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1995-2000
GamesFirst! Magazine

Preview:
Ecks Vs. Sever

severs_screen_1-01.jpg (5897 bytes)
Fall 2001 for GBA

 

severs_screen_2-01.jpg (6717 bytes)The Game Boy Advance will bring the Game Boy platform into its own, largely because developers can now create games like Ecks Vs. Sever. This first-person shooter is destined to be a big hit, and will bring gameplay in the style of Perfect Dark to the new handheld this winter. The basic story is this: You play Jonathan Ecks, an FBI agent somewhat reminiscent of Mulder on the X-Files – dark, moody, and full of pain. Ecks has lost his wife through mysterious circumstances, at least that’s what he believes until the FBI tells him his wife is still alive. In order for him to discover her whereabouts, he must complete a final mission, to track down and dispose of the renegade NSA assasin, Sever. Of course, through the course of the game, all kinds of government conspiracy and intrigue become apparent. As if that weren’t enough for the single player mode, you may also play the entire game as Sever, working against Ecks.

Although the single player mode emphasizes the story aspects of the game through fourteen missions, based on the plot of a film that may or may not be coming out around the time of the game’s release, the multiplayer modes are really what make Ecks Vs. Sever stand out. The game supports "multi-player single boot," the system by which up to four players can play off a single cartridge. There are several modes of multi-player gaming, including Death Match, Build the Bomb, Secure the Perimiter, and Assasination. The Death Match mode is the standard run-and-gun action we’ve become addicted to with FPS titles. Build the Bomb has you and your team scrambling to collect and assemble parts of a bomb in order to blow up the opposing forces. Secure the Perimeter is a game of cat-and-mouse where one player is "it" and the others must box him/her into a single room. In Assasination, gamers play as either Ecks or Sever and try to assasinate the other.

Gameplay is incredibly smooth, and the graphics are reminiscent of early Doom or Wolfenstein screens. While the game doesn’t support the up and down look common in most FPS titles, it will incorporate an auto-aim feature that will allow you to snipe enemies at different elevations. The standard jump button is there, too, which gives quite a range of movement to your character.

Ecks Vs. Sever puts you in environments such as warehouses, bars, hotels, and government offices. Enemies consist of security guards, NSA agents, SWAT teams, other FBI agents, and level bosses. The arsenal included in Ecks Vs. Sever is also very impressive. Real weapons like the Colt M16A2 Rifle, Sig SSG 3000 Sniper Rifle, and the Heckler & Koch 40mm Grenade launcher, in addition to mines and hand grenades. The inclusion of explosives like these last two weapons really gives Ecks Vs. Sever a high potential for strategic gameplay.

Without a doubt, Ecks Vs. Sever was the most impressive game debuted for the Game Boy Advance at E3 for several reasons. The FPS genre has never existed on a handheld device before, and although the GBA cannot technically render 3D environments, the developers have done a truly phenomenal job at simulating the experience. The multi-player aspects are truly robust, and the prospect of being able to invite friends to play off your single cartridge means gamers will share this experience a lot. Highly reminiscent of Perfect Dark, Ecks Vs. Sever has turned away from the influence of other FPS titles like Unreal Tournament and Quake. I fully expect this title to become an instant classic. It is a ground-breaking work that feels truly revolutionary on a handheld system, and it taps into an existing audience who will be very happy to have a game like this in portable form. Look for Ecks Vs. Sever this winter, and then don’t look back.

Shawn Rider

 

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