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 thats 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 werent 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 games 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 weve 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 doesnt 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
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 dont look back.