Starcraft: Ghost E3 2003 Preshow Report

Starcraft: Ghost will be Blizzard's first entry into the modern console gaming era.


Blizzard will be exhibiting its upcoming third-person action game, Starcraft: Ghost, on the show floor at this year's E3. Ghost represents Blizzard's first foray into the current generation of console platforms, although it is based on a unit from Blizzard's classic PC real-time strategy game, Starcraft. In Starcraft, the Terran ghost served as a black ops unit; it wasn't particularly well suited for head-on combat, but it possessed a number of unique abilities, making it extremely powerful as a support unit. The ghost could cloak, call down a nuclear strike, and fire a special projectile that immobilizes mechanical units.

In Starcraft: Ghost, the main character is a female ghost named Nova. Her strengths and weaknesses closely resemble the guidelines set forth in the original PC RTS game, but Blizzard is using the change in platform and perspective to give Nova added abilities and gameplay options. Ghost will include a number of locations and enemy types familiar to those who have played Starcraft on the PC, although previous knowledge of the universe isn't a requirement. Old favorites such as the Zerg hydralisk, as well as Protoss zealots and dragoons, will be common opponents in Ghost. Some of the structures in the game, like the Protoss photon cannon, will be instantly recognizable to Starcraft fans as well.

Ghost is best categorized as stealth action, similar to games such as Splinter Cell. That being the case, Nova possesses a number of skills that make her much more effective when concealed in shadows and catching an opponent unawares. For example, she can sneak up on and instantly stealth-kill an enemy if she remains undetected, similar to the Tenchu games. She's also extremely agile and athletic, with the ability to climb, crouch, crawl, and swing from various parts of the levels. Nova even has the ability to hang upside down from a ladder or bar and snipe with her canister rifle from that position. Cloaking is another special ability that allows Nova to sneak past most enemies, but as in the original RTS game, special detector units like the Zerg overlord can still see her while she's cloaked. As you progress through the game, you'll earn new psi skills, such as detection and the ability to slow the game down in a Max Payne-style slow-motion mode to dodge attacks and quickly kill multiple enemies.

Starcraft: Ghost is slated for release in late 2003 for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube platforms. We'll have more information about the game from the show.

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