We Love LucasArts Press Day
It's that time of year again. Not Christmas, but rather the LucasArts 2003 Press Day... which makes you wonder why Tom Sarris dressed up in a Santa suit and went around stealing everybody's cookies at lunch...* Four representatives of Mojo showed up for the San Francisco event: Doug Tabacco, Andrew "telarium" Langley, Jake Rodkin, and myself.
*may be a blatant lie
This year LucasArts showed off its games Rebel Strike, Jedi Academy, Secret Weapons Over Normandy, Armed and Dangerous, KOTOR for the PC, and Wrath Unleashed. Gladius (complete with Gladius-man a.k.a. Sam Saliba) also made a special guest appearance at the playable part of the event. Unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) Full Throttle II, which was originally on the agenda, was not shown.
So here's Mojo's roundup reviews of LucasArts' upcoming games:
Armed & Dangerous
by Andrew “telarium” Langley
True, some LucasArts graphic adventure enthusiasts might blow off this game for being an all-action title with no puzzles. However, based on what we saw, anyone thinking this game won’t be any fun is a complete idiot. Planet Moon’s Armed & Dangerous seems to do a very impressive job in capturing the LucasArts tradition of unique storytelling and quirky humor. Plus, it just looks fun. Damn fun.
First of all, you have the characters. The player takes control of a masked man by the name of Roman. He’s a criminal mastermind and leader of a Robin Hood-esque band of misfits called The Lionhearts. Your sidekicks include Jonsey, a surly Scottish mole miner who is also a demolition expert and overall rat bastard. Then you have Q1-11 a large, prim and proper British robot with a big gun and an obsession for tea. Finally, you have Rexus... quite frankly, I can’t figure out what the hell his deal is.
What helps this original title stand out even more is the really cool weapons. There’s the Vindaloo rocket launcher (causing Spaff to wonder if this is named after a type of curry), which can shoot four rockets at once at different targets. The Topsy Turvy bomb, which can literally turn the world upside down and send your enemies falling towards the sky, has been discussed to death already. There’s also a weapon that causes a shark to jump out of the ground and eat your opponent. (You have to see it to understand) On top of all this, each environment is fairly interactive, allowing you to blow up all the buildings you want. Sounds like a good way to work out some aggression.
Armed & Dangerous, allegedly based on a true story (???), will be available in winter of 2003 for the Xbox and PC. And for no good reason at all, here’s a quote from Tim Schafer from back in May:
“Armed and Dangerous was one of my favorite things at the [E3] show. It looks super funny and creative, and yet you get to shoot things. All that, PLUS a robot with human teeth? F***ing awesome, that's all I have to say.”
Secret Weapons Over Normandy
by Doug Tabacco
Flight Sim fanatics be warned: Secret Weapons Over Normandy is not your game. According to LucasArts, the game wasn't meant to be a realistic flight simulator. It's meant for the people who don't want to have to worry about stalling, airspeed, or flying upright. Physics seems to play an on-again-off-again role in the game. You can fly straight up with no problems at all, but try and shoot directly at an enemy plane and you'll find your tracers heading well behind his tail.
Secret Weapons Over Normandy features 30 levels in 15 different geographical regions ranging from Eastern Europe to the South Pacific. It also sports a whopping 20+ flyable WWII aircraft as well as actual British people doing the British voices. There are also some very nice features built in to aid both the new player and the uncoordinated one. The game will allow the player to switch to a slow-motion mode at any time to aid in targeting if necessary, and also allows access to instant replays at any time. If repairs are necessary while in flight, just lowering the landing gear and flying over an airfield will cause your plane to land so that you can repair any damage that might have scarred your brand new paint job. Combat is fairly simple in its execution. A target is displayed ahead of enemy aircraft indicating where you should fire to compensate for the relative motion of the planes. While it may seem that this could get boring fast, the missions are varied and tough enough to keep just about any player occupied.
The game ships for PC, Xbox, and PS2, although the versions will have their own advantages and disadvantages. In a move that will no doubt upset PC gamers, only the console releases will support multiplayer modes. However, the PC version will ship with a user-friendly drag and drop level editor so that anyone can create their own missions. ("LucasArts promises that this level editor will be in essence the same tool THEY use to make missions" - DJG)
In addition to the game itself, players will find some bonus features on the disc. Included are several video clips featuring the actual aircraft that the game versions are modeled on, as well as interviews with former pilots.
Secret Weapons Over Normandy ships this winter, and looks to be a pretty fun game for those who don't take their flight sims too seriously.