Extermination Preview

Extermination is Sony's attempt at the survival-horror genre. Filled with shadowy hallways, powerful weapons, and grotesque monsters, Extermination looks like it could marry the classic survival-horror formula with the PS2's graphical muscle.

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Developed by Deep Space and produced by Tokuro Fujiwara - whose previous work includes Ghosts N' Goblins, Resident Evil, and Mega Man - Sony's latest PS2 project is a survival-horror game full of powerful weapons, complex puzzles, and grotesque monsters. Dubbed a "panic action game" by Sony itself, Extermination was first shown at the PlayStation Festival in March 2000, but it quietly dropped from the spotlight soon after. Sony has been tight-lipped about the project until now.

The game takes place in the year 2005, and it starts the day before Christmas, when the US special espionage unit Red Light is assigned to investigate Fort Stewart, a secret US military base located at the South Pole. The team is informed that one of the base's emergency alarms was sounded three days ago, and no further transmissions have been received from the base since. All attempts to contact the base have failed. Unfortunately, the C-17E supply ship transporting Red Light to the base exploded en route, and most of the team members were killed or lost. Additionally, all the supplies you were supposed to have with you have been scattered. You assume the role of Dennis Riley, one of the lower ranking members of Red Light who must complete the mission at all costs. You successfully infiltrate the base through one of the air ducts and find that all is not right at the Fort Stewart installation.

According to Fujiwara, the concept of the game is based on what Sony is calling the region action system, where "the player becomes the hero of an action movie and moves around freely in real time." While the exact meaning of this statement is open to speculation, we do know that the game will feature scenarios where you must respond to a requested button sequence within a time limit to successfully complete the objective. This system could be a lot like Shenmue's Quick Timer Events, where pushing the right button in time allows your character jump from one platform to the next or attack enemies.

Like Capcom's Resident Evil series, Extermination will have you spending plenty of time investigating dark and frightening areas and shooting at horribly disfigured undead creatures with a wide assortment of firearms. The game will allow you to replenish your ammo at certain stations found in the game, as well as use healing stations to tend to your wounds. Additionally, the game will feature plenty of what Fujiwara calls "panic situations." Although it's still unknown exactly how these situations will work, we assume they'll require you to franticly press a sequence of buttons to stay in control of your character.

The development of the Japanese version of Extermination is complete, and the game is scheduled for a March 8 release in Japan. And while Sony has yet to announce the game's availability on US shores, an earlier appearance at last year's E3 and the mobs of survival-horror fans here in the US make it likely that Extermination will be coming our way.

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