One of the more surprising line-ups to MyGamer at E3 came from Majesco. Having spent several years in the shadows, Majesco are finally making a move into the “A-List” of gaming companies, and walking through their booth made it clear that they have some potentially sweet games on the horizon that reinforce this perception.
Jaws: Unleashed – X-Box, PS2, and PC
Release Date – August 2005
First up is Jaws: Unleashed. Yeah, yeah, I know it doesn’t sound that cool. Honestly, when I first saw that they had a Jaws game in their lineup, I rolled my eyes. Tossing my own biased opinions aside though, I played the game, and am glad that I did. This game was so much fun! I’m sure that my E3 partner in crime will back me up on this claim, as we both took a turn playing the game (xbox version), and came away impressed.
Perhaps obviously, you control Jaws as he prowls the coastal waters for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a few between-meal snacks. You steer him using both thumb sticks, and combinations of the buttons and triggers are used for acceleration and of course, biting the hell out of stuff. As you cruise through the water, you can basically sink your teeth into anything that moves. Small fish and other sharks are abundant, and the animations that accompany these kills are a load of fun to watch. In killer shark tradition, Jaws snaps his head back and forth as he rips his fellow sharks in half with his jaws. Blood discolored water swirls around you, as your lean, mean, eating machine enjoys his meal.
The real fun comes when you go after the boats on the surface. Just like in the movie, you can make Jaws lunge over the deck of a boat long enough to snatch an unsuspecting, sailboat-frequenting, hors d’oeuvres in your mouth and drag him/her to their rather unpleasant death. You can even attack the boat, and take chunks out of it until it sinks. When that happens, it is much easier to pick people off one by one as they flail around helplessly in the water. Of course, there are dangers as well, trawling the open water with the sole aim of claiming your carcass. The Coast Guard can be seen vigilantly patrolling the area, and if they catch a glimpse of you they will try and take you down. Should you try and get too close, they will open fire on you, so it’s a good idea to head for deeper water when they come around.
Should you be so inclined however, you can try and take them out as well, after all, you’re Jaws, and you don’t back down from a fight! If you do take damage, you can always gain it back by eating some more blissfully oblivious swimmers. The game is rather simple, but a lot of fun to play. We only got to try one level though, so who knows if the rest of the game will have enough variety to keep players captivated for very long, although coming from Apaloosa Interactive (the team behind the Ecco the Dolphin games), the chances are good!
Aeon Flux – X-Box, PS2
Release Date – Fall 2005
Aeon Flux, a sci-fi action/adventure game, based on the popular MTV cartoon of the same name and the live action film (starring Charlize Theron) that is currently in the works. The game is meant to be a nice blend of the small and large screen versions, and tells the story of what Aeon has been doing between her animated days and her upcoming live action adventures. If you are unfamiliar with the series, it is set in the future. The story follows Aeon Flux as she tries to complete a number of high tech missions. The cartoon has a very unique animation style, with lots of guns, weird close-ups of characters’ eyes, and lots of acrobatics. The game has all of this, aside from the eye close-ups. Though we only got to see a demo, it’s possible that the eye thing may be in there too, somewhere. Anyway, the game’s visual style borrows from both the animated series and the live action movie, providing a game whose visual aesthetic meets somewhere in the middle. The bottom line is that it looks cool.
The gameplay actually seems like a cross between Prince of Persia and Tomb Raider. You use a lot of acrobatics, scaling of walls, and hand-to-hand martial arts a la Prince of Persia, but you also have various guns and gadgets at your disposal, a la Tomb Raider, and it makes for an excellent mix, let me tell you. The level we played had us fighting multiple bad guys with Aeon’s acrobatic fighting style, hanging from, and jumping between ledges, swinging from protruding bars, and repelling by rope to lower levels. The combat is easy to get the hang of, using a Quick Attack/Heavy Attack system. You can also switch between multiple fighting styles, which gives you even more options when choosing how to crush your opponent’s larynx. Running off of the Blood Rayne engine, the game has a great look and feel.
According to Majesco, the game will have seven levels, and each level will represent its own stand-alone story, with a definite ending. This will basically give you seven separate short Aeon Flux games, with each level filling in more of Aeon’s past. When it comes to games based upon movie properties, the games that try to do their own thing and come up with their own storyline, usually fair much better than those that are simply clones of the movie. So far, Aeon Flux is looking dang sweet. Let’s hope it lives up to its potential.
Taxi Driver – X-Box, PS2, and PC
Release Date: TBA 2006
Taxi Driver was one of the titles at the Majesco booth that didn’t really impress us much. Based on the Robert DeNiro film of the same name, the game basically follows his taxi driving character as he inevitably heads towards the dubious status of insane vigilante. The gameplay seems to offer an experience similar to your basic Max Payne-style third person shooter. You’re ultimate goal while following the plot of the movie is to kill anyone that stands in your way as you journey towards the aforementioned goal of becoming a total whack job. You have two types of gameplay: Drive Mode and Combat Mode. In drive mode you are driving, obviously, and here the game has a bit of a GTA feel to it, while the Combat mode feels tired and uninspired. The game’s visual style does match that of the film quite well, and the punk rock soundtrack they have playing in the game is a definite plus. Hopefully the development team will make some adjustments between now and when it is released, that address some of our concerns. They did have a shot of the title character stabbing a shovel through someone’s throat though, and more shovel stabbings could be just what this game needs.
Advent Rising – X-Box and PC
Release Date – May 31, 2005
Next up we have Advent Rising, a third person action-shooter that was penned by none other than Sci-fi author Orson Scott Card, responsible for writing the hugely popular novel Ender’s Game, and all of the sequels and prequels that were released there after. The books are amazing, and if he put the same gusto into this game, then it could also prove to be an amazing experience. The game, of course, is a sci-fi thriller. The version we played was leaning towards “Pretty Damn Sweet!” on our Cool-o-meter, so that’s a good sign. In firefights, a Max Payne-style gameplay system is utilized. Unlike Taxi Driver, however, it does not feel stale, and it is actually a lot of fun to use. The main character does a lot of cool maneuvers while shooting, flipping his gun this way and that, dodging here and there, which really adds a lot of personality to his combat style.
The game also has vehicles you can commandeer; similar to the way they are used in the Halo series. That’s not a bad thing at all. The game has indoor and outdoor levels, and is quite attractive graphically. While in combat, all you have to do is flick your thumb stick up to switch your focus between opponents. This system worked really well in the build that we played, and if kept intact for the final release, should prove to be well received by players. The game was a lot of fun to play, and has a unique look and feel. The graphical style consists of a very clean sci-fi inspired look, using lots of whites and light colors, as opposed to the darker, aged tech look of sci-fi series like Star Wars. We have high hopes for this one, and we’ll keep you posted on whether or not the game meets them.
Teen Titans – X-Box, PS2, Gamecube, and Gameboy Advance
Release Date – TBA 2005
Teen Titans is a multiplayer action game similar in play style to the old X-men arcade games, or even the newer X-men Legends series. You take control of the entire Titans team as you bust your way through the games levels. You can switch between the various team members at will, all of whom have different powers and abilities. The best part, though, is that it supports up to four players, and this may prove to be a huge selling point, as multiplayer super hero games are the bomb! The game and its characters are all based on, and styled after, the popular Teen Titans animated series that airs on Cartoon Network. The game appears to have the same line-up as the show, including its villains. As Robin, Raven, Starfire, Cyborg, and Beast Boy, you can play in either Story Mode or Arena Mode. Regardless of which mode you are playing in, each character has a fast attack, a strong attack, and a special attack, which gives you a lot of variation in your combat. You can also interact with objects in the environment. Picking up and throwing barrels, tables, etc. can be a lot of fun, as well as an effective way to take out multiple enemies. This game looks great and is a lot of fun to play. Definitely keep an eye on this one if you are a fan of the show, or comic book related games in general.