GorkaMorka Hands-On

Ripcord's GorkaMorka combines car combat with straight racing action for the Dreamcast and SegaNet online gaming network.

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Ripcord's strategy of aggressively supporting online console gaming is manifest in its latest car-combat game, GorkaMorka. The playable demo was running on a PC, but I was able to check out one of the early levels and some of the peripheral features. In spite of the quirky name, GorkaMorka's debut at the E3 show was an impressive one. Essentially a car-combat title, the game combines elements of racing, battle, and customization into an impressive visual package. In the game, you must recruit your own Ork Mobz (of Warhammer fame), customize your armored vehicle to your liking, and take to the racing circuit.

The circuits are gloomy, desolate arenas with metal walls and blood-red surroundings. The vehicles have the same industrial look, in the mold of those in the old Mad Max flicks. Overall, the vehicles and tracks are highly detailed. Although its colors are muted overall, the game has a crisp look, and it should make very good use of the Dreamcast's high-resolution capabilities. Each car has both a driver and a passenger, who handles all the shooting duties. You can choose to exclusively race using the driver, letting the AI take control of the shooter, or vice versa. In multiplayer action, one person controls the driver, while the other takes care of blasting other racers off the track. This system works quite well, as you and a friend can seamlessly switch between driver and passenger on the fly.

Adding to the gameplay, Ripcord is bringing GorkaMorka online through SegaNet as part of Sega's multiplayer network kickoff. Online gamers can select and recruit their own gangs, and they can race against up to 15 other vehicles - a total of 32 people can play at once. In fact, Ripcord is looking at allowing PC and Dreamcast players of GorkaMorka to hook up online. According to a company representative, this feature is yet to be successfully tested at this point, but if at all possible, it will be available in the final version.

GorkaMorka will be released for the Dreamcast, with full online multiplayer support, this October.

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