Carnage Heart's handheld return

The obscure mech strategy franchise from Masaki Izuka returns tomorrow in Japan on the Sony PSP; Izuka dishes on the handheld title's new features.

Longtime strategy fans may recall an obscure title called Carnage Heart by ArtDink, makers of Tail of the Sun, in which players build and customize mechs called Over Kill Engines. Released in 1995 in Japan and then localized for a limited release abroad in 1997, Carnage Heart had a steep learning curve and rudimentary graphics. But brisk sales in Japan encouraged the releases of an updated version, Carnage Heart EZ, and two spin-off sequels under the moniker Zeus: Carnage Heart.

Now ArtDink and publisher Genki are poised to launch another chapter in the esoteric series, this time on the Sony's PlayStation Portable. Web site Mantan Web managed to get a few words with Masaki Izuka--the director of every game in the series since the first title--who spilled the details on Carnage Heart Portable's gameplay, development, and why the franchise is making a comeback.

"Genki asked us to make a new Carnage Heart for the PSP," Izuka said. "This opportunity was a blessing. It was possible only because there were people in Genki who liked the game and pushed for it."

Carnage Heart Portable is "a battle of brains," Izuka said. "Its most distinguishing feature is that you don't control the [Over Kill Engine] yourself. Instead the 'cognitive program' handles the combat"--meaning players can create and compete against ghost AI opponents, as in some recent fighting and racing games. "As long as the design data is there, you can retrieve it using the Internet and hold a match regardless of whether or not it's convenient for your opponent."

The design of the Over Kill Engine in the new game will be familiar to series regulars. "I'm afraid people will think this is a port, but the program and data have all been created from scratch--it is an entirely new game," Izuka said. A lot of new features have been added under the hood, he said.

"I'm satisfied because we were able to implement the bulk of the things we wanted to improve from the last Carnage. We've put a lot of effort into the basics, things like the terrain modeling, physics, the replay save function, and so on. I look forward to seeing how it's received," he said.

"It has always been said this series has a hard learning curve for newcomers," he said, "but we've tried to lower the threshold as much as possible."

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

20 comments
_AbBaNdOn
_AbBaNdOn

I am so pissed we didnt get to see any other Carnage Heart titles beyond the first stateside. CH is FREAKING AWESOME!!!!! Programing your OKE's brains was cool and watching the battles to look for flaws in your programming was fun.

I wish there was a website where you could order japanese games for the american region. Instead of them shipping over millions of copies and not selling them, they should take orders and only ship over a limited amount to cover all the people who asked for it.

I am sad for all the people who never get to play a carnage heart game. Luckily I own CH for ps1 and can play it whenever I want but I would do anything to get my hands on one of the newer versions.

CarnageHeart
CarnageHeart

I hope Carnage Heart PSP makes its way Stateside, though I'm not holding my breath.

Surllio
Surllio

wow, I still have my carnage heart...somewhere. CH was a tough game to get into, and hopefully, another incarnation of it will surface in the states, but its doubtful.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

I remember this game!!! My cousin had it and didn't know how to play. I'd love to see a new one, but not on the psp. You might disagree (especially since th first one was on the PS), but this one would be much better suited on the DS.

John_of_Fire
John_of_Fire

Talk about bringing back a game for the 'hard core' gamer. Most people never heard of this title and or the company that made it. This game was great for mech strategy buffs. The people who got into this game LOVED it. I am amazed some one dug this back up. This beats out Rygar for being the most obscure aged title to get a sequel. Hopefully people will be able to realize how great this IP is. PS I would love to get a Aquanauts Holiday sequel. It would look great on the new systems. Now I need to get back to building a tower to the sun out of elephant tusks.

jorjuela
jorjuela

This is the game that got me really, really addicted to strategy games. There were like giant grid maps that you had to conquer. Basically, you programmed your OKEs with anything from move forward, scan 30 meters, If no enemy move forward/ if enemy fire primary or secondary weapons to something about 50 times more complicated than that set of basic commands. Of course, you could also upgrade your OKE with heavier armour, weapons, and other stuff. You would then just send them out in groups of threes and they would battle it out with the enemy for the control of the grid maps and the command points on the map. It was really, really fun, and it was also really involved. Of course, you were not allowed to create such elegant programs from the get go, unless you could afford chips that allowed for many, many commands, so you had to settle for smaller simpler commands. A friend of mine who also really liked the game had some serious programs going on and he would almost always wreck my best programmed OKEs. Still, if you can devote a good amount of time, I would recommend picking this up on Ebay or something. I have not used my copy in years, but I do remember the fun it was. It used huge blocks of memory if I remember correctly. Anyway, PSP fiends should rejoice!

theshoveller
theshoveller

I remember my friend telling me about this game. He said it was a bit of a strategy a la Command & Conquer, with a bit of a programming twist. If I remember right, he said the way you program your robots to fight and their actions on the field was dependent upon a minigame you played to program the unit's AI. It sounded pretty cool but I never got to see it in action, as he had it stolen from him (along with a bunch of other old cool games) about a year and a half before I knew him. I think this could do really well in a portable market, and I really hope it comes out in America.

hemakm3
hemakm3

Dont remember the ps game either.

JoeF
JoeF

Maybe they could bring back Aquanaut's Holiday and Beyond the Beyond now, too...

Zelly123
Zelly123

Wow....I remember that game...was like the 2nd game i got when the PS came out =P I didnt really figure it out but 2 of my classmates back then loved the game =P + I heard its really rare now =P

dn3datomiced
dn3datomiced

Anyone who has never played this wouldn't know why it's significant: It's one of the only games I can think of where the object is not to control your mech, but rather program it to become a deadly fighter. It's a game unlike any other.

The_Spoony_Hou
The_Spoony_Hou

I think I heard the name before, but I don't care about strategy games, so whatever.

daqua_99
daqua_99

I have never heard of this game ...

blackIceJoe
blackIceJoe

Same never heard of it.But it most have done pretty good in Japan to see a new game on the PSP.

DanC1989
DanC1989

Am I alone in saying that I don't know anything about this game? :P