E3 2008: Bolt Impressions

We watched an entertaining episode of this upcoming canine action game.

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Bolt is a daring dog of action, and we saw his upcoming game of the same name at E3 2008. If you haven't heard of him, he's the canine star of an upcoming animated film from Disney. Now, in the movie, he's a regular dog who plays an action star on TV. But because he's a dog--and dogs aren't that smart--he doesn't realize he isn't really super and gets into all sorts of adorable shenanigans. Most dogs think they're people; Bolt thinks he's Super People. Well, the game will be different because you'll be playing through episodes of the television show as viewed by a hamster named Rhino. So when you play as Bolt, you'll get to use all of his formidable powers.

The level on display at E3 took place at an Italian mansion, but before we got to step into the furry paws of our favorite four-legged hero, we got to play as his human sidekick: a little girl dressed in an outfit like Sam Fisher's--but cuter. The girl's gameplay will focus on stealth and the traversal of environmental puzzles. To this end, she can employ heat vision (reveals clues, enemies, and usable objects), a wheel stick (lets her quickly travel along ledges and up crevices), and invisibility (for a limited time only). She can also dispatch enemies with smoke bombs, and if things get up close and personal, she's a powerful pugilist.

Once she'd traveled along the rooftops, slinked through the shadows, and bushwhacked a small gathering of guards, the gameplay switched to Bolt! Whereas the girl was cautious and careful, Bolt is terrifyingly direct and powerful. He was explained as a cross between Superman and a dog, but really, his entire move set seems borrowed from the vorpal bunny in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He doesn't decapitate people, but he flies through the air, ramming into foes' necks, knocking them to the ground and then burning their prostrate bodies with his laser beam eyes. He can quickly bounce between several enemies in a row, just like a rabbit with a mile-wide mean streak. Once he's terrified a sufficient number of enemy henchmen, he can either unleash a devastating earthquake move or just kill everyone at once with his eye lasers.

After clearing the room with one such neon green volley, the mansion wall was blown away to reveal a waiting helicopter gunship. Armed with rockets and a Vulcan cannon, even this war machine was no match for our furry friend. Bullet fire chased the super pooch around the room, but he was always one step ahead. A couple of female ninjas entered the scene to try to slow him down, but he just led them into the line of fire and a quick exit.

The chopper pilot, obviously panicking, sealed his own fate by firing several rockets at Bolt who, thanks to a few quick button prompts, was able to redirect the explosives right at the chopper, demolishing it.

One final interesting detail is that in the world of Bolt, cats are evil. And from what we understand, the lead villain in the game will be a cat named Calico. We don't know what he's up to, but two things are certain. One: Bolt will come out for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2 and Nintendo DS. Two: When it does come out in the fourth quarter of 2008, it will be very good to be a very naughty dog.

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