Catwoman Hands-On

We sharpen our claws on the PS2 version of this upcoming action game.

Catwoman is poised to claw her way onto the silver screen very soon, and likewise, EA's sexy actioner based on that film is about to slink onto store shelves. We recently were able to go paws-on with the PS2 version of this title and check out some of the moves and abilities of this stylish, feline-favoring thief.

Halle Berry provides the videogame voice for Catwoman.

The game introduces you to the sleek cat burglar and her wily techniques by starting you right off with a heist in progress, where Catwoman gets to hone her skills on a small group of leather-clad rival criminals. The game is broken up into many such story instances, called scenes, and each scene offers a number of objectives for you to complete in the form of various types of moves. Completing your move objectives is optional, though success will earn you bonus points at the end of a scene along with other combat bonuses. You can also collect "bling fragments" and diamonds that let you purchase new moves, and you can earn unlockables, like comics, as well.

The control scheme in the game is rather unique, as you'll be using the right analog stick instead of the controller's four face buttons to pull off attacks. From a normal standing position, flicking the right analog stick will cause you to snap your whip in that direction. You can hold the L1 button to crouch, and it's from this position that Catwoman executes her vicious capoeira-style kicks, also controlled with the right stick. The crouching position also has other benefits; not only can you run about on all fours and squeeze through tight places, but if you continue to hold the L1 button and run toward a vertical surface, you can then also use your claws and climb right up the wall for a distance. The R1 button lets you jump nimbly about, and if you're caught in a narrow spot between two walls, you can first climb and then use the R1 button to jump off the wall to higher ground. You'll also be able to cling to things, like mesh and chain-link fences, lending you more ways to give the cops the slip.

In combat, you can direct Catwoman's kicks to send your enemies flying into objects in the environment. In our first mission, we were able to effortlessly boot unsuspecting people into cabinetry, dumpsters, and through (formerly) closed doors to clear our path. The whip can be used in numerous ways to attack enemies, disarm them, or interact with the environment. You can use the whip to snatch objects ordinarily out of reach, as well as to catch onto certain areas and swing over obstacles. Catwoman has other powers as well; you can depress the circle button to enter a special cat's-eye view mode that lets you do things like scent-track other creatures.

You use the right analog stick to attack in any direction with your whip.

The game looks good, with some nice and gritty urban environments that give a cat a lot of places to explore. Catwoman herself is, of course, carefully rendered in all her skimpy glory with good detail and fluid motion. The game makes good use of lighting effects on the character as well; she often sports a soft glow, subtly limned in light by glistening leather. As advertised, if you allow Catwoman to linger out of combat too long, the camera will zoom in for a slow-panning, eye-candy fest featuring key anatomical regions. Halle Berry provides what seems like a solid voice- acting job from what we've seen, though the game's less about chatting and more about action.

Catwoman seems to be shaping up to be a nice companion to the motion picture, and an interesting action game with some unique twists. If you're eager to get your cat burglar on, you won't have to wait long--the game is due out on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, GameBoy Advance, and PC before the end of the month. Stay tuned to GameSpot for further updates.

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