E3 2002: Vexx preshow report

The upcoming 3D action adventure game from Acclaim's Austin studio will be on display at E3.

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Vexx is Acclaim's upcoming mascot-driven action adventure game, and it has been under development in its Austin studio for three years now. It's an action platformer at heart, though what we've seen of it has made it clear that a fairy heavy emphasis has been placed on combat. The game takes place on the planet of Astara, which is home to a once proud but now ruined civilization. In an Astaran town called Rockhaven, some of the broken world's denizens toil to rebuild some semblance of civilization. But one day, the dread shadowraith, Dark Yabu, descends from the heavens, and, along with his minions, attacks and enslaves the townfolk, putting them to work in the mines beneath their settlement.

Enter Vexx. The young Astani witnessed his grandfather's death at the hands of Dark Yabu, but somehow managed to escape with his life. Once aboard one of Dark Yabu's flying airships, he begins to plot his revenge. Somewhere along the way, Vexx will gain access to a pair of Astani battle gauntlets, powerful weapons that his race has wielded against encroachers on many occasions. Thus armed, Vexx will have to find his way to the Landspire, a monolithic natural occurrence on which Dark Yabu dwells, in order to defeat the him and bring salvation to the Astani people.

The game will feature 18 levels, including environments such as treetop villages, caves, desert ruins, active volcanoes, underwater cities, and the like. Vexx must make use of his climbing skills to traverse some of the game's environments, and the game will facilitate the use of this gameplay mechanic by means of a "free-climbing mode." We're not quite sure how it'll work, but it'll purportedly allow Vexx to clear uneven surfaces and dangle precariously from overhangs. The worlds themselves, à la Jak and Daxter, will load seamlessly, and you'll be able to see distant level geometry from any point in a given world. They'll go through day and night cycles as well, and the light will change dynamically. Nightfall, further, will change the way certain elements in the game's environments will behave, and it will make certain enemies more ferocious. As completion of some puzzles will purportedly be dependent on the time of day, the designers will hide sundials throughout the game's worlds that will allow you to manually change the time of day.

Acclaim is also promising that Vexx will be a graphically impressive game. Real-time environment mapping will be implemented into certain key surfaces--such as Vexx's shin guards and gauntlets--and some kind of dynamics system will dictate the way certain objects behave, including trees, hair, and cloth.

Be sure to check back with us once E3 starts for hands-on impressions of Vexx, as it'll be on display at Acclaim's booth. For more information now, check out our previous coverage of the game.

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