Hidden Invasion Preview

French developer Toka is currently working on an action-adventure game called Hidden Invasion, which follows in the footsteps of its Dreamcast game Soul Fighter.

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French developer Toka's last project was Soul Fighter, a Dreamcast game that had impressive graphics but difficult control and somewhat tedious beat-'em-up gameplay. Toka's latest project promises to expand on Soul Fighter with more beat-'em-up gameplay and refined controls. The game is also dropping the sword and sorcery setting of the last game in favor of a science-fiction backdrop.

In Hidden Invasion, you play as a male or female character who is part of a special forces team called in to investigate a peculiar terrorist crime scene. As the story progresses, you'll find that there's a sinister alien conspiracy to infiltrate Earth and take over our power structure. To prevent the aliens from succeeding in their plan, you'll have to punch and kick plenty of bad-guy tail through a series of diverse levels. It's your task to kick alien butt, save the world, reunite with your love, and find out what really is going on behind the scenes. Fans of unwarranted destruction and carnage should get a kick out of Hidden Invasion. Toka claims that there will be plenty of "needless destruction" and several spectacular weapons at your disposal.

The game is played through a third-person perspective, and it appears to use a modified Soul Fighter engine. Cutscenes and other dramatic events are displayed through a cinematic camera, and they're all rendered using the in-game engine. The graphics are crisp and diverse, and they create a decent science-fiction universe. The game's characters have a definite cartoon quality to them, and they're very nicely detailed. Each character consists of around 1000-2000 polygons, and the engine can handle more than ten enemies at once onscreen. For all the animations, Toka turned to its own motion-capture studio, and each character gets his or her own set of movements and poses in order to look as realistic as possible. The special effects, such as explosions, already look very impressive.

Hidden Invasion will feature a single-player mode, as well as a two-player cooperative mode where you and a friend can blast your way through the missions together. The story is split into chapters, but the gameplay sticks to a linear structure so the story can progress quickly instead of giving the player too many individual missions to choose from.

The controls are basic and a bit more intuitive than Soul Fighter's. One analog stick controls your character's movements, while the other stick controls the camera. The face buttons will control attacks and special movement. Toka is promising to make Hidden Invasion less about tedious combat and more about fun gameplay and a compelling storyline. It remains to be seen, though, how the apocalyptic approach of Hidden Invasion will play out in the end. Hidden Invasion is currently scheduled for an April release.

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