Wallace & Gromit Hands-On Impressions

We spend some time with the upcoming game based on Nick Park's popular claymation movies.

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Wallace & Gromit was on display at this year's PlayStation Experience event in London, and we were able to spend some time playing through the game's first level. In the game, you'll play as Gromit, the silent yet quick-witted dog who takes care of his dimwitted inventor owner, Wallace. It seems that the evil penguin Feathers McGraw has kidnapped baby animals from the local zoo for his own nefarious purposes and has framed Wallace for the crimes (several of the game's levels will be decorated by "Wanted" posters with Wallace's picture). It's up to Gromit to stop Feathers and clear Wallace's name by rescuing the baby animals.

In the first level, Wallace and Gromit enter the zoo, only to see Feathers secure a baby elephant in a cage over a small pond in an opening cutscene. Though you can make Gromit attack his enemies and break down some walls and crates by pressing the square button, he'll spend most of his time solving jumping puzzles--you'll press the X button to make him jump and the circle button to let him use miscellaneous items. You can also use the triangle button to make Gromit call Wallace over to him--Wallace will offer clues and occasionally hand off a new item.

At the beginning of the level you must collect 10 bolts (the game's standard bonus item), which Wallace uses to repair items and craft gadgets. The first gadget you'll receive is the banana gun, which fires bananas that set off certain puzzle triggers. You'll also be able to collect a total of 30 hidden coins, which will unlock hidden features such as video interviews with Nick Park.

The game itself seems to control well, and its 3D graphics seem to do a good job of re-creating the rounded cartoonlike characters of Park's claymation movies. The game is scheduled for release later this year.

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