E3 2002: Wolverine preshow report

Activision demos the long-awaited Wolverine game.

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Just a few weeks ago, Activision demonstrated the upcoming Wolverine game, which is currently under development for all three current console platforms. The game puts players in the role of the deadly feral superhero, in a quest to uncover the nature of and subsequently eradicate a terminal virus he's been infected with. It will ultimately lead you to the Weapon X research facility that gave birth to the superhero, and you'll have to track down the scientists responsible for programming the virus into Wolverine's body. All the events will unfold throughout eight discrete levels that will seemingly be composed of light exploration elements and heavy doses of combat.

The PS2 version of the game is being jointly developed by Warthog Entertainment and a studio called GenePool, while the Xbox and GameCube ports will be handled entirely by the latter. During the press demo, we saw Wolverine dispatch group after group of heavily armed guards in a variety of ways. A number of combo routines were displayed, all of which were radically different. Some had Wolverine hacking and kicking on the ground, while others had him leaping in the air and performing all sorts of drill slashes and drop kicks. Still others had him leaping onto enemies for vicious grapples. There will be a lock-on system that will allow you to focus your attacks on a single target while maintaining mobility, though it was apparent that you'll also be able to attack enemies behind you while locked on to a particular enemy. Wolverine's heightened senses will also come into play in the game. In one sequence, the producer demonstrating the game activated the power in order to locate a visual clue--a footprint on the ground. When the heightened senses are activated, a heavily stylized visual effect permeates the environment, causing everything to glow with a fuzzy infrared light and tracing the outlines of characters with dark, pulsating lines.

We also got to see one of the game's boss battles play out near the end of the demo. It pitted Wolverine against the evil mutant Juggernaut, and the battle was highly reminiscent of the fight against Rhino in Neversoft's original Spider-Man game. Wolverine had to goad the charging Juggernaut in the direction of various solid objects scattered throughout the environment in order to stun him. When he was stunned, Wolverine would proceed to jump onto his shoulders and hack at his exposed face. The battle's climax saw the popular and heroic metal-skinned mutant called Colossus walk into the shot in order to aid Wolverine with the final blow. He did this by taking the stocky mutant into his arms and hurling him toward the stunned Juggernaut--a move popularized in the comic series as the "fastball special."

The producer from GenePool alluded to differences in the Xbox and GameCube ports of Wolverine, though no specifics were mentioned. We'll have more info on this one for you from the show floor once E3 begins.

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