E3 2005: Level Up
Beaucoup Buka Titles
Product: Buka Entertainment Lineup
Company: Buka Entertainment
Date: 05/21/2005
Avaliable On:

The Russian publishing company, Buka Entertainment, showed off six games they are planning on bringing over to the US throughout the next year. These games range from the standard RTS, to adventure, to first-person shooters to sims and vehicular combat. Each game has its own unique flair to it that will hopefully help it to stand out in the crowd.

Buka's vehicular combat game, Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars, takes place in the standard Mad Max-like barren wasteland where you will be able to control 14 different vehicles, all with multiple types of attacks and each with upgradeable weapons and assets. Not only can you improve upon the armaments of the battle wagons, but you can also alter the vehicles' speed, power and weight -- letting you find a truck that is just right for your style. Along the way, you will also be able to interact with NPCs. You can either join sides in battles or even coax members of a group to join you in a mission of your own.

Pathologic is an adventure title that will force you to try and survive in a plague-ridden village for three days. How you interact with the village and its infected inhabitants is all up to you. Throughout the time trapped there, you will have to keep up your health by taking medicines and keep your character from getting too hungry (because a weakened person is more susceptible to the illness than a full and strong one), so you won't be able to just hide out in a house for three days and hope to survive -- the food and medicines are scattered all over the town. You also have the choice of finding out what happened to the town, and trying to save it. You play through the game as one of three characters: the smart doctor, the strong thug or the tricky female. With every action (or inaction for that matter) you do in the game, your character's reputation changes. In order to interact well with the NPCs of the game, you will have to keep a good rep; if you don't, then they won't want to deal with you and you probably won't last long.

The Stalin Subway takes place in 1952 during the Russian Revolution. This is your standard FPS with guns and weapons that fit the time. There are several types of enemy troops including (but not limited to) secret service, solders and officers. As you fight your way through the streets of Moscow, you will meet up with two female NPCs. One of these two will be on your side -- while the other one is your enemy. Which one is the good gal and which isn't? You'll have to play the game to find out.

Similar to Stalin Subway, Buka's other FPS is Hellforces which takes you out of historic Moscow and into a fantasy-filled land where you have more than 20 different weapons of many different shapes and forms. You will be able to fire everything from your standard pistols and shotguns to the mystical Soul Reaper. In Hellforces, a biophysicist succeeds in discovering a new power source -- the human soul. But each person the scientist used for his research became an evil zombie. A powerful demon has taken advantage of the opportunity and installed himself into a soulless body. Now the creature has a foothold on this world and he will do everything in his power to pull the living dimension into Hell itself. You have to fight the legions of Hell and beat back hordes of zombies and demons in the hopes of fixing the scientist's mistake before it's too late.

As for Real-Time Strategies, Buka has two games -- one set in WWII, the other with a more fantastic and supernatural feel to it. Pacific Storm takes the standard RTS and takes it a step further. Not only do you spend time allocating resources, building armaments and plotting your next move -- but you can also jump into the heart of the battle. You can do everything from take over individual planes to control the anti-aircraft guns on your aircraft carriers. Just like Stalin Subway, all of the weapons you will be able to use are specific to the 1940's. You will have access to ships and vehicles either from the time period, or even weapons that were prototypes during the second great war. You will play through missions like the atomic bombing of Japan -- or if you play as the Japanese, you must get your people to safety before the A-bomb drops. As you build up your fleet, you will be able to assign different generals to your fleets, each one adds a certain level of experience and skill to the battle and can drastically affect the outcome of a battle. Battle Mages: Sign of Darkness adds an RPG element to the mix, letting you customize and upgrade your "god" character to fit your personal style. The story behind Sign of Darkness is that it is up to you, the ghost of a powerful shaman, to command a mighty army and rid the world of evil. Your military is comprised of humans, undead, orcs and elves -- and they are all at the whim of your otherworldly power. I said above that you can customize your character, that means that you can use experience gained through battles to increase the spirit's magic, knowledge, combat skills and defense.

Operation: Matriarchy is your standard first person shooter with a wide variety of twisted and powerful weapons. As you tackle the unyielding force of alien women, your character will travel across three different worlds including earth, the alien home world and a third as of yet undisclosed planet. Because of an alien virus, all the women of a human colony world have been mutated, and are now under the control of an alien collective mind. For decades, this new civilization has been a pain in the Federation's side. In order to stop this problem once and for all, you have been sent into the hellish caverns to clean up the place.

Buka takes the Tycoon title into a new direction with Hard Truck Tycoon. In this sim game, you control a heavy-rig company and manage everything from drivers, to routes, to managing the vehicles themselves. As you manage your company and work with it to prosper, you will have to deal with everything the major trucking companies do. Deal with competitors, heavy traffic, accidents as well as money and HR management as you try to make your transportation company as successful as possible. The in-depth story will take you from the early stages of the mass trucking business in the 1960's all the way to the present -- giving you a good idea of just how far the business has come.

Keep it locked here for full reviews of these titles as they release.

J.R. Nip aka Chris Meyer

GameVortex PSIllustrated TeamPS2