E3 06: Necro-Nesia Hands-On

Even the Wii can do survival horror. We give this bug-infested forest romp from Spike a try at E3.

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LOS ANGELES--Among the Marios and Zeldas of Nintendo's lavish Wii display at E3 is a single demo kiosk for Necro-Nesia, a new survival horror game from developer Spike. Unlike some of the other Wii games we've seen, which seem to have been designed specifically for the controller from the ground up, this one played more like a typical game, with the Wii remote functions sort of shoehorned in. But still, every good console needs a survival horror game, so the Wii's got that covered, at least.

The demo at E3 dropped us in the middle of a dark forest at night, armed with a flashlight, a pile of stones, and a big stick. A minimap in the lower corner showed us where we needed to head next--but en route, we kept running into bugs. Bugs! Those are creepy. First it wasn't that bad, since we initially encountered only a swarm of relatively small beetle-like insects that ran around on the ground nearby. If we stood too long in the swarm, the bugs would climb up all over us and start doing damage, and an onscreen indicator showed that we had to shake the Wii controller back and forth to shake the bugs off.

However, our next obstacle--a gigantic praying mantis--was a lot more daunting. For this we had to arm ourselves with the stick, and swinging it at the creature was an ostensibly simple matter of holding the B trigger on the Wii remote and making a swinging motion. Unfortunately, more often than not, this caused us to do a dive-roll move that at least got us out of harm's way, but didn't exactly advance our goal of killing the mantis. From what we could tell, the game was simply particular about the arc and force of our swing, so it took a lot of trial and error to figure out how to perform the attack consistently.

We'll admit that Necro-Nesia didn't seem to be pushing the Wii hardware as hard as some of the other games we saw, like Super Mario Galaxy. However, if Spike can come up with some more innovative ways of integrating the controller's motion-sensing features into the gameplay--and we think there are quite a few possibilities in a survival-horror-style game like this--Necro-Nesia could turn out to be an interesting addition to the Wii lineup. Stay tuned for more on the game as we get it.

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