Specials: The Activision booth will be your DOOM because you're too busy playing Spider-Man 2, THUG 2, Dead Rush, The Movies, X-Men Legends and Doom 3, you won't even know the world is being overrun by zombies!
Doom 3 (Xbox)
I dared to play Doom 3 for Xbox during this year's E3, and damn was I impressed. Activision's booth featured a tiny dark room where four players could partake in their own Doom campaign. The darkness caused the game's colors to seem even creepier. The headphones allowed the zombie's moans to echo through you ears. The smell, well, the game didn't have a smell, but the dark room did?and it smelled like urine. But I'd be darned if that slight setback was going to stop me from proceeding with Doom 3. As I ventured into the second room of the demo, I took out a flashlight to guide me through the pitch black environment. However, the handgun I had was more useful seconds later when a previously unimposing body leapt up and tried to have its way with me. One round of bullets finished the undead and made it redead. The third room contained a creature with slightly more AI as it crisscrossed between pillars for protection. I picked up a shotgun and proceeded to a hallway where I was confronted by a zombie that clearly had an obesity problem. After pulling the trigger on the shotgun, he gut was busted and his body was blasted from sight. Once I killed one or two more enemies, I came across the game first obstacle in which I flipped a switch to turn off an electric ray, preceded down the tunnel before it turned back on and pressed the left thumbstick to duck to alcove. My Doom 3 demo came to an end after I did this, so you'll have to trust that I made it to the alcove before the ray was turned back on since I can't tell you what was on the other side. I can say that Doom 3 was the best first-person shooter I was able to play at E3 2004 due to its excellent Halo-influenced control scheme, Resident Evil-style scare tactics, and Xbox graphics that just can't be compared.
X-Men Legends (PS2, Xbox, GameCube)
The X-Men have battled it out in both fighting and adventure games over the past couple of years, but the mutants are putting on a fresh face in a new Action-RPG called X-Men Legends. The game gives players a chance to pick from 15 of the X-Men, assemble four of them for team-based missions, and upgrade their various attributes based on experience points. It's a lot like an action game, only stats are involved in the game. This seems like the perfect blend for a superhero because it's more than just a mindless brawler and, at the same time, not slowed down by turn-based gameplay. Such a game wouldn't work unless characters like Wolverine are able to utilize their quick pace and fierce fighting in real-time. X-Men Legends does just this with tons of Sentinels to take down, objectives to complete, and upgrades to be sought. While only play won't be a part of the action, there will be a 2-player cooperative play plus a four player skirmish mode. Maybe, just maybe, X-Men Legends will flourish into a never-ending franchise much like the X-Men fighting series so an online mode and four-player co-op support will come about.
The Movies (PS2, Xbox, GameCube
We've seen tons of movies made into video game and several vice-versa. However, no one has ever made a video game about making a movie before Peter Molyneux's The Movies. PC gamers may remember Molyneux's highly-acclaimed work on Black & White. The Movies work in a similar fashion, but instead of being a god, players assume the role of a Hollywood movie producer (which is perfect since many think they are gods). But, because you start out as a small studio during the silent film era, there's no acting like a media mogul just yet. Instead, you can leave that to the professional actors that are either easy to work with or show very large egos. It's all a part of the movie business, baby, and that's what The Movies is all about. It does allow players that prefer to just make movies and skip the super-intricate nature of the game to scale things back, but that customizable game elements are where things get fun. There's far too to comprehend in one sitting of the demo and to explain in a simple profile. But I can say that The Movies is for anyone
that likes movies (unlike TBS which only presents "Movies for Guys that like Movies"). Although I don't think they'll be making a movie about making video games, this video game about making movies is both movie magic and video game gold.
Dead Rush (PS2, Xbox, GameCube
Think back to last year's horror movie called 28 Days Later, and you'll have a pretty good idea for what Activision's action-oriented horror title Dead Rush has in store for itself. Similar in many ways to 28 Days Later's storyline, a citywide crisis has occurred. A chaotic earthquake has erupted in the island town of East Port, causing buildings to crumble and the whole island to desecrate in its wake. From this unexpected turn of events, a dark haze shrouds the city. Of the people who couldn't just lay witness to this atrocity, but tried to run from it while passing through the fog, have transformed into mindless and unnatural cannibals: zombies. Your part in this mess will be Jake, a man who wakes up with an injury and doesn't remember what happened to him. Through radio communication with people who are still "normal," Jake will endure through a third-person shooting frenzy and most of all car driving missions to find out what happened to this city, and most of all escape from its ruin. Interestingly, riding in cars will be Jake's main protection for getting around the city, as hundreds of zombie people will roam the streets, as well as other things like giant lizard creatures that can tear the roof straight off his car. Gaining new vehicle parts from completing various objectives and being able to repair the car while in-game will become significant to surviving this rampant horror. Dead Rush is scheduled for release sometime in 2005.
Spider-Man 2 (PS2, Xbox, GameCube, GBA)
Everyone's favorite wall-crawler is returning to the big screen this summer. Lucky for gamers, Activision again is attempting to recreate the movie experience in a way that does more than any video game conversion of a movie item has before it. Unlike two years ago, however, Spider-Man 2 is not intended to be some simple action game that throws in Spider-Man, the main villain, and a host of a few other formidable Spidey foes. This time, Activision and developer Treyarch want to do what wasn't thought to be possible in a Spider-Man game. They're scaling an entire virtual New York City that you'll not just be able to wander around in limited segments of, but instead all around it. From the top of skyscrapers all the way to the street levels, Spider-Man this time will see New York City for what it really is. Retooling the web system too, players will find a more intuitive and realistic webslinging mechanic as webs will actually stick to buildings or other objects, and only those things -- meaning, no more nonsensical physics. Borrowing Grand Theft Auto's open-ended and mission-based gameplay, Spider-Man will also have the chance to interact with people who offer side quests aside from his main missions. These, which will result from webbing up thieves to retrieving a balloon that's way up high will give Spider-Man hero points that count toward improving his spider abilities. Shaping up to be one webberiffic game, Spider-Man 2 will be spinning its way onto multiple platforms late next month.
Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (PS2, Xbox, GameCube)
I'm going to fly like a Hawk and skate like a Tony, 'cause Activision's back with its skating series that isn't phony. Yo, homie, last year the Neversoft crew went back to the street life -- eliminating what seemed to be the never-ending "Pro" challenge with a slit in the throat from a knife. Ending the professional gig, you started out as a nobody skate kid. Doing your thing, styling and wiling, skating all undetectable until you were respectable. That was the year before, this is the year now, and Activision says they've got a better edition that's going to make you say, "WOW!" How? Vandalizing walls, throwing stuff at peeps to make them fall, and riding new vehicles than even in the last game, ya'll. But that's not all, players can select amongst 20 skaters to partake in levels around the world to have a grand ball. Switching between dual characters while in-game, this Tony Hawk title won't be the same. Heights will be bigger, skyscraper-like, and you can get off your board again and do a round-the-block hike. Slowing down time and tricking out will also be a new thing, along with the addition of more than 100 new missions between the THUG method or back to the two minute strings. So listen up ya'll: Tony Hawk's Underground 2 is coming out this fall! Word.