Rocketmen: Axis of Evil Hands-On

We check out Capcom's previously unannounced downloadable shooter for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.


Rocketmen: Axis of Evil

Capcom unveiled a number of previously unannounced titles at its Spring 2007 Gamer's Day in San Francisco this week, including Rocketmen: Axis of Evil from A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Games. Based on the WizKids web cartoon and constructible strategy game of the same name, Rocketmen: Axis of Evil is an arcade-style shooter that will support cooperative play for up to four people either on or offline. We had an opportunity to blast our way through one of the game's early levels alongside three other event attendees, and we came away impressed with both its action-packed gameplay and 1080i cartoon-style visuals.

Although the character we played with was premade, one of Rocketmen: Axis of Evil's more interesting features is the option to create and customize your own hero in much the same way that you would before embarking on a role-playing adventure. You can be male or female; you can be a human, a Mercurian, or a Venusian; and you can play as a fighter, an engineer, or an outcast. Your choices when creating new characters will affect their attributes as well as their appearance, perhaps granting you a longer health bar, faster movement, or improved accuracy, for example. We also noticed that our default pistol was different from those being used by the other heroes. Ours fired two shots at a time compared to the other players' one, but one of our colleagues appeared to have a higher rate of fire, and another's projectiles were still effective after ricocheting off walls.

Like the majority of top-down shooters released on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network to date, Rocketmen: Axis of Evil lets you use the left analog stick to control movement while using the right analog stick to shoot your primary weapon in any direction. Insanely powerful rifles and chainguns with limited ammo were among the primary weapons that we picked up during our time with the game, but the secondary weapons really piqued our interest. You'll be able to carry multiple secondary weapons on your person, and after equipping one with the left shoulder button you'll use the right shoulder button to activate them. We put garden-variety missiles and grenades to good use against some of the more resilient enemies that we encountered, as well as a smart bomb that cleared the screen when our group was in danger of getting overwhelmed. Our favorite secondary weapon on this occasion, though, was the gun turret, which we were able to throw like a grenade and that, after taking a couple of seconds to unpack itself, would automatically target any enemies who strayed too close.

Most of the enemies we were shooting up on this occasion were crewmen from the evil Legion of Terra, who attacked in groups and appeared to be quite adept at targeting whichever player posed the greatest threat to them. More resilient enemies with longer health bars appeared from time to time, and there were still plenty of them spawning when we came up against a large mechanical boss toward the end of our session. The penalty for dying, as we discovered during that encounter, is simply that you have to sit out the next 10 seconds or so before being allowed to get back into the game. Whether or not there will be a limited number of credits available for each player or for the group remains to be seen.

Rocketmen: Axis of Evil is currently scheduled for release on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network this summer. The finished game will purportedly feature a competitive online ranking system and will let you unlock further customization options for your character as you progress. We look forward to bringing you more information as soon as it becomes available.

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