I recently got a chance to play this new shooter at an arcade in Iowa City, Iowa, of all places.
It's sorta like Virtua Cop or Time Crisis, a typical rail shooter, with one big twist: the machine has motion sensing devices! So to duck, you actually physically duck, and to avoid bullets you physically dodge left or right.
I was astonished how well this actually works. I'm sure everyone has watched somebody play a game of Quake, or whatever, and seen the (often hilarious) unintentional "body english" that people put into the game. Well, this game simply harnesses your normal physical urge to duck and dodge. It's completely natural! And surprisingly accurate, too. There is quite a bit of subtlety in the system; you can lean in just a bit to peek or make a full lunge over.
Anyway, wow. I was impressed! I've seen plenty of lame arcade gimmickry in my day, and this is the only one I can ever recall that actually makes the game BETTER.
Have you guys seen it or tried it? Zow.
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 09:06 pm:
Just wanted to add. I am a light gun game junkie. I fell in love with Virtua Cop back in, what was it, 1993?
Imagine my surprise when Namco practically reinvents the "rail" shooter by actually adding some (gasp!) player control-- the foot pedal for reload/duck. I know, it doesn't sound like much, but combined with the 2 player cooperative mode where you can actually SEE (and potentially shoot) your buddy in the levels, it definitely kicked the genre up a notch.
I picked up Time Crisis 2 with the GunCon2 for the PS2, and it's really quite good. As you would expect from a port of a three year old arcade game, it's substantially better than the arcade version graphically. In particular, I love the misty gun smoke and haze resulting from all the gunfire. Of course all that is worthless without a good lightgun.. and as a second-generation device, the GunCon2 has a lot to recommend it. It's accurate, though I found it much less so at the extreme end of the cable range. And the GunCon2 has a nice little d-pad on the back which is quite comfortable and easy to operate with the thumb in a two-handed grip. Additionally, there's a button on the bottom where the 'clip' would go, too. So you have your choice of duck/reload interfaces..
Now if they could just fix the appallingly low resolution of almost every PS2 game. Good freakin' god. I'd swear Doom's 320x240 looked almost as good. The problem is severe-- grain-o-rama.
I did play with the PC lightgun that InterAct released, and it was sorta interesting. There were two mods for Quake 2 and Half-Life that made those games kinda-sorta playable with a lightgun. But it's one of those things where the game really has to be designed around the peculiarities of the lightgun. Eg, all aiming, no movement.
That's why I was so intrigued by the Police 911 game referenced above-- it allows "body english" to move the viewpoint while aiming the gun.
By spigot on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 11:53 am:
I love that Police 911 game. There is also a boxing game in the arcades which uses the same technology. It is a LOT of fun and even tells you how many calories you burned... heck, if I had one of those in my house, I'd probably get back in shape again.
By Johan Freeberg on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 12:18 pm:
"-- it allows "body english" to move the viewpoint while aiming the gun. "
In Finland we do not have such english things here, only different, or how would we know how, in Finland? Amusement games are only for the homes. Although you can still be amused elsewhere!
By Alan Au (Itsatrap) on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 05:27 pm:
Didn't one of the MS game controllers have some motion sensing built in? (I think it was the Freestyle gamepad)
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 07:30 pm:
Yeah, there are a number of controllers with this tilt feature (the MS Sidewinder Freestyle, etc). It works great in a few games and is totally marginal in the other 98 percent.
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Sunday, December 9, 2001 - 11:28 pm:
I just got another guncon2 when I purchased Vampire Hunters for the PS2. It's an OK lightgun game, oddly featuring some of the best effects I've seen on the PS2, albeit in super-grainy mode as always.
But you know what rules? Two gun mode in Time Crisis 2. My god, it's so ghetto, that you just can't help laughing while playing. Unquestionably one of the more sublime gaming experiences I've had recently. There is something so cathartic about getting a 9 hit combo on some hapless baddie, John Woo style.
And it's funny. Incredibly funny. Two gun mode is not about accuracy, which is abundantly clear when you actually try it instead of watching it in Boyz n the Hood*. I could not stop laughing.
Even TRYING to aim both guns at once is sketchy at best. It's not a total crapshoot-- you can get reasonably close to your target, but it's total spray n' pray beyond that. When I needed accuracy, I would hold both guns the same way but only fire one of them. HUGE accuracy improvement, which surprised me.
I guess the arcade game offers this option (?) but it never even *occurred* to me to pick up both guns in a two-gun arcade rig. And I was generally there with someone else who wanted to play, anyhow.
Anyway, if you have the means, I highly recommend it. I mean, damn, if you've ever considered buying those ridiculous Samba maracas, this can't be that much more of an extravagance.
* Isn't it hard to imagine Cuba Gooding as a menacing gangsta now?
By Mark Bussman on Sunday, December 9, 2001 - 11:44 pm:
"I guess the arcade game offers this option (?) but it never even *occurred* to me to pick up both guns in a two-gun arcade rig."
Yeah, if I needed to blow off steam for some reason, I discovered this was a good way to do it.
By Supertanker on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 03:36 am:
Police 911 was pretty fun, but now I've got my eye out for a Mocap Boxing.
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 05:43 pm:
Is that the arcade boxing game referenced above?
By Greg Kasavin on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 08:30 pm:
Wumpus, you a fan of House of the Dead 2? Light gun games used to scare me until I finally tried them after years of being intimidated by them. I remember games like Operation Wolf--the screen was filled with people shooting right at YOU. I couldn't handle that.
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 10:56 pm:
I just had a little Operation Wolf flashback. Thanks. Man that game was cool-- the shattering windows, the vibrating gun.
I considering buying Typing of the Dead, just to reward whatever publisher had the balls to publish that here.
But I am a fan of House of the Dead, and I have the PC version. I'm so far gone, in fact, that I owned the PC lightgun from InterAct. (wincing) You know, that thing that Yossarian Wortzik used to hold up those people at the 2000 ISDMA awards ceremony?
He writes about it, but I lived it, man. I lived it.
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Monday, December 10, 2001 - 10:59 pm:
Speaking of that boxing game. Holy crap, I could actually get into shape with something like that! Give me a game that's fun, that can capture my movements effectively (read: not those ridiculous simple dance games which are like regressive forms of Twister).. and I am SO there.
Bowflex, eat your heart out.
By Kool Moe Dee on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 01:19 am:
Typing of the Dead is a fine game that should be owned by anyone who appreciates fun.
Seriously, for $20 it's the Serious Sam for people who don't like first-person shooters.
By Dave Long on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 12:00 pm:
Typing of the Dead is just so way the heck out there. My wife was rolling on the floor laughing when she finished the first level and in run two other "typists" with Dreamcasts on their backs and a keyboard strapped to their front.
It's so insanely weird it's cool! It does make you a better typist too so it's fun AND educational...and it's got the UNDEAD! How can that go wrong? It's like Super Monkey Ball... you're a monkey, in a ball...you can just imagine the designer coming up with that and everyone around him equating it with the word fun.
By Bub (Bub) on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 12:36 pm:
I love Typing of the Dead.
It's the Game of the Year!
There's only one design decision I can't figure out. They require the use of the shift key for punctuation, but they don't require the space bar.