It's tough to keep a good cartoon franchise down. While we haven't seen much of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes gang since the last generation of video game consoles was released, that's about to change with the upcoming Looney Tunes ACME Arsenal, a fast-paced third-person action game that features some of the biggest names from the Merry Melodies bunch. We had a chance to check out the various weapons in the ACME Arsenal during some hands-on time with the game straight from the floor of Comic-Con 2007.
Though looking for logic in a Looney Tunes plot is about as pointless as wondering why Porky Pig never simply visited a speech pathologist or why Marvin the Martian never turned his planet-destroying attentions to Venus, the storyline in ACME Arsenal goes something like this: The Evil Mad Scientist, in a fit of petulant rage, decides to travel back in time with a trademarked ACME eraser to rub out the ancestors of the Looney Tunes gang from existence. Little does he know that Bugs Bunny and Marvin have constructed a time machine of their own, thus ensuring a race through the timeline to foil the Mad Scientist's diabolical designs.
ACME Arsenal's story mode will take place in nine different locales, each with at least one level per location. Expect to span the globe and the timeline in the game--with stopovers in ancient Egypt (to rescue Pharaoh Bugs) and World War I (where you'll meet Foghorn Leghorn's precursor, Col. Foghorn Leghorn Sr.). The first time you go through the game's story mode, you'll be tied to the pair of characters the game assigns you for each level. If you go through the story mode a second time, you'll be able to pick from any of the unlocked characters in the game, a list that will include such mainstays as Daffy Duck, Bugs, Marvin, and Gossamer. It will also include alternate versions of Looney Tunes favorites, such as Duck Lantern, Daffy Hood, Super Bugs, and Baseball Bugs, among others.
Most of the missions in the game will have you controlling your character from a third-person perspective. You'll encounter multiple enemies per level and can take them down with ranged attacks (using long-distance weapons, such as a chain gun, a rocket launcher, or the always popular boxing-glove-on-a-spring gun). Or you can take the fight up close and personal by using melee attacks. As you might expect, combos will play an important part in the close-quarters combat, and as you defeat enemies, you'll be able to power up your melee weapon. Switching between melee and ranged weapons is seamless. When you aren't firing your ranged attack weapon, you'll be holding your melee weapon and will be ready to throw down at the press of a button.
It won't all be run-and-gun in ACME Arsenal; the game will also include three racing levels, including our favorite mission, which starred Foghorn Leghorn and the Tazmanian Devil. In it, they rode tandem in a two-seater motorcycle as they ran through the battlefields of World War I, dodging enemy robots and jumping sandbags in a mad dash to the end of the level. Toward the end of the level, the camera position switches from a behind-the-back view to a side view, as the pair are racing down a dock that's being quickly broken apart by a huge, rampaging enemy submarine. It's fun stuff and should make for a nice change of pace from the running and shooting that comprises many of the game's more standard missions.
In addition to the aforementioned story mode, which can be played either single-player or in two-player cooperative style over Xbox Live, the game will have a multiplayer battle mode. Sadly, the battle mode will only be for players on the same Xbox 360, but with loads of different weapon types on hand, it makes for quick pick-up-and-play action. In our experience, melee combat wasn't nearly as effective as the ranged weapons, but we suspect the development team behind the game will still have some time to balance that our before the game ships in mid-September. We'll have a full review of the game once it reaches store shelves, so stay tuned.