E3 2005: Level Up
Digital Jesters Blasts Their Way to the US
Company: Digital Jesters
Date: 05/25/2005
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One of my little surprises at this year?s E3 was the showing from a company called Digital Jesters. Digital Jesters is a UK based company that is just now starting to market to the United States. Their primary focus in their showing for E3 was first-person shooters, and from our demonstration, it seems like they have a thing or two to show the industry about this genre. Two of the guys at Digital Jesters were kind enough to sit down with us and demonstrate two games that they have developed.

Bet on Soldier
The first game that was demonstrated by Digital Jesters was called Bet on Soldier. Bet on Soldier is a first-person shooter, but one unlike those I?ve seen before. The premise behind it is just like those you see in other games of the genre; kill or be killed. Unlike most first-person shooters, however, this game rewards you for not being wasteful. If you use less ammo to kill an opponent, you will usually get a bonus.

The backstory is one that is unique ? there is an ongoing war, one that has been raging for a very long time. The world is now ruled by corporations, and the greed of these corporations keeps the war going indefinitely. Because of this, the world is dependant on the jobs created by war, and many people become mercenaries to fight and earn a living. The most popular television show during this time is titled Bet on Soldier, where two soldiers face off head-to-head in hopes of killing each other and making more money from the victory. Each Bet on Soldier match lasts only 60 seconds, so you must dispatch your adversary quickly. The farther you get into the story, the larger the armor and weapons get, until you finally get a large mech to fight in.

This concept of money essentially rules Bet on Soldier. The character you play must buy different body armors, weapons and ammo throughout the game, so nothing is free. If you don?t have any money, you don?t have a chance to survive. To get money, you must fight well in both normal fighting and the Bet on Soldier competition. You are also allowed to bet money on yourself to earn even more.

As far as gameplay, Bet on Soldier boasts over 40 different weapons for your character to choose from. There are over 40 different Bet on Soldier champions for you to fight as you play through twenty missions on 4 distinct continents. Bet on Soldier also has a multiplayer mode with support for up to 32 different players in a game at once.

For the play demo, I was pleasantly surprised. The graphics are clean and crisp, and the action is definitely intense in Bet on Soldier. We didn?t actually get to see a one-on-one match, but we did witness a large scale battle between the main character, and a dozen others. For those of you who like intense action in a first person shooter, I would definitely take a closer look at Bet on Soldier. The release date for the US is set for the end of August or the beginning of September for the PC.

Dog Tag
The other game Digital Jesters was showing off at their booth was called Dog Tag, Dog Tag is a squad based shooting game with tactical combat elements. The key behind the game is to keep your squad alive, and the environment is designed to allow your troops cover during a firefight.

In Dog Tag, you control a squad of marines that are sent in to investigate the mutiny of a battalion of troops and their commanding officer. Your objective is to either bring these troops back alive, or if that is not possible, eliminate them completely. However, they are all friends and allies, so there is an emotional struggle between your orders, and your fellow soldiers.

Dog Tag involves a good bit of urban-level fighting in modern day city and industrial environments. You must use a wide variety of tactics to destroy an enemy that has the exact same training as you, and outnumbers you heavily. This sort of scenario implies that Dog Tag isn?t your evey day shoot-em-up, but a game that requires careful thought and execution of a plan of action. Overall, this game shows a lot of promise, and should make a splash when it is released here in North America. Dog Tag is set for release in the second quarter of 2006 for the PC and the Xbox 360.

Z64freak aka Bret Hall

GameVortex PSIllustrated TeamPS2