E3 2001: Carnival of the Damned Day 1, Part One

Day 1: Tom, Dom, and maybe Ron. Also: All Star Wars games ever.

Realistically, this is going to all be about Star Wars, but if you read it all, at the bottom are some interesting Facts about CMI told to us by Bill Tiller!

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Spaff and Tom Sarris: together at last.

Although 7 of the 8 titles LucasArts had on display were Star Wars, and the 8th was just a port of Escape from Monkey Island, the games themselves were pretty impressive. Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast, developed by Raven using the Quake 3 engine, was, for most people, the highlight of the LEC display.

The game, in development since February, has an unbelievable number of detailed features. Many people held Obi-Wan as the sequel to Jedi Knight, and after the PC version was cancelled earlier this year, there was uproar among fans. The reason given at the time was about PC capabilities and how they weren't up to scratch, but the reason given to me at the show was that during Obi Wan's development it was shaping up to be much more suitable as a console game.

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Sonic keeps a watchful eye over us all.

Jedi Knight 2 is anything but a console game. The Quake 3 engine has been used to its full potential, and also features some pretty cool little additions: you can break glass, your light sabre leaves little burn marks on the surrounding environment (which will hopefully be useful at some point in the game, cutting doors etc) and light reflective surfaces also reflect laser blasts. The engine can also handle real time lighting, which is used to create beautiful effects when drawing your light sabre.

The game features all the familiar Jedi powers, as well as a few new ones. The most notable new feature is the ability to throw your light sabre at enemies and have it return to you. This feature can also be used to interact with the environment (e.g. knock down bridges), which allows you progress further in the game. All in all it looks like this game is going to be a great one, even though its not Sam and Max 3D.

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This may or may not be Ron Gilbert.

A similar game to JK2 on display was Obi-Wan on the XBox. The game was shaping up to be much more of a console game, and they were right about that: imagine advanced Jedi Power Battles mixed with JK2 and you are close to this game. You can do cool acrobatics; Obi-Wan cartwheels all over the place. The enemy robot dudes run away from you if they get scared or outnumbered; an easy way to scare them is to use force pull to steal their weapons. It's pretty fun. Just as I compare Jedi Power Battles to 3D Golden Axe with Jedi this game is like erm... 3d Golden Axe with Jedi and erm... Well, okay, it's just a lot more advanced. Basically, it would have been the coolest game there, but JK2 stole its thunder. It also has no multiplayer support, which will annoy some players. This was my first look at XBox graphics, and they were pretty good, but this game didn't seem to show off anything amazing. However, I was only able to see the last level, and quite a bit of the game was yet to come. The story line goes a bit like this: You are (guess who, I bet you can't that's right) Obi-Wan as a young Padowan; some disturbances are sensed in the Force, and you are sent to find out what's going on. It did look like a good laugh, but without multiplayer support (mainly a co-op option like JPB), it didn't make me want to own an XBox. (An exhibitor told us that most XBox titles would make it to the PC within 2-3 months, however, another person told us that that Obi-Wan would probably never make it to the PC - their rather terse explanation for this was that they can design Obi-Wan specifically for the hardware in the XBox rather than trying to make it available for a wide range of hardware in PCs.) There were some odd plot holes, unfortunately; it's a game where you play as Obi-Wan, luckily before Episode I, which must have some weird implications on the entire chronology of Star Wars... but maybe we shouldn't go into that right now.

Moving on, Star Wars Galaxies...

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