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05-05-2003, 07:12 AM
Drake (Xbox/PC)
Imitation is the sincerest form of dual-pistol ass-kicking.
By Benjamin Turner | May. 5, 2003

Game Stats
Platform: Xbox
Game Type: Action
Developer: Idol FX
Publisher: Majesco
Release Date: Q4 2003
ESRB: Rating Pending

A Little of This, A Little of That...

Video games rarely influence movies (Jackie Chan's City Hunter nonewithstanding), but movies are increasingly leaving a mark on gaming. Some games, like Metal Gear Solid 2 and The Getaway, seem like they actually want to be movies. Others are a little more subtle, but are heavily influenced nonetheless. Majesco's upcoming third-person action game, Drake, falls into this latter category, drawing inspiration from the legendary double-fisted handgun tomfoolery of Hong Kong luminary John Woo, the Batman: The Animated Series artistic sensibilities of Bruce Timm, and the slow-motion "bullet-time" shenanigans of the Wachowski brothers. Toss it all together, add an undead character, and you've got Drake.

Drake is a mysterious killer from the ultra-secretive 99 Dragons Clan. Unfortunately, the secret must have gotten out, because the entire clan is brutally executed and the artifact they were guarding is stolen. Most people would just give up at this point, but not my man Drake. Not content to sit and rot, he rises from his grave with an eye toward obtaining justice. (That's a nice way of saying revenge.) Oblivious to his plight's startling similarities to the plot of Sega's Gungrave, Drake sets out to right those wrongs ... or at least shoot bad men.

Drawing Inspiration

At its heart, Drake is a 3D shooter in the vein of Max Payne and Gungrave. The action is viewed from behind Drake's back, so you're free to observe your anti-hero's every dive, roll, and acrobatic maneuver. Drake is quite the acrobat, being able to leap from high roofs into the fray below while simultanously plugging baddies with his twin pistols. Accomplishing all of these actions at once will be made easier on the player through the game's slow-motion and freeze-motion features. Being able to slow down the action at will makes aiming immeasurably easier, allowing for some really sweet-looking bits of gun-based ballet. Drake'll also have an assortment of up-close melee weapons, for when a bullet just isn't good enough.

It really does look like an episode of Batman. The game's visuals should have a pretty sharp look. They're clearly inspired by the production design of Batman: The Animated Series, which is readily apparent to anyone who's seen even one episode of Fox's well-liked cartoon. The resemblance is uncanny, actually -- I'm surprised the developers have gone as far as they have in replicating that series' motif. The flat-shaded 3D character models follow suit, with super-square lantern jaws and severe angles that can't help but remind you of Warner Bros.' cartoon.

Under Wraps

Beyond that, not much more is known. Majesco is keeping Drake under pretty tight wraps, so we can't give any hands-on impressions yet -- perhaps at E3 in two weeks. John Woo-inspired action games are hardly uncommon these days, but Drake's combination of high-tension gunplay and uniquely cartoonish visuals could make for an interesting change of pace. It's not due until the fall, so Idol FX has plenty of time to pull it all together and deliver a shooter to remember. •


05-05-2003, 09:41 AM
Ahh...another cel-shaded title, tired of these ones even a la Max Payne style. :o

05-05-2003, 12:06 PM
Sure has that Fear Effect look to it, I'l be tryin this one