E3 2008: SPRay First Impressions

We watch Spirited Prince Ray and his two fluid-spewing alter egos adventure through a fantastical kingdom beset by an evil queen.

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When you see someone with a demonic creature above one shoulder and an angelic creature above the other, you might expect to hear those creatures spouting contradictory advice in an effort to influence their host. In SPRay, those two hovering creatures are definitely demonic and angelic, but they spend their time spewing liquid instead of words. We took a trip to Tecmo's E3 2008 booth, watched the multicolored spouting in action, and learned about how Ray uses their abilities in his adventure.

Ray lives in a kingdom that is beset by an evil queen. She summons antimatter demons who coat the medieval landscape with a thick, black tar. If Ray falls in this muck, he'll lose health and the player will have to frantically wave the remote and Nunchuk to help his creature buddies free him. These creatures are Ray's alter egos, and they are used predominantly in the puzzle platforming action of SPRay. Ray does have a sword that he can use to vanquish foes, but he'll usually have to soften them up with some sort of spray attack. Directing these is as simple as pointing the Wii Remote where you want to spew and letting loose.

The sinister-looking creature on his shoulder appears as a small, rotund beast with tiny bat wings. His basic attack is an orange vomit that he can use as often as he likes to damage enemies and cover over the sticky black antimatter. His other attacks, which draw on a limited resource pool, include a green sticky slime and the very same black antimatter that Ray seeks to eliminate. These liquids can be sprayed on horizontal and vertical surfaces alike, and they remain there until sprayed over. We watched as a member of the development team sprayed the sticky green goo on a wall, jumped onto it and was stuck, suspended upside-down. He then jumped again and was able to reach an area that was previously inaccessible. He did the same thing with a windmill arm and was carried up to the top of the structure. Note that you don't start out with all of these fluids; you gain them as you progress through missions and stages.

Ray's angelic alter ego looks like a blue-and-white crystalline fairy, and she appears to spray her unique fluids magically rather than delve them up from her intestinal tract. Her basic element is water, and she later gains an ice spray that lets Ray travel at a faster speed, a la Iceman from the X-Men. All of these spraying abilities let Ray navigate a variety of puzzle challenges. Each of the six stages will have six missions each, though passing every mission won't be necessary to complete the stage. Gaining new abilities will grant Ray access to new areas and new challenges.

SPRay also features a four-player mode that lets you cut loose on your friends and spew to your heart's delight. From what we saw it looks like SPRay will offer a unique take on the puzzle-platforming genre, and we're looking forward to seeing more ways in which the spray mechanic is implemented. Tecmo is aiming for a holiday 2008 release, and we'll keep you updated with the latest in the intervening months.

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