100 Bullets First Look

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100 Bullets is the upcoming third-person action game based on the popular Vertigo comic of the same name. The unique series is equal parts hard-boiled crime story and paranoia-inducing espionage thriller, and it follows what happens when people from all walks of life meet Agent Graves, a mysterious figure who offers them the opportunity of a lifetime: an attaché case containing proof of a past crime, a gun, carte blanche to exact revenge on the person who committed the crime and did them an irrevocable wrong, and immunity from punishment. While Agent Graves' identity and motivations are a mystery to those he encounters, considering the nature of his offer, this isn't really the kind of situation where you'd be asking too many questions anyway. We had a chance to view a demo of a work-in-progress Xbox build to see how Acclaim's video game incarnation of the series is coming together.

The game is being developed by Acclaim's Austin Studios and will tell an original tale crafted by series creator and acclaimed DC Comics writer Brian Azzarello. You will be put in the role of two characters: Cole Burns, who should be a familiar face to fans of the comic, and Snow Falls, an original female character created specifically for the game's story. You'll alternate control of each character depending on the level and how the story unfolds.

As you'd expect, 100 Bullets' gameplay leans heavily on gunplay, which is hardly a bad thing. One of the most interesting aspects of the gameplay so far is the nuances being added. At first blush there doesn't appear to be anything special about the game's mechanics. You'll control Cole or Snow from a third-person perspective and blow up anything that moves. This task appears to be made even easier by the inclusion of an auto-target feature that lets you target any foes with the press of a button. However, the lock-on system rewards skill by offering two levels of targeting that will vary the amount of damage you can inflict. A quick lock on a foe will present you with a tempting target; however, if you hold off on shooting for a few seconds, the lock-on will focus more on your quarry's areas of vulnerability so you can get the most bang for your bullet. We also saw in the demo how you can take human shields and do some fun, but violent, things to them when you're done killing them. You'll also find that you can smash people's heads into walls. While we got a taste of the gameplay in 100 Bullets, Acclaim will eventually be unveiling more of the gameplay mechanics, such as an under-wraps new feature that it claims will "blow away" bullet time.

100 Bullets is looking sharp. The game's slick look is the result of the Austin Studios' collaboration with Eduardo Risso, the comic's artist, to re-create the dense 2D worlds of the pages into rich 3D environments. We got only a brief glimpse at some of the different environments, but we saw little touches, such as neon lighting, that helped sell the overall look.

Based on what we've seen, 100 Bullets could be a very stylish entry in the action genre. The graphics are looking good, and the engine is already moving at a good clip. We'll be anxious to see how all the pieces come together. 100 Bullets is currently slated to ship this fall for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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