previews\ May 9, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Lunar Knights - NDS - Preview

E3 2006 First Look Preview

A desperate world, ruled by vampires.
Robbed of its sun, a planet engulfed in darkness.
Will the human race be enslaved by vampire thirst?
…Or fight and die for its freedom?

Lunar Knights looks like a good mix of action/RPG-style hack-n-slashing and third-person shooting from an isometric view. Add a plethora of spells and touch screen gameplay mechanics and Konami’s got a game that’s set apart from the crowd.

Take on the role of Lucian, a skilled swordsman, and Aaron, an apprentice sharpshooter. One can slash, the other can shoot. One likes to get up close and personal, the other would rather blast you into oblivion from across the room. Both can be controlled at any time. Switch between them instantly and seamlessly. Truly – the action was quick and painless, at least in video form. Gameplay looks fun and enticing. Character movements seemed slow but not too slow; somewhere between The Legend of Zelda and the Mana series from Square Enix.

Spells are particularly impressive, flooding the screen with splashes of bright, beautiful colors. Its appearance almost makes it feel like a 16-bit game, yet the beauty is far too advanced for any title from that era to compare (visually). Some of these spells/special attacks will have the power to wipe out several enemies with a single strike. Others might be less deadly too a crowd, but hit just as forcefully on the individual that receives it.

Weapons will be upgradeable, and apparently you’ll be able to harness the mighty power of the sun and the moon. Your guess is as good as any on that one, but additional attack and defense options are always welcome. Chances are it’ll turn out to be either of the two, possibly even both.

On the touch screen side of the spectrum, players will be able to draw on the screen to create destructive, enemy-abolishing forces. For example, there will come a time when you can scribble to form a deadly tornado. Run enemies, run! Rats, the twister got ya. Better luck next time.

Also taking advantage of the touch screen are the 3D space shooting stages. They reminded me of Star Fox, except now you can move the ship wherever you want, whenever you want just by dragging the stylus. The results might not be what you’re looking for – draw in the wrong direction and you’re bound to lose health points. With practice, however, this should become one of the most intuitive control schemes possible for a 3D shooter.

Coming this winter, Lunar Knights is a promising title that combines a cornucopia of gameplay elements for what is hopefully going to be a very unique experience.


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