Xatrix Guns for Kingpin

FPS from Xatrix takes gamers into the seedy underground of corruption, gang warfare, and organized crime.

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On Wednesday, Interplay held a press day for its upcoming first-person shooter Kingpin. Developed by Xatrix, the creators of Cyberia and Redneck Rampage, it puts you in the shoes of a would-be gangster thrust into a world of gang warfare and organized crime.

Xatrix began working on the title after wrapped up development of the Quake II Mission Pack 1: The Reckoning. Kingpin uses a modified Quake II engine, and much of the work up to this point has involved programming tweaks to the engine. Xatrix has added all the usual bells and whistles, including dynamic lighting, more detailed textures, and body-specific targeting. The environments looked very realistic and impressive. For instance, in a bathroom brawl, the stained glass of the bathroom mirror looked as realistically smudged and grainy as you'd expect. Enemies sport different levels of damage and even trail blood when they run away. The targeting and damage system, a growing standard in first-person shooters, breaks enemies into 15 specific body parts, and they react differently depending on where you hit them.

The AI Xatrix demonstrated is also looking nice. Enemies react differently to you depending on whether you have a weapon in hand or not. The type of weapon you hold also makes a difference. Whip out a machine gun in the middle of a knife fight, and your enemies will suddenly run for cover. If they think they have you surrounded, they might converge on you, but if your opposition is one lonely soul, he is liable to flee entirely.

Kingpin will have six episodes, each taking place in a different part of the world's fictional town. You start off as a nameless bum that gets roped into a life of crime. The first episode takes place in the poorest ghetto in town, but each episode takes place in a progressively nicer part of town, until you arrive at the Kingpin's massive and expensive penthouse fortress. Your clothes will also change to fit the environment. You'll start out wearing a dirty shirt and suspenders and work your way up to Armani suits.

Weapons in this game aren't finished yet, but they'll fall into three different categories: plasma, projectile, and concussive. Plasma weapons include the game's flamethrower and a fire grenade. Projectile weapons include tommy guns and shot guns. Concussive weapons include a lead pipe and crowbar. The flamethrower deserves special mention because it is so well implemented. It looks great as it sets people aflame, sending them screaming through the streets before they collapse in a pile of charred flesh and smoke.

The most notable feature of this game is that it is very squarely targeted for an adult audience. Player language is laced with obscenities, and action is incredibly violent and bloody. Of course, when you're pursuing a life of crime, chances are, your life will be anything but pleasant. Interplay and Xatrix say they'll have Kingpin ready by spring, but we'll have to wait till we see more of the game before we can judge whether this ship date can be met. Look for an in-depth preview in the next few weeks.

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