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Platform

Xbox 360, Playstation 3

 

Genre

Party Game

 

Publisher

Gamecock

 

Developer

Wideload Games

 

ETA

Q1 2008

 

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Hail to the Chimp

 

The party game is about to get political with Wideload Gamesí Hail to the Chimp. As seen at the EiEiO anti-E3 2007 ďeventĒ at the Hotel California in Santa Monica hosted by relatively new independent publisher Gamecock, small development house Wideload Games (the creators of the Stubbs the Zombie game for the Xbox and led by former Bungie founder and Halo developer Alex Seropian) has devised a new take on a familiar genre that Nintendo perfected with its Mario Party franchise.

 

hail to the chimp          hail to the chimp

 

Basic gameplay in the usual party game has four players (on and offline) squaring off against each other in mini-games or mini-battles, with the goal being to become the player with the most: most coins, most stars, most wins, whatever. Hail to the Chimp follows that basic blueprint Ė the victor is decided by the most clams.

 

But then Hail to the Chimp branches out on its own in a refreshing new direction.

 

Hereís the gameís story: Seems that the Lionís no longer the king of the jungle, and thereís an election to find his successor. The candidates are 10 members of 

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the animal kingdom (including Ptolemy the hippo, Crackers the chimp and Toshiro the octopus), each with their own personality and an eye on claiming the lionís share of clams. The animal with the most clams is the winner of the election.

 

Itís a cool and funny premise, and after each mini-battle occurs, thereís a humorous

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political analysis via the in-game all-animal network, and a totaling of the clams to see whoís leading the pack. A wide variety of environments are ready for the candidates to rumble and fight it out on, and also a diversity of mini-game offerings, from Stuff the Ballot Box to Fund Racer, to play, but the goal in simple: collect more clams than everybody else. And you can steal clams from others by punching or kicking them to shake the purse strings loose of their clams.

 

Thatís nothing new, but what is innovative is the chance to form a political alliance with other players. Two can decide to unite, forming a powerful duo with a special attack that devastates all in their way (and sending clams flying everywhere). You have to choose carefully whom you align with, however, since allies can change to adversaries on the flip of a coin.

 

hail to the chimp

 

Visually, Hail to the Chimp seems to be influenced by Viewtiful Joe and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Itís stylistically simplistic, but extremely good-looking in that simplicity.

 

Hail to the Chimp goes beyond the best of the party game offering on the Xbox 360 (the awful Fuzion Frenzy 2) and even feels more fun than the beginning-to-get-stale Mario Party franchise.  Mini-games are actually anything but mini, as the demo I played in the Hotel California had mini-games and mini-battles that lasted five minutes or more.

 

An interesting premise, refreshing co-op with competitors, uniquely cool graphics and downright just good party-gaming fun give Hail to the Chimp more than a hanging chadís chance at being a hit when it appears on Xbox 360 and PS3 next spring.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(August 17, 2007)

 

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