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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
GameCube
PUBLISHER:
Capcom
DEVELOPER:
Capcom
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1
RELEASE DATE:
September 09, 2003
ESRB RATING:
Teen
 Written by Jeff Milligan  on June 12, 2003

First Impressions: Apparently product numbers 1 and 2 didn't fair so well during their trial runs, but product number 3 looks promising!


If there's one inevitable point one could make about Capcom as a company, it's that they know how to grab the attention of gamers. Yet, they don't seem to stop there. Once they've captured your attention, Capcom then likes to kick it up somewhere between 3 and 47 notches. Let's face it; we all knew that the announcement for Resident Evil 4 was coming. However, what we didn't see coming was the rest of the package coming along side RE4. Not only does Capcom make the call to continue one of the greatest survival horror series in existence, but then they add the announcement for Viewtiful Joe, P.N.03, Dead Phoenix, and Killer 7, all GameCube exclusives. And here we are, drooling on ourselves because we were exposed to this all at once. The announcement was soon dubbed ?The Capcom 5?, and likewise became one of the biggest announcements in recent video game history. Yet it's just now that these games are taking full effect, and the first in line to roll out of production studio 4 at Capcom is none other than P.N.03.

Back in January, Nintendo Target ran its first look at the Capcom 5, and even though the likes of Viewtiful Joe and Resident Evil 4 were present, P.N.03 became one of our most anticipated titles of the group. Maybe it's the futuristic theme, or maybe it's the amazingly tight suits Vanessa wears, but there was something about P.N.03 that intrigued us. Now here we are in June, and Nintendo Target is finally putting together its full preview for P.N.03. Know what the funny part is? We're actually more excited now then we were back then.

The story behind P.N.03 is a simple one, but one that drives the rest of the game. The main playable character is Vanessa Z. Schneider, a free-lance mercenary living sometime in the future who sells her incredible mech-killing skills to the highest bidder. However, there's more behind this vixen's career besides monetary gain. Vanessa's parents were killed by machines, and she's out seeking revenge by destroying as many metallic foes as possible. Lucky for us, we get to view the mayhem from behind our controllers while snacking on kettle chips (ahh kettle chips, the perfect side-dish?for revenge).

One of the features that makes P.N.03 stand out from the rest of the crowd for us is the mission based gameplay style. P.N.03, put simply, is pure arcade-style action. The game revolves around Vanessa destroying lots and lots of robotic enemies, but there's more to it than that. Players will also have to dodge enemy attacks using Vanessa's insane acrobatic maneuvers. The trailer released by Capcom displayed exactly what this entails, as it shows her flipping, cart-wheeling, and splitting between all sorts of lasers and missiles, all the while shooting off her own weaponry and blowing up anything that moves.

Throughout the game, Vanessa will receive a number of different objectives from her clients, which means she'll be doing a lot of traveling, and a lot of havoc-wreaking. Mission objectives range from infiltrating buildings, to destroying certain targets. In mission #1 for example, we find Vanessa in the middle of a dessert, with her client demanding that she infiltrate a nearby building, and defeat the boss within. Later on in the game, your clients may get a bit pickier with their demands, which means Vanessa's going to need some better equipment.

We've already commented on how we like Vanessa's skin-tight suits, but there's more to them than just making her look sexy. The aptly dubbed ?Aegis Suit? isn't just your everyday sneaking suit. This unique set of threads can be upgraded between missions, enabling Vanessa to get more and more advanced as missions progress. The Aegis Suit, which starts at Level-1, can be upgraded to Level-3 by collecting points (more on that in a bit). Stats that can be upgraded include ?attack power?, ?defense power?, and ?energy?. Each level of the Aegis Suit has a maximum amount that these stats can reach, which is why upgrading is essential.

Taking a look at Vanessa's on-screen display, you'll notice 2 main areas. The first area is located in the upper-left hand corner of the screen, which contains your gauges. The orange gauge represents Vanessa's energy drive, which is consumed when Vanessa's energy drive is used (duh!). The green gauge represents Vanessa's barrier, which is basically her life, as if this gauge is depleted, the game is over. Items can be found in various locations throughout the game to replenish both gauges. Below these 2 status bars is a number. This represents your point value, which goes hand-in-hand with the 2nd area on the on-screen display. Located in the upper right-hand portion of the screen, you'll notice lots of numbers. This is Vanessa's ?combo? display. When enemies are struck down continuously, combo mode is enabled. Combo mode allows players to build points at a more rapid rate, enabling the Aegis Suit to be upgraded more quickly. The current amount of points gained in the combo, as well as the amount of consecutive hits is displayed in the combo area of the screen.

I'm going to be honest with you. If P.N.03 moves as flawlessly as it does in the released trailers and videos, then it might have some of the best graphics we've ever seen in a video game. Enemies and environments are extremely smooth and sharp thus far, and if combined with a good frame-rate, could pull off one serious graphical interface for the GameCube. Of course, all we can do is wish for the best, and hope that Capcom can fulfill our graphical desires.

Final Thoughts
P.N.03 will be the first of the 5 games being produced by Capcom's 4th production studio to ship to stores. A futuristic mech-killing assassin hell-bent on seeking revenge. Not a bad way to kick-start your new line of video games, eh? P.N.03 ships this September, so be prepared to kick robot booty like never before.


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