Arthur and the Invisibles Impressions
We check out Etranges Libellules' upcoming movie-inspired action adventure game at Atari's Spotlight event in Las Vegas.
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Currently scheduled for release in January, Arthur and the Invisibles for the PlayStation 2 is an action adventure game that will closely follow the storyline of the upcoming movie of the same name. In the game, you'll assume the role of Arthur, a boy who gets shrunk to such an extent that he discovers an entire world in his backyard that's too small to be seen by the naked eye. This Land of the Invisibles is inhabited by a race known as the minimoys, and along with your companions Selenia and Bétamèche, you'll be tasked with saving it from certain doom.
Although you'll primarily be playing through the movie's story from the perspective of Arthur, you'll be accompanied at almost all times by Selenia and Bétamèche and will have the option to switch control to them during gameplay. The three characters all have different abilities, so while Arthur is the only one who is able to climb vines, for example, Bétamèche is the only one small enough to crawl through small spaces. Abilities such as these will come into play while you're attempting to solve many of the game's puzzles, and you'll find that the characters are also quite different when in combat since one fights hand to hand, one uses a dagger, and one fires projectiles. The two characters that you're not controlling are capable of looking after themselves, incidentally, but they won't be doing any of your work for you, so whichever character you're controlling in a combat situation will be the one doing the most damage.
The first level that we were shown during our demonstration of Arthur and the Invisibles was set in the middle of Arthur's backyard, and we very quickly got a feel for just how small Arthur is in the game when we realized that we were dwarfed by a discarded safety pin, and even by blades of grass. The action in that level was mostly combat based, while the second level took the form of a 3D platformer that, in places, was quite reminiscent of Tomb Raider: Legend, with Arthur climbing and swinging on vines, and shimmying along ledges. Another of the levels that we got to take a look at was one in which the three characters have become separated. As Arthur, your goal in the level is to race along a river bank and overcome all kinds of obstacles to rescue Selenia and Bétamèche, who are being swept down the river inside an acorn cup. Adding even more variety to the gameplay in Arthur and the Invisibles are levels that take place inside Arthur's house and a number of flying-combat sequences in which you'll ride on the back of a mosquito, shooting at enemies with insect-esque guns and lock-on missiles.
Arthur and the Invisibles looks quite promising right now, and its soft-focus visuals are undoubtedly some of the easiest on the eyes that we've seen on the PS2 in a while. We look forward to bringing you more information on the game as soon as it becomes available.