they are able to leave the airport, the Vigilant contacts them in order for the characters to help save Axel, one of their crew members, who is being held at the airport. Niobe pursues Axel, while Ghost helps Soren and his team escape the Matrix. Niobe gets to Axel, and helps him escape the airborne plane. However he is intercepted by an Agent, and Ghost gives chase. After Axel makes the vehicle wreck, Niobe and Ghost quickly get him out of the Matrix. Before Niobe uses the hardline to exit, The Trainman informs her that when the machines last attacked Zion, the human city lasted only 72 hours.
At this point, the storyline of The Matrix Reloaded begins to parallel that of the game. After the meeting, the crews split up into the sewer, and flee the persistent SWAT teams. After helping the crew of the Caduceus, who are to stay behind and await contact from the Oracle, Ghost and Niobe reunite, and with the help of the Keymaker, escape through a door into another hall containing numerous doors.
The Keymaker then presents the two with a key to the Source, so they may give it to Neo. Unfortunately Cain and Abel steal the key, and Niobe and Ghost split up to find it in the Merovingian's chateau. During the search one of two things can happen – if the player is controlling Niobe, Ghost is captured and held prisoner by the Merovingian, and vice-versa. While looking for his or her partner, Niobe or Ghost encounter Persephone. In Niobe's scenario after she and the Merovingian's wife share a kiss, Persephone notes that despite being with Commander Lock, Niobe is still in love with Morpheus. In Ghost's scenario, Persephone senses unrequited love in his kiss, stating that it is something that he'll never have. Implying that Ghost was in love with Trinity. Persephone then shows Niobe or Ghost the way to his or her partner. When the player finds the partner, Niobe or Ghost witnesses the Merovingian destroy the key to the Source before he or she secretly frees his or her partner. After a brief battle with Cain and Abel, the two bid farewell to the Keymaker, who is again locked up, and escape. After a car chase with the Twins, the rebels escape, jack out, and make their way to Zion.
During their time at Zion, Ghost trains with Trinity (while Neo was busy with the Zion citizens) when the Nebuchadnezzar arrives, while Lock visits Niobe's room and has a lengthy discussion about Morpheus. It is also revealed that Lock, in an attempt to protect Niobe, told the council that the Logos was too small to make a stand against the machines. Despite this, Niobe along with Captain Soren of the Vigilant, answers the council's call to bring the Neb back to Zion for a counterattack against the machine army.
Upon finding out from Link that the Nebuchadnezzar's crew are being chased by the police on the highway, Niobe and Ghost attempt to rescue them. Despite being chased by Agents, they succeed in saving Morpheus from falling from a semi-truck while fighting an Agent.
After a meeting between the Keymaker and the crew of the Neb, Vigilant, and Logos, Niobe and Ghost aid them in reaching the door to the Source by destroying a power plant. This knocks out the building's power long enough for Neo, Morpheus, and the Keymaker to reach the door. With Niobe acting as a one-person infantry, and Ghost acting as a sniper, the crew succeeds in overcoming both Agents and SWAT teams. Meanwhile back at Zion, Bane, now under the control of Smith, has sabotaged the entire fleet's plan to counterattack the oncoming Sentinels by setting off the Caduceus's EMP early. This knocks out everyone's power, and makes the ships incredibly vulnerable to Sentinel attack.
The Logos then receives a call from Seraph, the Oracle's guardian, requesting that they come at once. Depending on the player's choice of character, either Ghost or Niobe will go to meet Seraph at his teahouse. Upon meeting him, Seraph engages the character in combat. Once Seraph is defeated, one of two events happen based solely upon the current character:
If the player is Niobe (considered canon, as she stated that she met the Oracle in The Matrix Revolutions): When Niobe arrives, the Oracle, now with a different appearance as a result of an attack on her by the Merovingian, tells her that when the time comes, she will have to choose whether to help Neo or not. Upon leaving the apartment, numerous copies of Smith begin to chase after her. After being chased through the city, Niobe manages to barely make it out of the Matrix.
If the player is Ghost, he does not recognize the Oracle as a result of her new appearance. In order to regain his trust, the Oracle recalls an event in the past, when Ghost asked the Oracle "if she would ever love him." The Oracle's response is, "As a friend and as a brother" (supporting the implications that Ghost was in love with Trinity), which Ghost feels grateful for. The Oracle gives an explanation behind the change of her appearance, in which two programs (Rama Kandra, and Kamala) gave the termination codes to the Oracle's shell to the Merovingian. This was done in order to save their child Sati. Ghost asks the Oracle why she let it happen, and the Oracle foreshadows that Sati will play an important role that will affect both the Real and the Matrix. Before Ghost leaves, the Oracle asks Ghost if he still loves Trinity, in which Ghost replies, "As much as she loves another," and quotes Nietzsche. Upon leaving the apartment, numerous copies of Smith begin to chase after him. After being chased through the city, Ghost manages to barely make it out of the Matrix.
In both scenes, when Agent Smith appears to Niobe/Ghost in the hallway of doors, he says "Damn, not who I was looking for." This scene occurs at about the time that Neo, Morpheus, and the Keymaker enter the hallway to find the Source.
After returning, a group of Sentinels begin to chase the Logos through the tunnels, similar to how the Osiris was pursued. Fortunately, the crew manages to turn on its EMP, effectively deactivating the Sentinels, but also stranding themselves in uncharted territory, where they wait to be rescued. From here, the events of The Matrix Revolutions pick up the plotline.
Facts learned about Rama Kandra, Kamala, and Sati:
Rama Kandra and Kamala were trying to prevent Sati from being deleted by the Machines, and as a result turned to the Merovingian and the Oracle for help. The Merovingian would allow the three programs into the Matrix via The Trainman, in exchange for working under him. The Oracle agreed to take care of Sati, while Rama Kandra and Kamala give the termination codes to the Oracle's shell to the Merovingian. The Oracle allowed this to happen because, despite Sati's lack of purpose, Sati would play an important role that could affect both the Real and the Matrix. Sati's role has not been explained in The Matrix Revolutions, and has yet to be explained in The Matrix Online. It has been implied that Sati has the ability to control the weather, and as a result, brought the ire of a program called The General, resulting in her kidnapping.
Sparks — The operator. He gives players tips and information throughout the game.
Agent Smith — A program who can absorb human bodies and humanoid programs to make copies of himself. He chases the player through an abandoned skyscraper, and later, Chinatown.
Agent Jackson — An agent who appears frequently during the game. He is defeated multiple times by means of blowing up his helicopter, and knocking him out of a plane.
Agent Johnson — Another agent with frequent appearances in the game. He was the leader of the upgraded Agent trio in the films.
Agent Thompson — The least-featured Agent in the game, who only appears in cinematics, and the only opportunity to fight him occurs at the end of Niobe's missions at the power plant.
Seraph — A martial arts master who protects the Oracle; he fights Niobe or Ghost once during the events of the game.
Morpheus — One of the members of the rebel group Niobe and Ghost are part of. He is Niobe's ex-boyfriend, and is captain of the Nebuchadnezzar.
Trinity — Another rebel, she is a good friend of Ghost, referring to him as "dear brother".
Neo — The most important rebel. He is "The One".
Axel — A rebel you must rescue from Agent Jackson at the airport, in a plane, and finally after a car chase.
The Keymaker — An old man who guides players through certain portions of the game.
The Trainman — An old man who carries multiple wristwatches on his arms. He controls the link between the Matrix and the machine city, and works for the Merovingian.
The Merovingian (A.K.A. "The Frenchman") — A man who has a chateau in the mountains. He has the Keymaker imprisoned. The Merovingian's henchmen are early Matrix programs, and are rumored to be "vampires" and "werewolves".
Persephone — Wife of the Merovingian. Often betrays him out of catty spite.
Cain and Abel — Two henchmen of the Merovingian. They are encountered by the player in the chateau dungeon.
Vlad — He is the black-clad, pale-skinned leader of the Merovingian's vampires. During the game, he captures Niobe, and locks her in the chateau's attic. Vlad decides not to take Niobe to the Merovingian, for reasons unknown. Niobe breaks free of her ropes and fights Vlad, who is in the next room. After a lengthy fight, Vlad knocks Niobe to the ground and leaves, saying he has better things to do. Vlad and Niobe later fight a second time in Persephone's bedroom. The only difference this time is that Niobe wins, killing Vlad by stabbing him through the heart with a wooden stake.
Cujo — He is the menacing leader of the Merovingian's werewolves. Aside from that, he guards the chateau's dungeon. The player encounters Cujo in a pit in the dungeon. In the end, Cujo dies from impalement upon a wooden stake.
The Twins — Employees of the Merovingian, who are encountered as the player leaves the chateau. The Twins chase the players down a long tunnel, before they are finally evaded.
As is the case with many games, cheat codes are known to make the game unstable, but can be easily deactivated to fix problems caused by their use. In some cases, the programmers have included anti-cheating mechanisms to prevent their use at certain parts of the game. The mechanism manifests itself as a bomb placed at the beginning of a level that will explode and kill your character. However, this also can be defeated by activating the invincibility cheat.
Also, a mode in which the player can use a sword to attack is achieved through a process of hacking. You can also unlock concept art, and have conversations with multiple characters as you make progress through the hacking engine, a mini game resembling a DOS computer terminal.
The album jackets for The Matrix Reloaded: The Album and The Matrix Revolutions: Music from the Motion Picture contain hidden codes for Enter The Matrix (not just the one code given for Infinite Ammo displayed clearly inside the Reloaded jacket). These other codes can be seen almost blending into the pictures from the films.
"In more than 20 years of playing games, I have never seen a console game as obviously unfinished and rushed to market as Enter the Matrix. ... This game is a complete mess, and that's the only thing complete about it."(EGM, August. 2003)
GameSpot listed Enter the Matrix in several of their "Dubious Honors" lists at the end of 2003, including their five most disappointing titles of the year. One common complaint was that players wanted to play as trilogy protagonist Neo rather than secondary characters Ghost and Niobe, an issue Shiny Entertainment addressed with their later Matrix game Path of Neo.
Steven Poole, in his column in Edge, described Enter the Matrix as "Max Payne with celebrity scriptwriters," and said that the films' fluid fight choreography could not be matched by the game's control system, and that the game's centred view, while practical, was not as interesting as the "kinetic montage" of camera angles used in the movies' action scenes. He also expressed other concerns:
"The most worrying new precedent that Enter the Matrix sets, though, with its massively hyped synergy and narrative overlap with Reloaded, is that it seems the film itself has been deliberately made to suffer, to donate some of its lifeblood so that its vampiric brood can feed on it. In Reloaded, Niobe and her crew go to blow up the nuclear power plant, a feat of security bypassing which would presumably require something like a lobby scene squared. Instead, we see nothing until they are already in the control room. Why? Because that's what you get to do in the game instead. The film's sense of rhythm and victory over threat is compromised just so we can bash buttons on our consoles at home. It's as though James Cameron had cut footage out of Aliens so that it could be rendered in blocky 2D graphics in the 1987 Spectrum/C64 tie-in game released by Electric Dreams — which remains, actually, a superior film-to-game conversion."
Positive comments came from IGN and Nintendo Power, with NP giving it an 82/100 and stating "Its game play suffers from repetition, but this two-disc technomelange has tons of great stuff for "Matrix" fans." IGN's review, while mixed, gave praise to its presentation and sound. They stated that "You can't get much better than having the Wachowski Brothers filming your cutscenes", and "Kudos to the sound team for bringing the movie audio to life in the game. Excellent sound design, and a great score."
Peer Schneider of IGN has also given positive comments, saying that "Things could have been much better with a few more months in development. That said, the story elements and the way the Wachowski Brothers tie together the Matrix movies, the Animatrix shorts, and the game is exceptional. Not being able to slip into the black robes of the movie's principal characters is a bummer, but there's no denying that playing through Enter the Matrix will actually increase your appreciation of the Matrix universe as a whole," and also giving praise to the GCN version, specifically "A big 'thank you' to Atari and Shiny for making sure that Nintendo's little cube didn't get shafted. The GameCube version actually ships on two disks to accommodate all the video and audio content. DPLII, progressive scan, DIVX compression — it's all used to full effect to make sure the GameCube version is as good as it can be."