El Matador Impressions

This gritty new third-person game will let you take down South American drug lords as a DEA agent out for revenge.

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Despite its title, El Matador isn't a game about bullfighting. Instead, this third-person action game from Cenega and developer Plastic Reality promises to be a gritty adventure as you battle as a DEA agent out to take down the drug lord responsible for your brother's death. We recently had a chance to check out El Matador for the first time during London Games Week.

Plastic Reality's previous game was Korea: Forgotten Conflict, a Commandos-style, top-down infiltration game that had a beautiful graphics engine. We mention this because El Matador uses an enhanced version of the Korea engine, but this time it's modified to make it work for a third-person action game.

The game takes place in South America, and the graphics engine is capable of rendering urban, industrial, and jungle environments that look quite good. Even better, the game also has a robust physics engine that lets you knock over all sorts of objects with gunfire. And El Matador has excellent rag-doll implementation, so when you shoot a bad guy in the knee, his body buckles convincingly, or if you nail an enemy standing on a cliff's edge, his body will tumble down realistically.

You'll only be able to control your character, though you can recruit teammates who will follow your orders. There's a wide range of realistic weapons in the game, and missions will feature a combination of both stealth gameplay and action. For example, you may have to infiltrate enemy territory to approach a safe house but then assault it in order to rescue a prisoner.

El Matador looks promising at this point, though the game still has a ways to go. Cenega hopes to show a playable version of the game at E3 2005, and the scheduled release is for October of next year.

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