This year, Hip Interactive had a nice variety of titles to show. Although they didn?t have the massive quantity of games that some publishers had, what was there was very intriguing and spanned several genres.
First and foremost, is George A. Romero Presents City of the Dead (insert dramatic music here). This title had my radar up immediately as I am a big zombie fan. First off, just having George A. Romero?s stamp of approval is a wonderful thing. But they not only got George?s stamp, they got his complete involvement in all aspects of the game. City of the Dead is a first person shooter starring the voice talents and likeness of none other than Tom Savini. Don?t know who he is? Shame on you! Tom is not only a special effects marvel for tons of zombie and monster movies, but he also played ?Sex Machine? in From Dusk Till Dawn. Yeah, he was the guy with the crotch gun. Anyway, he?s a very distinct personality and he will play a strong role in the game as William ?Red? McLean, beleaguered ex-law enforcement officer and zombie killer.
At the moment, there are 5 playable characters, but we?ve been told there will be Single Player and Multiplayer action galore. There are 17 central missions and 40 arcade missions. You may have missions such as simply surviving or saving uninfected civilians. In some of the arcade missions, there will be a Burnout style of play, rather, who can cause the most damage. In Single Player, if you get infected, you have a short period of time and then you die. Depending on your overall health, you may last a bit longer. In the Multiplayer aspect, there will be a 4-player co-op mode where if you get bitten, you become a zombie, but your compadres may not yet realize it and you?ll have to take them out. Very cool stuff.
City of the Dead uses the Havok physics engine, so the zombies react appropriately when you shoot them. And, since the game is totally immersed in the George Romero mythos and universe, of course you must follow the rules.
1) Zombies are slow and lumbering, but they are also relentless.
2) To kill them, you must destroy the head.
The developers have taken full advantage of this as anything in the game can hurt the zombies. Want to shoot them? Great, but even better is to shoot the can of gas in their vicinity and watch a whole group of them explode. As we?ve come to expect from Havok, all kinds of stuff in the environment will bounce around and affect the zombies, so just because you are low on bullets doesn?t mean you are out of luck.
From the gameplay we were shown, this is definitely one to watch. Look for it in early 2006 for the PC, PS2 and Xbox.
Next up is something for the kiddies - Jackie Chan Adventures. Based on the hit show on Cartoon Network, you can take control of Jackie, along with all of his wacky acrobatic moves, and embark on a super-secret mission. This looks like a basic cel-shaded platformer styled game, with a flair that only Jackie Chan can provide. A twist is that the EyeToy camera is used for a variety of mini-games. It?s rated E10+ and you can look for this one on the PS2 on July 19, 2005.
Survival horror fans rejoice! H.P. Lovecraft?s Call of Cthulu: Destiny?s End is yet another game Hip is working to bring to gamers. This third person survival horror game places the 2 playable characters, Jacob Armitage and Emily Carter, smack dab in the middle of a Lovecraft nightmare. What makes this game unique is that not only are you able to switch between the 2 characters on the fly, but if you are engaged in a single player game and a survival horror-loving buddy comes over, he can join the game on the spot and the game changes to split-screen. When he has to leave, he can simply exit out of the game and the other character becomes A.I. controlled once more. Jacob is more skilled in combat, while Emily is more skilled in puzzles, so you will have to switch between them frequently to work your way through the game.
A major focus of the game is mental anguish. The characters need and rely upon one another, and if they become separated for too long, their mental health decreases. You can watch the mental health level by way of a Sanity gauge. If the gauge becomes too low, the player will go insane and commit suicide. Obviously, that?s game over.
Look for this one in Q2 of 2006, and it will be on PC. Other current consoles will be announced at a later date.
Last, but certainly not least, is Hip?s Real-Time Strategy title Ghost Wars. This game will take players on secret missions against terrorism in such exotic locales as Cuba and Santiago, Chile. There are 4 locations in the game and in those locations, you will visit areas such as airports, cities and countrysides.
A unique aspect of the game is that you can begin playing in RTS view, then switch to FPS view to accomplish a task, such as sniping someone. You?ll have both primary and secondary objectives across 4 campaigns, each comprised of 5 missions. You can also play as a terrorist and hide amongst the civilians, bringing a whole new level of play to the game. There will be plenty of vehicle use in the game such as tanks and choppers, and there will also be lighting, heat wave and weather effects in a fully destructible environment.
Look for Ghost Wars for the PC in February of 2006.
As always, keep it locked here for full reviews as the games release.