E3 2001 Hands-onRed Faction

We take an updated look at THQ's futuristic action game.


THQ gave us a new look at Volition's futuristic action game, Red Faction. In the game, you assume the role of Parker, a man who leads a revolution in a mining colony on Mars. Parker begins the game with only a small electric prod, designed to keep unruly miners in line, which he managed to wrestle away from a guard. Through the course of the game, you will come across more-powerful weapons that can actually destroy parts of the environment. This feature is made possible by the game's advanced engine, called geo-mod, which lets you destroy anything designated by the developers as destroyable. This includes rock walls, concrete towers, doors, walls, floors, and almost everything else.

Rob Loftus and Reilly Brennan of THQ took us through some of the game's areas and showed us how the terrain deformation can be used in gameplay. The areas we saw included interior corridors and rooms as well as canyon-like exterior areas. When enemies took cover behind boulders or walls, Brennan would just blast away at the rocks or concrete until the enemy was exposed. In addition, Brennan showed us how a guard in a tower could be exposed by blasting away the tower's walls and floor, which caused the guard to fall down to the next level. After most of the tower's support was destroyed, the entire top section of the tower fell to the ground and settled on top of the rubble.

Another interesting use of the geo-mod system is in accessing seemingly inaccessible areas. Brennan took us to an area in a canyon where the player was too short to get on top of a plateau. Rather than give up and go back around the other way, Brennan proceeded to blast his own stairs into the rock using a rocket launcher, then he easily climbed up to the top. Some more obvious uses of the system include blasting through locked doors or expanding small openings to a size large enough to allow passage.

While the single-player story-driven mode will be very similar to that found in the soon-to-be-released version for the PlayStation 2, the PC version of the game will include a new multiplayer mode, which is sure to encourage creative uses of the geo-mod system. The developer hasn't decided on what multiplayer modes to include or how many players the game will support. Loftus did note that the game will have some sort of deathmatch and that the multiplayer modes will be designed to make use of the game's unique physics and terrain deformation systems. According to THQ, Red Faction for the PC is around 40 percent complete, and it is scheduled for release this fall. For more information, be sure to take a look at our in-depth previews of the game.

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