At the Leipzig Games Convention 2007, Midway showed two new levels of its upcoming shooter, BlackSite: Area 51, which got us even more excited for its November 5 ship date. The first level was called Rachel because it took place in the suburbs of Rachel, Nevada. According to the briefing, it's also an epicenter in the conflict among man, altered soldier, and alien beast.
In case you aren't familiar with BlackSite's premise, a team stumbles upon alien technology on a routine weapons search in Iraq. Meanwhile, the US government has been experimenting on human beings as part of a creepy supersoldier project. The experiments get loose, unleash the weird alien organisms found in Iraq, and lash out against the shady government, as well as the society that cost them their humanity.
And they're really lashing out with a vengeance in the backyards of Rachel, Nevada. As the level opens, a scared child regards you and your cohorts from an open fence. But as you draw near, he's nabbed and spirited away by a monstrous enemy. From there, you shoot up a bunch of deformed enemies before running up a slide and into another backyard. Here, a frightened civilian pulls a gun on you before informing you that he's up to his neck in...but he never finishes the sentence because the house behind him rumbles, a giant worm/snake/alien beast emerges from his living room, and eats him whole. Then the creature begins spitting exploding globs of phlegm, which you must hit with grenades and shoot to end its particular invasion once and for all.
While the boss was cool, and the gameplay in BlackSite is always a treat, it was interesting to see such a mundane setting in a first-person shooter. And we mean mundane in a good way. Most studios set their games in utterly unbelievable locals or foreign theaters of war far away from the cares of everyday life. But not BlackSite; here, you literally face the menace in your own backyard for a truly unique blend of the unearthly and the everyday.
However, there was nothing everyday about the next stage we saw, where a giant, angry beetle known as a Fire Brute was taking on an entire army of soldiers. The beetle lived up to its name with its fiery death ray, which could cut through most cover and blow up walls with its brute size. This thing was bigger than a McDonalds and nearly as hazardous to your health. To defeat it, our presenter ran through a bombed-out building and grabbed a rocket launcher from the rubble because the beast blasted lasers through the windows and walls. The effect on the laser looks so good, by the way, you almost want it to hit you. With the launcher, our player hid until the bug was distracted and he could line up a shot at the vulnerable spot on its back. After three well-placed rockets, the mighty beetle finally fell, ending the level.
While these are just two snapshots from a game worth at least a thousand pictures (and who knows how many words), BlackSite is shaping up to be one of the hottest shooters of the holiday season. With two-player cooperative play, online multiplayer, and a cool blend of reality with science fiction elements, we're looking forward to several close encounters with BlackSite when it ships on November 5.