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Origin of the Species E3 2005 Hands-On Impressions

A candy-raving, machine-gun-wielding science experiment kills a lot of mutated insects in this action adventure from Nu Generation. We check it out at E3 2005.


For those who feel that the female demographic is sadly underrepresented in the action shooter genre, save for spandex-wearing, overly nubile, impossibly chested girls with little purpose but to titillate the prospective player rather than represent equality with the typical male action hero, Nu Generation's new title, Origin of the Species, may change your mind…at least as far as the spandex part goes. Imagine, if you will, a game where a young girl who resembles an unholy union between Malice from the game of the same name and Ulala from Space Channel 5 dons a pair of overly baggy jeans, pigtails, and a pair of Uzis (among around 15 other available weapons) and goes around blowing away mutated science experiments for 30 levels, all the while leaping and spinning around in an uberstylish fashion. OK, so it's not going to win any originality or feminism awards, but that doesn't mean that it can't be fun. And from what we've seen of Origin of the Species, there's definitely potential for some crazy, over-the-top shooting action to be had.

The plot of Origin of the Species was only loosely described to us, but in a nutshell, it tells the story of the aforementioned candy raver girl, a former guinea pig in some kind of insidious experiment who ends up in the middle of a battle between evil military soldiers and horrifically mutated insects (the result of more scientific meddling). The main point of the game, however, does not look to be story, but rather opportunities for you to shoot bad guys and bad bugs to your heart's content. The game is very much a traditional third-person shooter. The portions of the game shown to us featured the main character running around various urban environments--including a subway station and a strip club--killing nasty creatures with her pair of Uzis. Apart from the various guns she can use, she'll be able to wield 10 different types of special powers, derived from her scientifically altered body. The one we saw was a telekinesis power, which worked pretty much exactly how you would expect TK powers to work.

The game looks to throw a few stylish and bizarre twists into the action formula. For instance, our heroine can execute some stylish maneuvers that send the camera into slow motion. One such example was a spin move that put the girl into something of a ballerina pirouette as she fired her Uzis, blasting anything within a 360-degree radius of her into chunks of bloody mess. Depending on the type of style you choose at the beginning of the game (you'll be able to choose from four different preferred play styles: sharpshooter, stealth, exploration, and aggression), you'll be awarded special style points for each type of action. So if you're a sharpshooter, you'll earn bonuses for more accurate kills, whereas a stealthy player would earn points for--you guessed it--stealth kills. In an utterly bizarre feature, the main character also wears a little teddy bear backpack that appears to be alive, and emotes the situation as you play, grimacing when you're firing and frowning when you take damage. There wasn't really any specific point to mentioning this; it was just too weird not to point out.

Admittedly, we didn't get a lot of time with Origin of the Species, but we saw just enough to be intrigued by it. It's tough to gauge at this point whether it'll be just another run-of-the-mill stylish hard-action game or something legitimately unique, but one way or another, we'd like to see more. Currently, publisher Tri Synergy has the game slated for a September release on the PC. The developers also mentioned a PS2 version of the game in the works, though that version currently has no US publishing deal. We'll bring you more on this game as it becomes available.

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