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by the Ghoulies
I nabbed a first glance at the upcoming Xbox-exclusive action-adventure
title, Grabbed by the Ghoulies (GBTG), one of the great games starring
supernatural creatures and beings from the 16-bit era on the SNES,
Zombies Ate My Neighbors (ZAMN), came immediately to mind. In ZAMN, you
squared off against all kinds of zombies, mummies, and other ghoulish
groupies hell-bent on offing your neighbors in plenty of B-movie-style,
tongue-in-cheek action. It was up to you playing as either Zeke or Julie
(or both together, if you had another gamer around) to save the day. One
great feature in your ghoul-busting adventuring was the ability to use
items as weapons that you wouldn’t ever think as usable weaponry such
as exploding soda pop cans and fire extinguishers.
has some of the features that made ZAMN such a great gaming experience.
The game is being touted as a humorous action-adventure taking place in
a spirit-possessed house chock-full of ghoulish creatures. As the lead
character Cooper, it’s your mission to rescue your girlfriend from the
clutches of the evil denizens of a haunted house, Ghoulahaven Hall.
Succeed in rescuing her, and you reap the rewards due a hero. Fail, and
you (as well as her) won’t leave Ghoulahaven Hall ever again. Not
exactly the same premise, but it sounds a little like the GameCube
release Luigi’s Mansion.
of Luigi’s ghostly vacuum, however, you’ll be able to use all kinds
of objects in the Hall to defeat the baddies. Just like ZAMN, many items
you wouldn’t think of as traditional gaming weapons can be used
including chairs, pictures, and yes even the ZAMN-inspired soda pop cans
and fire extinguishers. Although the mood of the survival-horror /
action-adventure game will be lighthearted, there are
plenty of unexpected scares promised a la the classic scene from the
original Resident Evil of the mutated dogs leaping through the hall
windows. Graphically, GBTG will be beautifully cel-shaded in a manner
reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for the GameCube.
game is being developed by Rare, the wunderkind developers responsible
for a slew of classic Nintendo titles, including Conker’s Bad Fur Day,
Donkey Kong Country, Perfect Dark, and the best of them all, GoldenEye.
When Rare was being sold off by Nintendo last year, it was an easy and
swift decision for Microsoft in deciding to purchase and add Rare to its
stable of development houses and make all future Rare titles
are all the ghastly details about GBTG from Microsoft and Rare:
galore: More than 25 types of ghoulies will keep you on your toes,
including vampires, zombies, mummies, skeletons, haunted furniture, and
many more. Each ghoulie has its own movement, personality, and style of
attack, and they all fight dirty. Watch out, or you could be
electrocuted, bitten, burned, cursed, thrown around, and even vomited
surprises: Spine-tingling events will happen without warning to test
your resolve and reactions, such as faces appearing in windows, ghostly
figures and disembodied heads materializing from thin air, and ghoulies
leaping out from almost anywhere. Avoid these scares to keep young
Cooper in control, or risk being overwhelmed by debilitating fear or
variety of weapons: More than 100 household objects at your disposal to
use as weapons. Bash ghoulies with chairs, pool cues, tables, pictures,
and nearly anything else you can find in the house. For example, you can
take on vampires with a garlic-firing blunderbuss, and douse Fire Imps
with a fire extinguisher. You can also look to the downtrodden staff of
Ghoulahaven Hall to get a variety of weapons for battling the ghoulies,
such as pop cans that can be shaken up and thrown like exploding
yet simple, gameplay: Featuring an easy pick-up-and-play style, GBTG
offers something for gamers at all skill levels. The gameplay basics are
easy to grasp quickly; then you can refine and improve your fighting
strategy as you progress through the game.
the promise of the long-awaited sequel to Perfect Dark is rumored to
finally see the perfect light of day next spring, Xbox owners will have
to fill the Rare void with the three developer’s projects that will be
available first: Kameo: Elements of Power, Conker: Live and Uncut, and
GBTG. Rare received a tepid response to its showing of GBTG at E3 2003,
probably having more to do with the attendees’ disappointment of not
getting a taste of the next Perfect Dark than based on GBTG itself.
Rare’s reputation is on the line with its first titles to hit the
Xbox. Do they still have the GoldenEye touch in creating great games?