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"There is only one weapon to defeat Pure Evil: four basic elements has to be gathered around a fifth... The Fifth Element: the Perfect being."
Cornelius - Priest.

Every five thousand years, a planet-sized sphere of Pure Evil threatens to exterminate every living organism on Earth. From the beginning of time, only one weapon was able to destroy this threat, four ancient stones representing the original elements of life. Throughout the millennia the secret has been guarded by peaceful alien race, the Moondoshawans and a small group of human Monks.

New York, the year 2259. In a strage colourful universe, Korben Dallas, a Cab driver, meets Leeloo, the Perfect being who is looking for the stones...
  • In addition to the scenes and scenery from the movie by Luc Besson, discover new creatures and new places throughout the 16 amazing levels.
  • Fight 25 unpredictable enemies such as Zorg and his bodyguards, the flying cops and the cruel Mangalores.
  • Change the course of the game by using Leeloo with her martial arts technique or with Korben and his fire power.
  • An exclusive audio track composed by Eric Serra, composer of the movie soundtrack.
~ from the back of the box

If you clicked on this review from the August 2023 page of The Collection Chamber, you will have noticed that I tentatively gave The Fifth Element my pick of the month. "How could this be?" I hear no-one by my unconscious saying. It is notoriously listed in many worst-of lists throughout the internet and YouTube is scattered with many a video lambasting it no end. Well, they're all talking about the PlayStation version which has unfortunately dominated the Fifth Element gaming conversation. I too had that black disc when I was younger, and I too quickly discarded it. Cut to now, and I've finally got the PC version working and my impressions have been greatly improved.

Made by Kalisto Entertainment (who I should start a cult following for) using their Nightmare Creatures engine, The Fifth Element puts Luc Besson's day-glow sci-fi into a Tomb Raider clone. It's a bold move for a movie tie-in that wouldn't see store shelves until a year-and-a-half past its theatrical release. It doesn't quite live up to Lara's classic outing, but they sure do try. The levels, some of which are to played through twice, once with Bruce Willis' gun-toting character Korben Dallas and again with the acrobatic stylings of Milla Jovovich's Leeloo. Both have their quirks and forced limitations to direct you into separate paths and both play very differently.

It's best to keep Korben's high kicks to break stuff (left).
Don't keep Leeloo hanging. The traffic is dangerous (right).

Korben is the shooty guy. He can gather up quite the arsenal of cool weapons to rack up a kill count that serial killers would be envy of. His stages will often feature levers to pull, computers to hack and machine parts to collect before you see the end which break up the shooting nicely. He's the first person you'll play as too, so when the first few moments of the first stage are particularly bad, it does leave a bad first impression. We are on a rooftop, the impressively polygonal city skyline dominating the panoramic around you. Flying cars provide life, colour and movement but the path ahead is grey and dull. You descend some steps and come to a corner only to discover the tank controls have a terribly large turning curve making you bump into the wall. A bit further down and you find yourself in a car park with bad guys positioned the next room over, a little higher up just so they can get the drop on you. You crouch, only to find you cannot crawl so you get hit running for cover before you have the wherewithal to position yourself to accurately shoot back. This is where I gave up back in the late 90s, thankful that I only payed a fiver for it.

It's still a pretty bad first impression on PCs too, though I forced myself to keep going. Later on in the level, you'll use Korben's high-kick to destroy a glass barrier that will let you into a building, and from here the game improves considerably. The following corridors suit the gunplay and controls a little more that the more open rooftops and even when stages do become larger, they seemed to have kept the limitations of the controls in mind when designing them.

There are many power-ups scattered around. Here, Leeloo picks up heath and an extra life (left).
Only Korben can pick up guns, and there are some great ones (right).

Leeloo plays very differently. She has no weapon other than a limited supply of bombs. Her main offence is acrobatic unarmed combat. Some of the fights she can get herself in are genuinely cool to look at, with smooth animations and a switch to a more cinematic camera angle. She can kick and punch as well as dodge and when combined with each other you can perform some decent combos. This is no Street Fighter though. The move list is short and will quickly become repetitive with the main tactic of moving in and out of the enemy mostly making way to button mashing just to get the job done.

Leeloo isn't just about the combat, though. Her stages are defined by acrobatics and platform navigation. Unlike Korben, she can actually crawl opening up different areas for her to explore. She can also climb and swing from ceilings should the terrain allow it. The tank controls are the biggest issue here, with distance being particularly hard to judge. You make a jump, and it will not be uncommon to over or under-shoot it causing you to lose a life. A simple 'grab' button like the early Tomb Raider games would've gone a long way to alleviate some of these issues.

Sections such as this crawlspace artificially block Korben from entering (left).
Not Leeloo though. She can actually crawl on all fours (right).

Thankfully, respawning after you die places you not too far back making the trial-and-error progress more bearable, at least if you have the live to allow for it. I should say that I played the game with cheats, and I turned on cheats that should really have been part of the game regardless. Turn on unlimited lives and the threat of starting from scratch is gone. Turn on unlimited bombs and Leeloo's encounters become much more tolerable. Her stages even require their use to break down walls or other blockades so at least you don't have to ration them 'just in case'. With just these two turned on, it makes for a much better game and with a little more honest QA testing should've probably been implemented as standard.

So, The Fifth Element kinda got short shrift when it first came out. And if I'm honest, it was for good reason. The PC port improves on the PlayStation version with some nicer graphics, an increased draw distance and a slightly better control scheme that you can remap to your hearts content (the insta-turn is a godsend). It's not the best game out there but I had a lot of fun playing it regardless, which surprised me quite a bit. Not as bad as many make out.

To download the PC game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DDrawCompat, nGlide, IMG Drive Portable and CDAEmu to run on modern systems. Manual and Official Strategy Guide included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 341 Mb.  Install Size: 419 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ


The Fifth Element is © Gaumont Multimedia
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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  1. When I try to launch the game, the image isn't mounting for some reason. The bat file plays out, but when the game launches, it says to insert the CD before crashing out

    1. Read the ChamberNotes found in the install folder. You may have to run "Update.bat" to install the IMGDrive drivers. It's possible I forgot to automate during the install process.

    2. Ran the update bat file, even tried a manual mount using the mount bat. Both times, the image didn't mount.

    3. Did you run "Update.bat" as admin? If you're still having issues, that might be a question for the folks at IMGDrive themselves.


  2. even tried a manual mount using the mount bat after running the update bat file.
    The image didn't mount either time.

    1. Do you have a 32 bit computer as opposed to 64? That could be why. Edit the .bat files in notepad and change all instances of "imgdrivecmd_x64.exe" to "imgdrivecmd_x86.exe"