TGS 2005: Bounty Hounds Hands-On

We check out a one-level demo of Namco's futuristic action game for the PSP.

TOKYO-Standing in line to play games at the Tokyo Game Show can be a frustrating experience, particularly if you get to play the game in question for only a fraction of the time that you spent waiting for the opportunity to play it. It's much better, then, when Sony lets you download demos of upcoming PSP games from an automated machine at its booth, which is exactly how we got our hands on Namco's one-level demo for Bounty Hounds.

In Bounty Hounds you'll assume the role of a guy named Maximillian Webb, about whom we know very little, except that in the demo he's tasked with killing 100 enemies in the quickest time possible. The action takes place in a large pentagonal arena where enemies generally attack in waves of 10 or so. The enemies come in several different shapes and sizes, ranging from speedy robots armed with guns to hulking monsters who attempt to pound you with their fists.

Maximillian starts the demo armed with two ranged weapons (a laser-eyed GR and a hound's bazooka) and two melee weapons (a silver star edge sword and an appropriately named lumpy hammer). You'll use the square button to attack with the weapon in your left hand and the circle button to attack with your right, and you're able to swap out weapons on the fly using the right shoulder button.

Other controls in Bounty Hound include using the left shoulder button to swing the camera around behind Maximillian, using the X button to perform special attacks, and hitting up on the D pad to replenish your energy. The early stages of the demo level are made quite easy by the fact that you can essentially replenish your energy at any time, but later on you'll get attacked by so many enemies simultaneously that it's difficult to keep up. The best defence is most definitely a good offence toward the end.

The visuals in Bounty Hounds are adequate rather than impressive, for the most part, although some of the explosions are quite spectacular, and the whole game runs at a silky-smooth frame rate. We'll bring you more information on Bounty Hounds as soon as it becomes available.

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