previews\ Jan 21, 2003 at 7:00 pm

Murakumo: Renegade Mech Pursuit - XB - Preview

The city has been evacuated ­ which is indeed a good thing. With those Mechs zipping between, above and around buildings, blasting away at one another, civilians would likely get hurt. That would be contrary to the goals behind Murakumo: Renegade Mech Pursuit.

The Ubi Soft/From Software title is slated for release in March, but was invited along for the ride in the preview build of the game.

Essentially Murakumo is a pursuit-shooter game that puts players in the pilot’s seat of a highly-evolved personal aerial Mech, then sends them coursing through the skies in a big city (with plenty of high rises) to shoot down enemy Mechs.

Get too far away from your target and it’s game over.

It can be easier to be the prey rather than the pursuer. The latter has no idea where the object of the hunt is going and you need to make split-second decisions to keep up. It takes a fine hand to juggle the booster/brake controls, adjust altitude, dodge structures and blast away at your foe.

The control elements of this game are very simple to use, and players will be deep in the heart of battle within minutes of launching the title.

Key features include: four game modes broken into trial mode (10 bosses and a score which you can beat) scenario (storyline-driven game play), free mission (replay completed mission) and expert (10 new challenges); 20 intense missions, and a host of Murakumo weaponry such as plasma swords, beam rifles and sniper cannons.

Each one of the Mechs has certain specializations, which aid in the battle against the renegades. The Cloud Breaker 01, also known as the Vanguard, is a balanced machine while the 03 model, or Equalizer, has emphasized firepower.

The control elements are set up for simplicity, which is a good thing. In the beta received, the environments were more akin to maze walls, and not that interactive. Flying into a building was merely hitting a wall that stopped all forward progress. But the nature of this maze does lend itself well to the challenge of the chase.

The special effects were quite solid, and the overall look of the game was lush and crisp. The sound effects were also well done, with the communication crackling and the onboard systems sending messages.

Murakumo: Renegade Mech Pursuit is not the most in-depth game, but with its excellent graphics, straightforward game play (this is not so much a cerebral challenge as it is a reflexive one) and numerous missions, this is a game that could do well with shooter fans.

This is a single-player game that will likely receive a Teen rating for violence.

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