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Hands-onAquaman: Battle for Atlantis

We took a look at TDK Mediactive's upcoming superhero adventure, Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis.


At this year's E3, we had the chance to check out an early build of TDK Mediactive's upcoming game, which is based on the DC Comics Aquaman franchise. The game features Arthur, the king of undersea Atlantis, who has been modeled in his current comic-book form, complete with flowing blond hair, beard, and prosthetic harpoon hand. The premise of the game places players in the role of the powerful monarch, who must rescue his native kingdom from the clutches of a triumvirate of his most powerful foes: Ocean Master, Black Manta, and the Lava Lord of Fire Trolls.

The gameplay we observed shifts between a pair of different play styles: third-person undersea shooting from Aquaman's watercraft and hand-to-hand combat on a side-scrolling plane. The shooter segments of the game were highly reminiscent of a Rogue Squadron game, albeit taking place underwater and on rails. The submarine that Aquaman pilots is capable of firing off powerful blasts and may include additional armaments in the final version of the game. The craft maneuvered between wide-open spaces of water, filled with enemies, to confined areas within undersea bases and ruined structures.

The fighting sequences in Aquaman were initiated whenever the character encountered enemies while exploring from a third-person platformer type of perspective. Once combat began, Aquaman took up one side of the screen, while between one and three enemies took turns engaging him from the opposite field, each character represented by an onscreen health indicator. Aquaman was able to perform a couple of hand-to-hand maneuvers, but his more exciting moves either made use of his harpoon or his undersea companions. Aquaman could fire off his harpoon, which trailed a line of cable behind it and bound his foe tightly. His cybernetic harpoon could also morph into a fist when he performed a two-fisted maneuver. Combat seemed to play out in a turn-based fashion, as the two-fisted move allowed Aquaman to follow up with more attacks without fear of retaliation. Aquaman's special maneuver, the calling of undersea creatures for assistance, was particularly fun to watch. This move cycled between effects--a bottle-nosed dolphin could make an attack, a killer whale could swim by and take a chomp out of someone, or a great white shark could make a passing attack.

According to TDK Mediactive representatives, the final version of the game will include a total of 24 levels. Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis is currently slated for release on both the Xbox and GameCube and should be in stores by the end of the year.

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