Project Treasure Island Z Hands-On

We go in search of treasure and solve some puzzles along the way as we check out Capcom's recently announced Wii adventure game.

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Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
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Plenty of new games were unveiled at Capcom's Spring 2007 Gamer's Day event earlier this week, and among them was a colorful puzzle-adventure currently known as Project Treasure Island Z. Being developed internally at Capcom exclusively for the Wii, the game casts you in the role of a young wannabe pirate named Zack, who is determined to prove himself by finding the lost treasure of the legendary pirate Barbaros. There are plenty of perils and puzzles for Zack to negotiate before he can get his hands on the prize, and during our time with the game's first couple of levels, we found that getting past them will often require you to use the Wii Remote in some very inventive ways.

Even the most basic of Project Treasure Island Z's controls have you pointing your Wii Remote at the screen and highlighting areas that you want to move to with a cursor. You'll also highlight objects or characters that you want to interact with by using the cursor. Pressing the A button will instruct Zack to move to the cursor, while holding down the B button at any time will let you scroll and look around the area beyond the immediate confines of your screen. The game's opening sequence, in which the small plane that Zack is a passenger on comes under attack, did a great job of making us feel like we were being thrown in at the deep end while affording us plenty of time to get used to the controls. Our first "puzzle" required us to open the plane's rear hatch so that we could jump out of it, which was achieved by clicking on a lever and then manipulating the floating hand that appeared on the screen with the Wii Remote. To put it another way, the Wii Remote in our hand became the lever, so to pull on the lever, we simply performed the same motion that we wanted Zack to perform.

After jumping out of the plane, Zack's sidekick (a flying monkey named Wiki) humorously pointed out that we didn't have a parachute. So our next puzzle was to figure out some way to rectify that situation. While holding down the B button and using the Wii Remote to look around as if it were a flashlight, we noticed that one of the crates falling from our plane had an umbrella poking out of it. Clicking on the umbrella with the A button told Zack to grab it, so then all we had to do was figure out how to open it. Upon closer inspection, we realized that the umbrella had a button with a "1" on it, corresponding to the same button on the Wii Remote. As we floated toward the ground, Wiki explained that you can discard items in the game simply by grabbing their icon from the top of the screen and dragging them into the playing area. Trying this technique out with the umbrella before we'd actually landed saw us plummeting through the air at a dangerous speed once again. If it weren't for Zack's pants getting caught on a tree branch, things would almost certainly have gotten messy.

Vigorously shaking the Wii Remote from left to right was enough to get us loose from the tree, at which point Zack fell to the ground with a bump. Seconds later, when confronted by a large vicious-looking centipede, we learned that Wiki's role in the game isn't simply to make wisecracks at inopportune moments. Shaking the Wii Remote without an item highlighted sees Zack grabbing Wiki and ringing him like bell, causing nearby enemies to transform into useful items. In this case, the centipede turned into a centi-saw, with which we were able to bring down the tree so it could be used as a bridge across a chasm. Figuring out how to make a sawing motion with the Wii Remote wasn't too taxing, but we're told that some of the later puzzles in the game won't be nearly as obvious. You'll be using the Wii Remote as more than 80 different objects as you progress through the game, including a key, an extendable gripper, a crank handle, and a piccolo, to name a few.

Project Treasure Island Z will feature at least seven different themed environments, and each of those will have about three different areas to explore. We spent all of our time in the "jungle ruins" area that we landed in after bailing out of the plane in the intro, but we were told that an ice temple, a dark castle, and the requisite "lava level" are among those confirmed for the finished game. Other tidbits of information shared with us during our time with the game included claims that it will feature more than 35 different types of enemies, more than 500 items to collect, and over 40 hours of gameplay. Project Treasure Island Z is currently scheduled for release this fall. We look forward to bringing you more information as soon as it becomes available.

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