E3 2002Vexx impressions

The star of Acclaim's mascot-driven platformer shows his stuff on multiple platforms.

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Along with Turok: Evolution, Vexx is being pushed hard by Acclaim at this year's show. A non-partner-based 3D platformer, there's nothing immediately obvious that Vexx does that many other games haven't already done before. After playing the available demos, there doesn't really seem to be anything new here, save the "edgy" character himself.

A diminutive impish creature with claws, Vexx looks something like the product of an unholy union between Soul Reaver's Raziel and Ben Stiller. We were able to take the little guy through two environments: one was a typical multilevel green field on a sunny day, and the other was a clockwork lava level filled with lava and difficult jumps. To navigate these areas, Vexx uses a tried-and-true (but rather stale) set of moves, relying on three primary buttons. High jumps, long jumps, and other standard maneuvers will get you around with few hitches.

Attacking enemies can be done in a variety of ways, but there's not much that Mario, Sonic, and Maximo haven't seen. Pushing the attack button a few times results in a three-hit combo, which sends opponents into the air for more punishment. An uppercut move performed while crouching will also get your foes airborne. Once they're aloft, a standard jump attack will kick an enemy higher into the air, and you can continue to juggle the helpless critters for your amusement. A downward energy attack functions as a butt-stomp, rounding out your arsenal.

There is some story present, and it serves as an introduction to individual sections, but gameplay seems to be completely focused on getting through levels and collecting any items you can find. The actual levels are reminiscent of any number of 3D platformers that came before it, and the game features the same camera problems that the genre has carried since it was created. As can be expected, the GameCube and Xbox versions looked markedly better than the PS2 version, but each version seems identical otherwise.

The only thing that sets Vexx apart so far is a somewhat dark atmosphere and design, but one that certainly comes with a nightlight. It may be a shade less "Saturday-morning cartoonish" than similar games, but at this point, it doesn't look like the game offers even a shred of real originality or innovation.

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