E3 2002: Farscape impressions

We go hands-on with Simon & Schuster's isometric action game based on the popular Sci-Fi Channel TV show.

Simon & Schuster Interactive's Farscape is a team-based action adventure game based on the popular Jim Henson Studios show, which is currently in its fourth season. The game features many of the characters from the show, all played by their original actors.

The game is played from a third-person isometric perspective, and while players can zoom in closer using the 3D camera, chances are that they'll wind up playing it from a fair distance back, giving it a 3D Diablo feel.

Like the show, the game is all about cooperation. Players will control up to three members of the cast at any given time (from a total pool of six playable characters) and will use them in tandem to progress through action areas using each character's special skills to make their way through others.

When you're not engaged in combat, you can make your way to a shop and trade and purchase new items and weapons. Despite this, we were told that the game is most definitely not an RPG, and the overwhelming majority of the gameplay will be much closer to that of a traditional third-person action game.

There are some fun twists on this as well, which tie into the various attributes of the show's characters. The character Rigel XVI, for example, is significantly smaller than the others. While on the one hand this makes him ideal for moving quietly into small areas, it means he's physically weak when put up against larger opponents. As a result, the player will need to protect him at all costs.

Simon & Schuster Interactive was given a good amount of leeway in the design of Farscape, and it has used this to create plenty of new additions to the universe. While many of the weapons and locations will seem instantly familiar to regular watchers of the show, there are a great deal of new alien races to see--as many as 16.

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