TGS 2003ChainDive Impressions

Dual swords, grappling energy beams, and never touching the ground are the order of the day in Sony's upcoming action game, ChainDive.

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While Devil May Cry certainly wasn't the first action game to place any level of importance on executing combos, Capcom's "stylish hard action" game has certainly left a mark on the stylistic side of action game development. ChainDive is a 3D, polygonal side-scroller from Sony that may not play like Capcom's gothic hack-and-slash, but it certainly shares that game's penchant for combos as well as its capability to allow the player to unleash some pretty wicked-looking combination attacks.

Like games such as Klonoa or, to go a little further back, the Pandemonium series, ChainDive takes place on a 2D plane, but is presented as a polygonal, 3D game. The backgrounds twist and turn, giving the impression of free movement, but this is merely for show. The game does, however, let your sword-swinging psycho go up--and up, and up, and up. Your character is armed with an energy-based grappling hook, and the sky is filled with floating targets that are suitable for grappling, swinging, and other momentum-based maneuvers.

As you move from left to right, you'll encounter clusters of floating bug creatures. That's where your double-edged blade comes into play. As you propel yourself from one grapple target to the next, you can swing your sword at these enemies. Hitting them causes them to freeze inside a block of ice. Once that's done, you can grapple onto the block and rocket yourself directly at the frozen foe, shattering them upon contact. The basic idea of the game is to freeze all the nearby enemies, then grapple from one to the next, finishing them all off in one large combo.

Larger creatures may require you to freeze and rush them a couple of times before they finally collapse, but the idea remains the same. Aside from just hopping around and swinging your sword like a maniac, you can also dive out of the sky and attack ground-based enemies with a spinning, head-and-sword-first falling attack.

Brief demo discs were given out at the Tokyo Game Show, so expect to see more on ChainDive in the weeks ahead. The game is currently slated for a mid-October release in Japan, though details for other regions haven't been revealed at this time.

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