previews\ Sep 24, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Harbinger - PC - Preview

DreamCatcher Interactive has been one of the gaming industry’s fastest growing companies, and should continue their exponential growth with the 2003 release of Harbinger, a hack-and-slash-and-blast action title set deep in space and far in the future.


While the action experience is non-stop, it’s Harbinger story that should keep gamers glued to their PCs trying to uncover the twists, turns, and corruption that abound in the game.  The developers of Harbinger have created a unique science fiction world completely its own, and an in-depth story to go along with it. 


In the not so near future, an unseen enemy, known only as the Overlord, is scouring the universe, collecting species of all kinds to enslave for its own fiendish plans.  At the center of this galactic pillaging is Harbinger, a massive starship harboring a multitude of aliens awaiting their fate, be it as slaves or subjects of insane experiments.  The Harbinger spacecraft is so big, that many of its levels go uncontrolled, leaving races to fend for themselves in this mobile wasteland.  Generations are born and eradicated, factions are created and destroyed, and, with your help, a hero will come to existence to figure out exactly what is going on in the lumbering slaveship. 


Players will be able to choose from one of three characters, each with their own storyline and possible outcomes.  Gamers can choose the human character, who was born on the Harbinger and knows a little more about surviving on the ship, the gladiator, who is actually the mind of an alien inside a smash-happy machine of destruction, and the Culibine, a female alien that relies on magical energies for survival.  25-30 hours of gameplay are promised for each character and, depending on which actions are taken in the game, various paths to victory are possible. 


The gameplay can simply be summed up as the ever-popular Diablo in space.  Largely point-and-click and kill everyone in sight, Harbinger assumes the same addictive-as-crack qualities that made Diablo a top-seller.  Acquiring more than 250 power-ups like an obsessive squirrel does nuts is a key component of the game.  A myriad of weapons, including guns, blades, gauntlets, and mines are at your disposal, and players will need to decide which ones to hold on to in their inventory for optimum effectiveness against enemies.  Speaking of enemies, Harbinger offers 65 unique types of enemies, some organic and some mechanical, all of whom will be at your mercy.  The enemy AI is fairly complex, so don’t expect them to take you one at a time or stand in the open like sitting ducks. 


The graphics are complemented by more than 70 levels and eight tile sets to keep the scenery interesting and constantly changing.  While much of the game is running through corridors, the size of the slaveship is evident on levels that are so wide open, they have their own ecosystem.  Harbinger’s graphics are based on a 2D sprite system, just like Diablo’s, so the action moves without hindrance. 


While multi-player modes haven’t been officially announced, they are a possibility for the final version. 


Look for Harbinger in stores in April of 2003. 

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