Demento First Look

Capcom shows off a brand-new game that's big on fear.


TOKYO--In the wake of Capcom's recent unveiling of a teaser site for a mysterious game, the developer actually revealed the new title at the Tokyo Game Show this week. Demento is the name of the upcoming game, which will be a horror-themed adventure game similar in spirit to 2003's disturbing Clock Tower 3. However, rather than cast you as a helpless female on the run from a large, destructive brute, Demento seems to play out like a mystery, wherein you'll be trying to figure out how you've been trapped on a mysterious island with a freakishly large weirdo intent on scaring the bejesus out of you and/or killing you.

While the game was not shown in playable form, a lengthy trailer that showed off more of the setup was running on the Capcom stage. Your role as the lovely young lady is outlined as we see her wake up nude and go about her business once she collects some clothes. After a montage showing her exploring the island and discovering that something is amiss, we meet the first of the large freaks that will cause her some trouble. This first encounter doesn't go as smoothly as your average meet and greet, which is how you'll end up in jail. However, before you think Capcom is working on the world's first female prison sim, the woman is discovered by a dog who appears to be working toward the canine ideal of being "man's best friend." Once the woman is freed from prison and starts exploring, you'll have to watch your step, as the area you'll be poking around is chock-full of danger.

In addition to the various cinematic sequences, most of which were shown apparently running in real time using the game's 3D engine, the trailer for Demento showed off a number of gameplay sequences. The main reason for our Clock Tower comparisons is immediately evident here, as the majority of the gameplay revolves around not being seen by or otherwise avoiding one of the large Deliverance-style yokels who seem to want nothing more than to throttle you. The montage of sequences shows off a variety of actions you'll be able to perform to this end, such as hiding behind a door in the shadows or simply running down a flight of stairs with a yokel in hot pursuit.

The big twist to all the above is the presence of the dog that freed you from your initial bind. Sequences that show the four-legged critter helping you out are peppered throughout the trailer, leading us to believe that Rover will definitely be on hand to provide some assistance. The segments with the dog run the gamut from shots of the pooch following behind the young woman, to action sequences in which he unblocks a door so that the young woman can enter, to sequences in which the dog is being praised, to scenes of him attacking the brute chasing his lady friend. We're not sure exactly how this mechanic is going to play out--whether these sequences will be a mix of canned and real-time moments such as how Shadow the dog was used in Namco's shooter Dead to Rights, or something else. At the very least, the dog's presence certainly puts a new wrinkle on the time-honored "young girl in jeopardy" scenario.

The visuals in the trailer showcase a powerful-looking graphics engine that renders detailed character models that animate smoothly, along with detailed environments. While most of the locales we saw in the trailer featured small, claustrophobic spaces, the settings seemed to work very well with the premise. The visual package was naturally topped off with a good helping of disturbing imagery and some good old-fashioned shocks. The audio we heard in the game complemented the trailer well, with melodramatic music and plenty of voice acting from all involved--including the dog.

While we weren't able to play Demento, the trailer gave us an impressive and unsettling taste of what the upcoming game will offer. We have to admit we're intrigued by the lady-and-dog premise and eagerly await the chance to see firsthand just how it works. Until then, check out the trailer for yourself. For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of Tokyo Game Show 2004.

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