So it turns out you can get a reasonably priced copy of EA's shooter Black from eBay if you are patient. Hooray for the internets.
One thing I'll say for all that money EA put into Black: It has the best looking and sounding introduction and menus I've seen. The guns and ammo dancing in the background of the menus are flashy and crisp while the orchestral score evokes the requisite action movie energy. Too bad they felt compelled to go with real actors for the storytelling, because it just doesn't fit the shiny polish everywhere else.
Of course Black isn't about the story. It's obviously about nonstop shooting and explosions and randomly shouting enemies and allies. After the first level, I think I can say that in this respect it succeeds. Simultaneously it makes all the other PlayStation 2 programmers look like a slovenly pack of rank amateurs.
Not everything was perfect. As reported elsewhere, it takes dozens of bullets to take out some enemies, which really drags some battles out needlessly. Worse still, this Action Quake 2 veteran is frustrated that head shots are not instant kills. If I can manage decent aim, I should be rewarded for doing so, for crying out loud. Despite the first level being a bit short, there are over a dozen objectives and how and where they are achieved is confusing at best. Along with the above, I have some of my usual crusty old gamer complaints: no freaking subtitles and the controller configuration can't be accessed while playing a level.
Since Black is supposed to be short, I'm going to try to burn through it quickly. If I'm lucky I'll have a final word in a few days.