E3 2002Beach Spikers impressions

Sega's surprisingly addictive beach volleyball game comes home.

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We spent some time with Sega's GameCube conversion of Beach Spikers, AM2's arcade game, which was playable on the E3 show floor. A beach volleyball game with an all-female roster, Beach Spikers was released in arcades last year. The game uses an accessible two-button control scheme that offers a wide variety of moves, much like the control setup found in the Virtua Tennis series. The end result is a very playable and eye-catching game.

For the home conversion of the game, several modes have been added to give it more replay value. You'll be able to select from arcade, world tour, and versus modes. Arcade is a straight conversion of the arcade game, which has you competing in games against various teams around the world. World tour is similar to the mode found in Sega's tennis games--it will let you create your own team of two characters and take them through a series of competitions. It also looks like you'll be able to a earn attributes for your characters, as well as develop your teammate's AI through a mix of encouragement and insults. The versus mode lets you and up to three other friends compete against each other in four-player matches.

Graphically, the game is impressive--the GameCube capably reproduces the arcade game's graphics with detailed character models and arenas. The sound is especially well done, as it deforms and reflects the character's movement on it by leaving trails behind them, as well as many particle effects. Lighting is also done well in the game, especially on stages set at different times of day.

In terms of control, the game offers responsive control and a wider range of moves than you'd think, thanks to context-sensitive moves that are triggered according to a variety of factors. The game is extremely playable and pretty addictive once you get the game's timing down.

Beach Spikers is currently slated to ship this summer for the GameCube. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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