FireStarter gameplay details

GSC Game World releases new gameplay information on its upcoming first-person shooter. Exclusive new screens inside.

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Ukrainian developer GSC Game World has today released new gameplay information on FireStarter, a first-person shooter with RPG elements that we've heard very little about since it was first announced in March 2002. The game's story line revolves around the idea of a games player's consciousness becoming trapped in the world of a new virtual reality game called FireStarter after a computer malfunction.

Players will assume the role of a marine, agent, policeman, gunslinger, cyborg, or mutant and attempt to survive the computer's attacks for a total of 48 hours to complete the game. Attacks will come in the form of traps and obstacles, as well as more than 30 different types of monsters, including various types of zombies, demons, and robots. As players progress through the game, they will also receive voice messages from the computer attempting to persuade them that the virtual reality they're imprisoned in is real. In keeping with the virtual reality theme, though, certain areas of levels will contain "errors," represented by Matrix-style special effects.

The game will consist of 16 levels in total, divided among four themed episodes: industrial, imperial, space, and ancient. Each of the levels will feature different objectives for players, ranging from finding keys and solving puzzles to defeating a boss character and surviving an onslaught of monsters for a certain amount of time. By defeating the increasingly powerful monsters and completing objectives, players will score points that can be used to improve their characters' abilities in a way not dissimilar to that found in most role-playing games.

In addition to ratings in basic attributes such as health, armor, and speed, characters in FireStarter will all have a "mass" rating that determines how far they can jump, which weapons they're more skilled with, and a number of specific skills. Each character will start with two of the 32 skills in the game, all of which have varying levels of proficiency. Skills in the game include evasion, learning, operating heavy weapons, resistance, stealth, vampirism, and vandalism.

The player's arsenal in FireStarter will be a mixture of real-life weapons such as shotguns and assault rifles and futuristic weapons like the relight cannon, plasma gun, and hand turret. There's also a rocket launcher in the game that is capable of firing seven different kinds of missiles: uncontrollable, flare, cluster, self-guided, ultra high speed, mega, and penetrative.

In addition to weapons, players will occasionally uncover and be able to use approximately a dozen different kinds of artifacts. These objects will be very rare and will often be found only in secret locations. Examples of artifacts in the game include a mind controller that can make any monster in the game attack other monsters rather than the player, a terminator capable of turning any one monster into a target for all others, and a vampire power-up that enables the player to leech life from a monster until it dies.

In addition to the single-player game, FireStarter will feature a number of multiplayer options, including deathmatch, cooperative, gang vs. gang, human vs. monsters, hunt, and slaughter. There will be around 20 levels designed specifically for multiplayer use, and GSC hopes to include support for up to 32 players simultaneously.

No publisher or release date has been confirmed for FireStarter at this time, but GSC hopes to make the game available in either the second or third quarter of this year. For more on FireStarter, check out our previous coverage of the game.

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