E3 97
Part Three

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Pinball Games

Balls of Steel, developed by Pinball Wizards, a new division at Apogee, is a five table 2D pinball that will appeal to both, hard-core and casual pinball players. Combining interactive features with realistic ball physics, Balls of Steel offers fully animated tables each having its own on-screen animations and blood effects, as well as a lengthy character voice script. The game will also include multi-ball play, scrolling views, authentic flipper and rail action, and the possibility for players to register their scores on www.highscore.com to compare with other players worldwide. Balls of Steel will be released this summer on PC through GT Interactive.

Slated for release on PC in the fourth quarter of 1997, Addiction from Team 17 is probably the most accurate pinball game ever! Published by MicroProse, Addiction includes three theme based tables featuring Team 17's games (Worms, Alien Breed and Rally Fever), accurate physics and collision dynamics, and simulated reflection and shadows. Boasting eye-popping graphics designed and rendered on Silicon Graphics in true color, with resolutions ranging from 640 by 480 to 1600 by 1200, Addiction is sure to give a hard time to its competitors. Among the other features of Addiction, full motion video playback, sub-games, multi-ball play and no less than 27 CD audio tracks will give players a run for their money. If you are into pinball games, this is one game you don't want to miss!

Sierra will continue the 3D Ultra Pinball series with the addition this October of 3D Ultra Pinball: The Lost Continent. Featuring over 20 different inter-linking tables, extra-wide full screen playing field, skill challenges and bonuses traditionally offered in the 3D Ultra Pinball series. The graphics and story line are based on the adventures of a bush pilot, Rex Hunter, who is traveling with Professor Spector and his assistant Mary, in an unexplored jungle caught in a prehistoric time dimension. The game will support up to four players, and will be available for PC and Macintosh.

Now available in stores for the PC, Pro Pinball: Timeshock! is the sequel to critically acclaimed Empire Interactive's Pro Pinball: The Web. Splendid rendered graphics and an exhilarating game play are the key points for this new title, which unfortunately features only one table like its predecessor. Different points of view are available during game play, with an intelligent Dot Matrix Display featuring smooth and colorful animations. Realistic dynamic ball and flipper physics ensure an accurate pinball experience and deliver a true feel of a modern pinball game at home. Mechanical sounds, speech and other special effects are offered in Dolby Surround Sound, while the over 30 tunes from the Stiff Little Fingers band are played off the CD. Versions for Macintosh and PlayStation will be available later this year.

2D Arcade/Platform Games

Rayman is returning to the PC in a new special edition that will allow gamers to create their own adventures. Rayman Gold: The Map Design Studio features 17 maps of the original title, 24 new maps for Rayman to discover, and a brand new map editor created for both, Rayman fanatics and newcomers. The map editor will include all the tools that were used to create the award-winning graphics of Rayman. But Rayman Gold: The Map Design Studio is much more than just a single map editor. In the 24 maps packed within the game, extra challenges and obstacles not found in the original game will await players. Rayman will also have a new platform punch that inflates a small balloon that Rayman can jump on to hit obstacles. Ubi Soft Entertainment will release Rayman Gold: The Map Design Studio in third quarter 1997.

Created by the makers of Earthworm Jim and The Neverhood, Skullmonkeys is an artistic and witty platform style game where players will assume the role of Klaymen, the hero of the PC adventure game The Neverhood, published last year by DreamWorks Interactive. Skullmonkeys sends the player through over 100 levels and over 20 unique worlds made of 3D sculpted clay, assuming the role of Klaymen in his attempt to prevent Klogg and his new allies, the Skullmonkeys from destroying his home planet. The engaging story line, engrossing game play, quirky characters, revolutionary weapons and funky retro soundtrack will ensure hours of compelling game play to PlayStation owners this fall 1997.

Capcom announced that Mega Man X4 will appear on the Sega Saturn with new advancements in graphics, animation and fun. Mega Man X4 will also be the first game where players can choose to play either Mega Man X or Zero and take them through their own adventure. Players will battle through eight new brilliantly colorful X-Hunter levels that contain intricate passages, secret rooms and hard to reach items. To fight the numerous police reploids throughout the game, players will need to acquire vehicles, weapons and power-ups supplied in hidden capsules, then mix and match them for the correct power effect. Available in the third quarter 1997.

The long-awaited sequel to Worms will finally arrive this Fall on PC. With brand new graphics, bigger and zanier worms, and even more destructive weapons, Team 17's Worms 2 has everything of what fans around the world asked for, and even more! The game comes with over 60 new weapons accompanied by truly explosive stereo sound effects, new worms characters and speech, hilarious cinematics and the same addictive game play that made the original so successful. Players can fight alone against 17 other worms in the 18 player hot-seat game, or compete with 7 other players over a LAN network or the Internet. Worms can now swim in Worms 2 with water flowing, draining and drenching anything on the cartoon-like landscape. Finally, if four billions levels are not enough for you, a graffiti option will let you customize your own levels.

Based on Walt Disney Picture's 35th animated feature film Hercules, Disney's Hercules is an action game on PlayStation and PC that propels players back to the time of the ancient Greece. Following the film's story line, players will assume the role of Hercules, and will fight mythical enemies such as the Hydra, the Cyclops and Medusa, as they strive to help Hercules's dream to accomplish itself -- become a hero and live on Mt. Olympus as a god. Players will be accompanied throughout the game by the same actors who gave their voice to the characters of the movie, including Danny DeVito, James Woods and "Bobcat" Goldwaite. Divided into 10 levels filled with hidden areas and secret power-ups, Disney's Hercules features complex meshing of 2D side-scrolling game play with 3D technologies, real-time generated 3D landscapes and 3D special effects that further immerse the player into the adventure. Available now on PlayStation from Virgin Interactive Entertainment. PC version will be available in August 1997 from Disney Interactive.

Monolith Studios's Captain Claw is the first Internet capable arcade-style action/adventure game designed for the PC. Captain Claw supports up to 64 players via TCP/IP and IPX networks, and it's also possible to play head-to-head via a modem connection. The game features a wealth of visual effects through 8 and 16-bit color support and dynamic color filters, allowing for special effects such as active lighting and translucent images. The fourteen richly-illustrated levels packed in the game are accompanied by spectacular audio like panning/fading, ambient and event sound effects, as well as character voices and an unique soundtrack per level. In its quest, the character will encounter nearly 40 different enemies and will learn how to use weapons such as pistol, dynamite, sword and even magic to defeat them. Available in August 1997.

Developed by Oddworld Inhabitants in conjunction with GT Interactive, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee is a platform/adventure game for the PlayStation and PC, that blends unique features together to create a ground breaking game play. Among these features are the Gamespeak system that allows real-time communications between characters, and enable players to solve simple and complex puzzles with phrases such as "Follow me" or "Stay here"; the Qarma that tracks and responds to player's choices throughout the game; and the Smartsound that composes the soundtrack in real-time to match the game's pace and adjusts the volume of the characters' voices according to their relative positions from the game screen. Graphics in Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee are breathtaking with interactive environments and fluid character animation. Nine non-linear levels will offer over 60 hours of non-repetitive game play with more than 100 different paths to take, each with its own puzzles and solutions. Available in October 1997 on PlayStation, with a Windows 95 version following shortly after.

3D Arcade/Platform Games

Representing Shiny Entertainment's debut into the 32-bit video game world, The Wild 9 is the story of a lead character Wex-Major. Lost in the middle of a universe in war, this 21st century earthling teenager will meet with eight other teenage aliens whose homes and families have been destroyed by Karn. In a "David vs. Goliath" battle, Wex-Major will lead the Wild 9 to save the galaxy from destruction by Karn's forces. Set in a high resolution 3D environment that will react to the main character, The Wild 9 will feature an amazing number of frames largely superior to what Earthworm Jim possessed. Like other Shiny Entertainment products, The Wild 9 will deliver the same outstanding game play as in MDK or Earthworm Jim. Available in December 1997 for the PlayStation.

Tonic Trouble is a new 3D platform game developed by the makers of Rayman, Ubi Soft Entertainment. Designed for all ages, Tonic Trouble features 15 detailed 3D worlds, 64 amusing characters and eye-popping animations running at up to 60 frames per second. First game to be developed specifically for the Pentium II processor, Tonic Trouble will also be available for the Nintendo 64 and other Pentium processors shortly after. The story behind Tonic Trouble begins when the alien named Ed accidentally drops a mysterious can during a scientific exploration of the galaxy. Unfortunately, when the can arrives on Earth, its content provokes a series of mutations that affect all living beings. Ordered to rescuing the can from Grogh the Hellish who uses the can's powers to declare himself Master of the Earth, Ed will embark on a journey through numerous wonders such as an Atlantis-like underwater world or a desert of upside-down pyramids. Armed with various weapons that change from one level to the other, Ed is capable of an impressive range of moves. He can jump, run, crawl, swim on the surface and underwater, glide through the air, climb up and down a rope, and push or pull objects, plus other surprises. Available late 1997 for Pentium II processors, and in early 1998 for Nintendo 64 and other Pentium processors.

This fall, Fox Interactive will unleash CROC: Legend of the Gobbos on PlayStation, Saturn and PC. Starring a crusading crocodile as the hero, CROC: Legend of the Gobbos will feature a fully 3D world where the brave reptile will freely roam in a quest to rescue his Gobbo Islanders friends from Baron Dante, an evil magician. Using Gouraud shading textures and real-time lighting, the 3D engine of the game is a visual treat, and allows CROC to jump, climb, swim, stomp, flip, swing hand-over-hand, hang on balloons and even throw a tough tail wack. Over 50 levels of intensive game play will walk CROC across four perilous islands holding numerous traps and dangers, where he will encounter a myriad of villains and challenging adversaries.

Already available on Sega Saturn and Sega Genesis, Sonic 3D Blast will appear on PC as well, with enhanced graphics, beautiful 3D environments and a pumping CD audio soundtrack. Players will enjoy guiding Sonic, Knuckles and Tails through the seven challenging zones, secret passages and bonus levels to defeat Dr. Robotnik, Sonic's long time enemy. With new moves such as jumps and rolls, and a new secret weapon called "Blast Attack", Sonic 3D Blast will be a holy gift for action gaming fans of all ages. Available in September from Sega Entertainment.

First PlayStation game to be developed by Namco's U.S. product development team, Pac-Man Ghost Zone brings a long-time favorite character Pac-Man into the third dimension. Filled with 14 weird and wacky worlds ranging from Pac's house to a spooky haunted mansion, Pac-Man Ghost Zone is the most challenging Pac-adventure ever. In addition to the tons of puzzles, traps and mazes that await Pac-Man, 20 frightening ghosts have joined forces with the Ghost Lord himself to battle our hero. Fortunately, Pac-Man now boasts new moves such as swimming and flying through the air, and also launches projectiles, not mentioning he still runs and eats! Available in November 1997.

Driven by a highly addictive game play, Overboard from Psygnosis will put you in command of a galleon ship with the unique goal to collect as much treasure as possible. Sailing from the Caribbean to the world of Incas, you will have to destroy enemy strongholds, ports and shipyards, and of course enemy ships, while building enhanced ships to help you in your journey. As you progress further into the game, puzzles will become more complex and you will need all your skills to outmaneuver the intelligent enemies such as bomb-dropping airships and threatening sea monsters. Overboard features among the nicest real-time 3D graphics that have ever graced the PlayStation. With features such as volcanoes, light progression from sunrise to sunset, and wind and sea conditions, Overboard is a visual feast. Cartoon-like cinematics will yet enhance the graphics galore of the game, and will provide players with unique moments of humor. Overboard will be released this fall for PlayStation and PC.

If snowboarding and platform games are what you live for, than Psybadek from Psygnosis is definitely a game you should wait for. Psybadek offers five playing zones that each have ten different locations and secret areas for you to discover. Playing as a guy named Xako or a girl called Mia, you will slide the slopes over your trusty hoverdeck, and execute spectacular high-flying stunts while trying to save your mates, both characters have their own story line and special stunts. Psybadek allows players a complete freedom of movement, and uses a third person perspective with smooth 3D graphics. Note that the PC version will fully support 3D accelerator cards such as the 3Dfx and PowerVR technologies. Psybadek will also include numerous weapons and power-ups such as magnetic mines, snowballer bombs and jump jets to make the game even more fun and arcade-thrilling. Available in December 1997 for PlayStation and PC.

Also presented at the show by Psygnosis was Rascal, a new 3D platform game with an original character created in collaboration with Jim Henson's Creature Workshop. Rascal embarks players into a time adventure where the young character will explore seven different worlds such as pirate ships and medieval castles, each at three different epochs: past, present and future. Featuring an all new 3D engine capable of displaying up to 60 frames per second with 232,000 colors simultaneously, Rascal is visually appealing with its texture-mapped and real-time light sourced graphics. Players will encounter numerous puzzles and hostile creatures, as well as many bonuses and powerups throughout the 21 levels included in the game. Rascal will be released for PlayStation and PC in the first quarter of 1998.

After Crash Bandicoot in 1996, Blasto is Sony Computer Entertainment America's next big title this year on the PlayStation. In this new game developed by Sony Interactive Studios America, the player will take the place of the super-hero Captain Blasto to save the human race against the armies of the evil Bosc. There will be plenty of slimy aliens to eradicate in Blasto with fighting enemies waiting at every turn throughout the eight diverse environments contained in the game. The player will be free to roam in the huge open 3D world which is all one unique level. Unlike most other games that are divided into levels, the entire game will stream directly from the disc while playing. If Blasto keeps his promise, it should deliver a solid game play and striking graphics, for a perfect blend of arcade and action. Available in October 1997.

Starring one of the most popular video game characters of all time, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic R from Sega combines racing and arcade genres together, and brings exhilarating game play on the Saturn. In Sonic R, gamers will race against other Sonic characters through four different courses including a tropical island, a mysterious castle, a highway with no speed limit and a secret base, to collect stolen emeralds and must make a dash for the finish line. Full freedom of movement, 3D graphics, five different game modes, a fifth hidden level, and the possibility to play as any of the characters found in the game are additional features that make this new Sonic game a must for his fans. Available in November 1997.

In Pitfall 3D: Beyond the Jungle, players will once again guide adventurer Pitfall Harry into an adventure of epic proportion. Featuring spectacular 3D graphics with richly detailed characters, intricate levels, numerous hidden areas and bonus levels, Activision's Pitfall 3D is one of the most anticipated games of its generation. Pitfall Harry will explore a vast world made of four different regions that players will explore with a total freedom of movement. As they explore the ruins of the Moku Civilization, or enter the heart of a volcano among other places, players will encounter over two dozen different creatures such as Snake Warriors, Earth Soldiers and creatures made out of flames and armor. Equipped with his rock pick only, Pitfall Harry will use it to destroy objects and swing on rings, but also to attack his foes. Over 250 dynamic animations allow the character a variety of complex and fluid movements throughout the game, and provide the player with a unique game play. Available for PlayStation in early 1998.

In November 1997, Sony Computer Entertainment America will release the sequel to one of the best selling PlayStation game last year, Crash Bandicoot. With twice the size of the original game, new moves such as jet skiing, sliding, flying and more; and a non-linear path through the game, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is set to encounter the same success as its predecessor. A cinematic sequence at the beginning of the game will introduce the exciting story line in which the infamous Dr. Neo Cortex will seek his revenge against Crash. Like the original, Crash Bandicoot 2 features cutting-edge 3D graphics and special effects that made the first game so appealing, and will also introduce new characters such as Crash's little sister.

At about that same time, GEX: Enter the Gecko from Crystal Dynamics will ship on PlayStation and PC. Combining 360 degrees of freedom within a 3D environment with challenging game play, GEX: Enter the Gecko sends the player into the Media Dimension as GEX to prevent his long-time enemy, Rez, to take over national television broadcasts. Over 3,400 frames of animation were produced for the game, including actual in-game lip-synching with voices provided by HBO Comedian Dana Gould. Players will explore multiple 3D theme levels such as horror, prehistoric, science-fiction and martial arts, that were designed as parodies of popular movies and cable channels.

Pandemonium 2 will appear just in time for Christmas on both, PlayStation and PC. The sequel to Crystal Dynamics's last year hit will return with the three characters, a little older and even wiser though, as Nikki, Fargus and Sid. With new moves and animations, dynamic 3D camera angles that add to the dynamic game play, inspiring jungle-techno soundtrack and bizarre and lush environments, Pandemonium 2 will keep game play fresh and challenging to provide gamers with non-stop action. The PC version will also support 3D accelerators such as the 3Dfx chip-based cards.

Shooting Games

In Midway Home Entertainment's Maximum Force, players will attempt to stop three groups of terrorists ready to unleash chaos on the world. Developed by the creators of Area 51, Maximum Force features many improvements over its predecessor with richer visuals due to enhanced color bit-depth and graphic compression. From Eastern Island to New York City through the South American jungle, thousands of shootable bad guys and objects within interactive backgrounds will be included in this arcade shooting game for one or two players. Combining detailed explosive 3D graphics, movie-quality audio, and live-action cinematics, Maximum Force will deliver a heart-pounding game play through three nearly-impossible missions. Throughout the game, players will swim the ocean, stalk through sewers, and even ride in helicopters, hydrosleds, and all-terrain vehicles. Available in September 1997 on PlayStation.

Time Crisis from Namco is the conversion from Namco's popular arcade game of the same name. Featuring the complete arcade hit, plus a new original scenario exclusively developed for the PlayStation, Time Crisis includes its own gun that is claimed to be the most accurate firearm made for this console. Like the original game, Time Crisis plunges the players in fully 3D environments jam-packed with 3D polygon enemies, and hidden areas to discover. Enhanced realism means that you can duck behind objects and reload at the same time, and multiple endings will guarantee hours of excitement and non-stop action. Available in September 1997.

Available on PC in November 1997 from Sega Entertainment, Virtua Squad 2 (which is Virtua Cop 2 in the arcades) will pit you against criminals in an urban killing zone. Using a realistic firt-person perspective and dynamic 3D scenarios, Virtua Squad 2 will test your reflexes with a rapid-fire game play and ever changing camera angles. Also supporting multi-player options via LAN, Modem and Internet, Virtua Squad 2 will challenge the best players with more enemies than ever before!

Last updated July 25th

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