D2

D2 is currently slated for release during the third quarter of 1999 in Japan, and around the holidays here in the States.


D2 was originally going to launch with the Dreamcast, but delays prevented it. Currently, the game is slated for release during the third quarter of 1999 in Japan, and around the holidays here in the States.

Up until now, a true impression of Warp's epic, D2, was not possible unless you bought Real Sound 2 as an import, which featured the D2 Shock demo. But at Sega's E3 booth, the D2 Shock demo was in place, offering a glimpse of what Eno-san has in mind. Different displays offered the various "challenges" found in the demo. One minigame showcased the first-person shooter mode that Laura (the main character) enters whenever she encounters the enemy. The other demo let gamers ride the snowmobile around the vast white fields of snow in the mountain range where D2 takes place. Lastly, another kiosk played the opening movie that has been featured in numerous articles surrounding D2.

The movie's setting is a snowy mountain area. There is one figure in the snow, walking toward some unknown goal. The figure is hunched over, as if injured. Soon, it becomes obvious that drops of blood are being left along the trail. But oddly enough, the red blood turns green....

Suddenly, we see the interior of a wooden cabin. The cabin is warmed by a fireplace. There is a rocking chair in the room. A woman - Kimberly - sits in the chair. She is looking at a blond woman in a bed. The blond in the bed is the story's protagonist, Laura.

Laura is sleeping, but she is obviously tormented by a nightmare.

Then we find ourselves looking into a star-studded galaxy. In the middle of the galaxy a small light is moving toward us. It turns out that the light is a huge meteor, and it is moving straight toward Earth. When the meteor hits the atmosphere, some strange glow rises from Earth and surrounds it. The meteor is consumed by the glow and begins to disintegrate. A small piece of the meteor manages to break free and enter Earth's atmosphere.

Then we see a computer screen. It turns out to be Laura's laptop we are looking at. She is on an airplane, and she is typing into a journal. It says:

Date: December 25, 1998Location: Over the New Zealanddddddddddddddd

She has fallen asleep. Suddenly, the computer beeps and wakes Laura. Surprised by the sound, she drops various items from her tray table. She is irritated and begins to wipe up spilled orange juice from her skirt. A little girl named Jannie smiles and looks at Laura. A man named David, sitting across the aisle from Laura, picks up her powder compact. We see an inscription that reads: To LAURA, from your mother.

At the same time, we notice a man wearing a hooded garment. He is reciting some sort of charm: Old Wise Man Shadow, Old Wise Man Shadow. A crystal ball on his knee glows red.

And then two male passengers stand up, pull out guns, and open fire. They shout, "Shut up, you people! Soon the Old Wise Man Shadow will show up." The passengers are struck with terror.

After several gunshots and fatalities, Laura's compact starts to glow in an unnatural way. David opens it and sees in its mirror the small piece of meteor coming toward the airplane.

David stands up, quickly takes Laura's hand and runs. The airplane is struck by a meteor. It crashes into a snowy mountain.

Back to Laura - waking up in the bed in the lodge. We know now she is tortured by the nightmare of the crash. Kimberly stands up and walks toward Laura. At that moment, someone breaks into the lodge. It is one of the men who opened fire in the airplane in Laura's dream.

Kimberly picks up a shotgun and aims at him. But the man suddenly produces some sort of weird material from within his body. It looks like vines and leaves. It is as if a plant had burst out from his body. Kimberly shoots at the material several times, but it doesn't die.

The movie ends here.

The gameplay in D2 is nicely varied over several mechanics: third-person adventure, first-person shooting, and... snowmobiling. The third-person sections are similar in style to Resident Evil. You move the character around in a 3D outdoor environment and investigate your surrounding. Alien/human hybrids will pop up out of the snow and attack, and then the perspective flips into a first-person target sighting until you wipe them all out. Another first-person moment occurred within the remnants of the crashed plane. A creature smashes itself back against a section of wall in the front of the plane, bursts a tentacle out of its midsection, picks you up, and proceeds to bash you against one wall and then the other. You have to fire at it repeatedly while being bounced around, which is no easy feat and a great variation on the standard fare. The snowmobiling part didn't really have a lot to it at this point. Perhaps if creatures were chasing you, it'd be a bit more engaging.

The graphics in both the story scenes and gameplay for this game are fantastic. You have to hand it to Laura. All these crazy things keep happening to her (meteor hits plane, shape-changing aliens attack, and so on), and somehow her hair always stays perfect.

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