Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue E3 2005 Preshow Hands-On

For those of you who think that the GameCube is too kiddie, we present this firsthand account of the gritty world of Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue as evidence to the contrary. Reader discretion advised. Just kidding.

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Hello Kitty's classic countenance will be featured in a fully 3D game for the first time when Namco's Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue hits the GameCube this summer. Sanrio's kindly cat lass and her assorted friends will be featured in this action adventure title that has Hello Kitty battling a blockheaded interstellar foe bent on messing up the utopian Sanriotown using just a pair of roller skates and a magic wand. We got a chance to spend a little quality time with Ms. Kitty and company at Namco's pre-E3 event, and we came away quite convinced that it would be a pretty exciting game if we were, like, 12 years old and a girl.

Everyone loves Hello Kitty, even you. Admit it.
Everyone loves Hello Kitty, even you. Admit it.

Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue fits the mold of other 3D action adventures, allowing you to guide Hello Kitty around the world, bopping enemies on the head, double-jumping, solving the occasional puzzle, battling some big bosses, and more. But not before dressing her up in various outfits and choosing from a colorful assortment of companions to help her along in her journey. The game played fine, although we ran into some issues getting the camera perspective to display the action just right. But other than that, Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue presented an experience on par with what we'd expect from any decent action title or platformer. While the graphics aren't cel-shaded to look just like the Hello Kitty drawings, the characters are unmistakable and instantly recognizable, and the gameworld has a vibrant look to it.

The version of the game we played was reportedly near to being complete, so we don't expect to see much of anything different at E3. Indeed, the build we played featured pretty much all the game's content unlocked, so we were able to experience a variety of different levels in short order. These levels ranged from a surprisingly challenging battle against a savage baseball-throwing robot in the middle of an electrified baseball diamond, to an outer-space confrontation with the enemy on its home turf, to rolling in the streets of Sanriotown while hunting down ninjalike bad guys. Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue is a game that's clearly intended primarily for girls, but it's got a bit of an edge and some humor to it that we could readily appreciate.

All your Sanrio friends are here for your joy and amusement.
All your Sanrio friends are here for your joy and amusement.

Fans of Sanrio characters like Keroppi and Badtz-Maru will be pleased to find them here, along with plenty of obscure Sanrio likenesses--both friendly and otherwise. All in all, we got the impression that Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue would do a fine job of appealing to Hello Kitty fans, but it would also back up the strong license with respectable gameplay elements that both kids and grown-ups could get into. Seriously, that baseball robot was tough. We had to avoid his attacks, catch his pitches, and reflect his attacks back at him by banking them against walls so that they hit him in the back. We think games for kids shouldn't be easy or condescending, so we hope Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue turns out to be just that sort of game.

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