We first took a look a Bionic Commando's 10-player multiplayer mode last year, but Capcom had new maps on show at its Captivate 09 event. We managed to get some hands-on time playing against other journalists at the event, including a look at three new maps that will feature in the finished game.
Bionic Commando's trademark feature is the bionic arm, and the multiplayer action relies heavily on grappling and swinging around the maps. Given the slow pace of movement on the ground, you'll want to take to the air to reach higher platforms and avoid being a sitting duck at all costs. In addition to being a mode of transport, you can pull off some cool moves with the arm, including heavy and light punches, and a combo in which you can throw opponents up in the air and then smash them to the ground. You can also use the arm to grab your foe and deliver a high-speed kick, or just use it to slow down enemy movements, making them easier to shoot.
You can also obtain power-ups, including body armour, health packs, and a Bionic Commando token, which temporarily increases the damage that you can dish out. On the weapons side, you can find a machine gun, shotgun, sniper rifle, and grenade launcher, plus a rocket launcher. The rocket launcher has a greater blast radius than the grenade launcher and is more suited to picking off groups from long range. Thankfully, the maps that we were able to try all have suitable vantage points from which to take out people from afar.
There were three new stages for us to explore in our demo. Vertigo is a midsized map that's set on the rooftops of several high-rise structures at night. The dark setting contrasts with the other maps, given that the neon colours of players and power-ups can be easily spotted against the backdrop. There are plenty of strategically located overhead platforms, such as electrical conduits jutting out of buildings, which make it easy to quickly reach a better vantage point.
Island is a larger map, suited for 8 to 10 players, and is situated on an island with several high-rise buildings, bridges, a monorail, and rubble-filled streets, all in various states of destruction. The heights of the buildings mix things up a bit, with lots of areas to explore, including rooftops, streets, and also exposed sections halfway up the buildings.
The final map, called Slipped, is a more organic setting, combining platforms on one side of the map with a cliff that drops straight into the ocean. There's also a single high-rise building and a half-destroyed bridge, and with the top of the building, bridge, and cliffside platforms all roughly the same height, you can swing between them while raining fire down below. Slipped is a smaller map than Island and looks to be best suited for four to six players.
Bionic Commando Rearmed has clearly influenced this 3D update, considering that many of the textures, lighting, and particle effects look similar to the HD remix. Although the game still looks a bit rough around the edges, it will hopefully benefit from further spit and polish in the run-up to release. Bionic Commando will be swinging its way onto the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in the first half of this year. For more on Capcom's remake, check out our previous coverage.