E3 06: El Matador Hands-On

Red Mile and Plastic Reality will release a new third-person shooter with impressive graphics and a bunch of drug kingpins.

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LOS ANGELES--Czech developer Plastic Reality was kind enough to show us its new third-person PC shooter, El Matador, at E3. The game supposes there's an avalanche of cocaine coming out of South America--which may not be far from the truth--and casts you as a federal agent bearing the eponymous code name and single-handedly tasked with heading south of the equator and taking down these evil narc barons one by one.

El Matador was described by one Red Mile rep as a cross between Far Cry and Max Payne, and that was our impression as well. The Far Cry influence comes in with the lush tropical setting, which was split between humid jungle scenery and lavish estates bought with mountains of drug money. There will be a bullet time-style ability whereby you can slow down time for a brief period, much like you've seen in Max Payne, and you can also perform a slow-motion shooting dive similar to that game's. There were literally dozens of weapons available in the demo we tried, from pistols and submachine guns to M-16s, AK-47s, and even a gatling gun. One interesting mechanic lets you bounce your shots off of metal surfaces, so you could theoretically ricochet around a corner to take out a bad guy, if your aim is good enough.

Plastic Reality has developed a pretty impressive-looking engine for El Matador, which supports real-time shadowing, HDR lighting, and a host of other nice effects. The game will purportedly last between 10 and 12 hours, spread out over 16 levels. Red Mile says there may be a next-gen console version slated for release later, though for now El Matador is bound for the PC only.

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