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Vexx Preview (GC, PS2, Xbox)
game: Vexx
posted by: Monica Hafer
publisher: Acclaim
developer: Acclaim Studios Austin
date posted: 09:10 AM Tue Jun 4th, 2002
last revision: 12:11 PM Sat Nov 5th, 2005

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The new wave of platform gaming is on its way. No, it isn\'t the totally altruistic and cute Mario I\'m talking about. The game developers from Acclaim sat down with all of their favorite games and tried to pin down the aspects that they loved about each. They then tried to decide what the next step was for players who had cut their teeth on other platformers and what would appeal to adults as well as children. The result is a game called Vexx, and although some elements may be called \"cute,\" it definitely brings a darker, deeper plotline to this not-so-average platformer.

It is a tale of vengeance, really. It begins on the planet Astara, where the Shadowwraith \"Dark Yabu\" and his evil minions have swooped down from the heavens and wreaked havoc upon the denizens of Rockhaven. They have enslaved some and killed others, and among the casualties is the grandfather of a young character named Vexx. He is able to sneak aboard their windship, and in the bowels he finds the last Astani battle gauntlets, which fuse to his arms and give him special powers.

This game has eighteen levels, featuring tree-canopy villages, caves, desert temples, underwater cities, and deadly volcanoes. Day and night cycles with real time, and the enemies and environments get harsher as the daylight fades. However, there are sundials that can flip the time so you don\'t have to stay up late just to experience the effect (and some levels require the switch to find special items, etc.) Clothes, hair and trees respond to the environment for more realistic physics, and the graphics are lovely and varied. I loved the elements of the sci-fi space saga interwoven with quaint village life on the terrestrial side. Each level has multiple ways to achieve each objective and the ability to climb on a variety of surfaces with your battle talons really opens up options for moving throughout the environment.

I am pleased that Vexx\'s movements are so varied, with leaps, rolls, running/walking/sneaking, swimming, as well as climbing and using your talons to swing across overhangs. You are also able to cancel/add moves midway through for more \"free-flowing\" combos. What this means to the gamer is that you can double-leap while simultaneously slashing with your talons, then leap the other way and grab on to a wall or surface. Sounds fun, huh? The game controls easily, and although there are still a few hiccups with the automatic camera, the game is smooth and very easy to pick up. There are hint screens that can be displayed, and for younger gamers, some easier levels have power balls to pick up (a la Sonic) that help lead you on the most direct path to your goals. However, there are always other ways to get where you\'re going, and there are hidden multi-player party games that you can unlock that give an added incentive to explore.

While I admit that there\'s nothing specifically new here , Vexx\'s combination of some of the most effective elements from other great games is unique. It\'s a lot of fun to play, and I think that some of the darker aspects and the addition of a real plot make it a game that is going to be a crowd pleaser for adults as well as children (the rating is still pending, but I think we\'re safe saying this). I\'m excited about seeing the rest of this game. Even if you\'ve \"been there, done that,\" you\'re going to want to do it again with Vexx.