Drake Updated Impressions

We play a one-level demo of Idol FX's stylized action shooter.

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Drake of the 99 Dragons
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Majesco recently let us play through one level of Drake, a comic book-style action shooter in production at Swedish development house Idol FX, and we got a feel for the basic mechanics of the game. Drake's eponymous main character is a former member of the 99 Dragons, a Hong Kong crime organization that has recently been obliterated by its rivals. Though the entire clan has been murdered, Drake is mysteriously resurrected in order to seek out a sacred artifact that was stolen from his clan. The game has you playing as Drake, utilizing his undead powers as he battles hordes of enemies, seeks the lost artifact, and becomes embroiled in a larger, sinister plot.

Idol FX says that it envisioned Drake as the result of an imaginary collaboration between famed Hong Kong action director John Woo and Batman: The Animated Series artist Bruce Timm, and from what we've seen of the game so far, the team has created a game that captures these two styles effectively. Drake's stylized look is enhanced by what the dev team calls "rim light shading," which is a technique that combines cel shading and environment mapping to give the game characters a cartoonlike feel with more depth than simple cel shading alone. The environments that we saw were all overly colorful, larger than life, and generally consistent with the comic book feel of the game.

The gameplay in Drake is fairly simple. In classic John Woo fashion, you can wield a gun in each hand, and the game lets each hand aim independently, thanks to an autotargeting system. You can switch weapons in each hand as well, so you'll end up with combinations like a revolver and a machine gun or an Uzi and a grenade launcher. Attacking with each hand is controlled with the corresponding trigger, so you can be firing different kinds of weapons in different directions at the same time. Drake also has a stable of Matrix-inspired abilities, such as slowing down or stopping time and running horizontally across walls. Since Drake is undead, he'll have to collect souls from the enemies he kills to stay alive, and if you collect an excess of soul energy, you'll gain access to a few special abilities (none of which were in our demo). Drake plays well so far, and the automatic targeting made it fairly easy to take out enemies as we ran swiftly through the level. The environments feature a degree of interactivity, from windows and beer bottles that you can break to barrels that explode and the like.

The final version of Drake will include 25 missions spread across a wide assortment of environments containing a good number of different enemies. We'll bring you more coverage of the game as it nears completion in the months to come.

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