Skip to the latest screens (10.08.01)
The Game Boy
Advance allows developers to put game genres on a handheld system that were hitherto
impossible. The chorus of E3 2001 was "Content is King," and the refrain was
"Game Boy Advance." The Game Boy is the only platform in town, and Nintendo has
done an amazing job with the new system. With games like Dark Arena, it is easy to see how
such huge frenzy could build about the little GBA.
Dark Arena is a first-person shooter, set in a futuristic hostile environment. The
story goes like this:
Its the year 2146, and The United Arms Organization has completed the top secret
training of its finest soldiers. The camp was segmented into several sectors, designed to
test the physical skills and resources of very trainee. Genetically engineered opponents
were created to assess the combat skills of each trainee these opponents were
xtremely dangerous, very aggressive and were considered the ultimate challenge. These
pponents took over and within 48 hours had captured the facility, killing
everybody except for you. Defeat the enemies, and you just might live long
enough to cross the camp and escape! (DA Factsheet)
Spooky, eh? It sounds a bit like Half-Life meets Universal Soldier,
and the character design is distinctly Unreal or Quake. However, story is certainly the
emphasis in this game, which features a musical score, realistic sound effects, and FMV
cutscenes. Awe at the power of the GBA. Go ahead.
Dark Arena sports 20 levels of single-player story mode, and will
also allow multi-player deathmatch in several deathmatch-specific arenas. There will be
six weapons that make big explosions available, and blowing stuff up is a major part of
the game, along with solving puzzles and avoiding traps. The game also features an automap
function, indicating some complex levels. The graphics on Dark Arena are amazing, with
animated textures and great lighting effects.
Arena is still in the early stages, what was playable at E3 made me very excited. Dark
Arena is fast, responsive, and actually looks really good on the GBA. The emphasis on
story mode is excellent, and the list of features planned for the game demonstrates that
the developers, Graphic State Limited, have done their homework. I am very intrigued by
the cinematic elements of the game, and hope that "FMV" isnt a euphemism
for "slideshow." DA does have some good competition for the first FPS on a
handheld system award from Ecks Vs. Sever, but both of these games indicate a brilliant
future for the genre on the GBA. Overall, this is another one to save your pennies for.
Its coming for you this fall.