The Interplay booth is legendary
at E3, and this year the big surprise was that everyones favorite PC game developer
is taking a real stab at the next-gen console systems. The better surprise, however, was
their debut of a game wed never even heard about before, Hunter: The Reckoning. In
fact, the game was so early in development that we couldnt do a proper preview of it
right after E3. We have recently received some screens and more information about the
game, and Ive got to say that this one looks special.
based on the White Wolf pen-and-paper game by the same name. In this world evil walks the
earth, and only a few humans can see it. These humans are usually spurred on to recognize
vampires and other ghastly baddies by some traumatic experience, such as seeing a person
transform into a wolf before their very eyes, and that experience usually prompts them to
hunt these evil beings, cleansing the earth for us more average joes. Such is the story in
the videogame. You play one of four hunters trying to stop the evil. Two of the hunters
you can play are a big, gnarly biker dude and a priest who kicks ass for the Lord. Each
hunter has different weapons, ranged attacks, hand-to-hand combat, and magic techniques.
story behind Hunter goes like this: In a small prison town, vampires have taken over the
prison. The Warden is under their control, and they gleefully drain and convert the
convicts into walking dead. Eventually they are subdued, and the prison falls into disuse
as the evil ones sleep within. The game begins with a rave in the abandoned prison. Before
the techno kids can spit out their pacifiers and say, "Dude, yer bummin my
high," they are set upon by the reawakened evil spirits and vampires. Only one of the
ravers makes it out alive, and she becomes a Hunter, too (I wonder if shell have a
badass glowstick attack).
the evil is in full force again, you must go clean it out. You play one of the Hunters,
and the controls are reminiscent of Smash TV or Apocalypse. You use both analog sticks;
the left controls your movement, and the right controls the direction you face. The game
is rendered completely in 3D, but most of the time youll view it in a fairly
isometric perspective. The camera zooms in, out, and pans to keep the best possible view
and create dynamic scenes. These controls are incredible. They are very easy to get used
to, and they make for maximum zombie wasting.
perk of the control and camera setup is that Hunter supports up to four-player multiplayer
on the same screen. New players can enter the game at any time (hows that for
innovation?), and the game will automatically scale both the characters and the enemies to
accommodate the number of players. At times, you may face over 40 baddies, all trying to
eat your brains or suck your blood, crowding around you causing trouble. Multiplayer
strategy is different, too, since player characters may interact with each other to
provide backup, power up, and healing services.
got to see one level of Hunter at E3, but it looked great. The level was the exterior of a
church, and we had to battle our way through hordes of zombies, popping out of the ground
faster than dandelions, and some animated statues to reach the door. Apparently, all the
levels will have the same dark, decayed, gothic vibe to them, although locations will
change. Tasks required of you will change on each level, too, from just blasting your way
through the armies of undead, to escorting innocents to safety, to just plain running like
hell away from danger.
The Reckoning looks to be one of the more exciting first-generation Xbox titles. The
horror themes are carried throughout the story, graphic, and gameplay elements, and make
for a terrifying experience. The multiplayer aspects could make Hunter an iconic group
game, and the care going into the multiplayer development demonstrates that Interplay is
keen to give console gamers what they want and need. The control system isnt
entirely innovative, but it is atypical and implemented in a remarkable way. Start saving
up for this title, which will hit game retailers early in 2002.