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Due Fall 2002 for Gamecube.

screenshot_017.jpg (5827 bytes)There were very few games at E3 to which I actually returned a second time. The first one that comes to mind is Mystic Heroes for the Nintendo Gamecube. I hadn’t heard anything about this game before I went to the show, and I have to admit that the only reason I picked up the controller to play this game was because all of the other games that I really wanted to play were being occupied. The Koei booth was tucked away in the corner of one of the convention halls. They didn’t have a flashy presentation or thunderous bass beating you into submission. It was almost as if they were so confident in their games that they didn’t feel the need to use tricks to sell them—a refreshingly original concept.

screenshot_006.jpg (6308 bytes)I really didn’t know what the premise of the game was, or what the overall goal was. I just knew how it looked and how it played, but that was enough to make me come back because it looks great and plays even better. The best way to describe this game would be as a more stylized, anime Dynasty Warriors without the fog and with a magical aspect factored into the combos. To say that the gameplay was incredibly addictive would be an understatement. The waves of bad guys seemed endless, and I was more than OK with that. On the single player level that I played through there was a massive fire breathing Phoenix at the top of the hill that was nothing short of breathtaking.

screenshot_019.jpg (6974 bytes)It turns out the game is loosely based on an old Chinese legend of Feng Sheng about a time when powerful and mystical beings, the Senin and Mamon, roamed the land. The Senin are the good guys, and they've created artifacts (80 of them) which enable the characters to use magic as a part of their fighting strategy. You can take control of four different characters and will fight your way through eight stages, and some of the settings are as large as 20 acres.

screenshot_019.jpg (6974 bytes)Mystic Heroes also features multi-player cooperative and versus modes that should add tremendous replay to the game overall. Not to mention that running around whacking baddies and smacking ‘em with ice blasts and flaming waves, side by side with a friend, is just a heck of a lot of fun. Mystic Heroes combines all the best aspects of Dynasty Warriors with a much more robust story and multiplayer, which could make it a major draw for all your friends. Mystic Heroes is due out this fall for the Gamecube and will follow on other platforms.

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Jason Frank (00/00/2002)