Fur Fighters Preview

They're furry, they're cute, and they're armed. The cast of Fur Fighters is a mean bunch of gun-toting critters.

Acclaim's upcoming third-person shooter for the Dreamcast stars a bunch of little cute furry critters that are all armed to the hilt with heavy-duty weaponry that they seriously know how to handle. Developed by Bizarre Creations, the game can best be described as "Jet Force Gemini meets the Muppets."

The storyline is simple: An evil general by the name of Viggo, who was once defeated by the peaceful people of the Fur Fighter's village, has returned for revenge. In doing so, he kidnaps the families of our six furry heroes. Needless to say, this leaves you with the task of guiding the fur fighters in an attempt to rescue their families and, once and for all, put a stop to the evil general.

Who are our heroes? A group that can be considered the A-Team of animals. Here's the roster: Bungalow, a happy high-jumping kangaroo; Rico, a gung-ho penguin; Chang, a red panda who's extremely proficient in the areas of science and strategy; Roofus, an old dog with a gruff demeanor; Juliette, a frisky feline who is a supreme warrior; and Tweek, a day-old dragon who wants his siblings back. Of course, aside from being cute, each fur fighter has a unique and easily recognizable skill, which you must master to reach areas that other members of the team can't. For example, Bungalow can jump a lot higher than the other fur fighters, on the account of being a kangaroo and all and can therefore access ledges and other platforms elevated beyond the others' reach.

In addition to their skills, the Fur Fighters can use high-powered weaponry to blast enemies, who will try to take you out as you make your way through levels. Even the enemies you fight are cute, which just adds to the unique brand of humor that the game employs. In addition to blasting enemies and figuring out which fur fighter has the best ability for a particular area, you must solve traditional puzzles, such as activating switches, as well as more complex puzzles that require thought, exploration, and skill.

In addition to the game's main single-player mode the developers have included a two-player deathmatch mode. In the version we played, the deathmatch mode felt a little too much like playing tag, instead of like a fierce battle. One way the developers are thinking about improving the multiplayer mode is to increase it from two to four players. Although this is still being decided, we certainly hope that the final game does include the four-player ability.

Visually, Fur Fighters is extremely sharp, and it uses a variety of special lighting effects that really give the game an amazingly vivid look. The game really looks like a 3D cartoon - that's how good the characters and environments look. When you're walking around the cartoon-style city and you see one of the cute bad guys jump out with a gun and you blow him to pieces, it's quite comical - not in a bad way, but in the Itchy and Scratchy kind of fun way.

In any case, Fur Fighters certainly seems to be well on its way to becoming a solid Dreamcast title. We are all excited to see how the final version of the game fleshes out. It is currently scheduled for release in late March or early April.

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