Gen Con 2002Alter Echo impressions

We get a look at Outrage's upcoming third-person action game for the PS2.

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At this year's Gen Con convention, THQ was on hand with the PlayStation 2 version of its upcoming PS2 and Xbox action game, Alter Echo. The game is currently in development at Descent 3 creator Outrage Games, and will let players take control of a character named Nevin, who wears a bright-orange experimental suit of armor known as the PolySuit. The PolySuit lets Nevin "morph" into three different forms by pressing the trigger buttons at the top of the controller. Nevin starts the game in melee mode by default, in which he's of roughly normal (cartoon) proportions, and wields a glowing sword that he can use to hack at his enemies using a simple combination-attack system. Nevin can also morph into stealth mode, which turns him into a squat, four-legged creature that can climb up certain walls and sneak past enemies. Finally, Nevin can change into gun mode, which turns him into a hulking, top-heavy mech-like creature with a front-mounted cannon that launches glowing charges at his enemies that explode on contact, or after a few seconds after landing on the ground.

Nevin can also step into glowing, transparent nodes to enter time dilation mode, in which all action in the game pauses. The entire screen blurs and distorts, and Nevin is presented with a series of symbols that represent different buttons to press in sequence, much like a dance/rhythm game. If Nevin can successfully complete a sequence, he'll perform a powerful combination attack on his nearest enemies--this will become crucial in larger fights when Nevin is surrounded by ten or more enemies.

Though the version we saw was only about 30% complete, Alter Echo looks surprisingly good even at this point--the game's cartoon-like character models are well-proportioned and have a distinctively odd, bulgy look to them (many of them have throbbing veins textured onto their limbs), and look well-formed and barely jaggy at all. The game moves at a consistent frame rate, even with three or four enemies onscreen with Nevin, though it remains to be seen how well the game will do with more. Alter Echo is currently scheduled for release on the PS2 and Xbox next spring.

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