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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Multiplatform
PUBLISHER:
Microsoft
DEVELOPER:
Bungie
GENRE: First Person Shooter
PLAYERS:   1-16
RELEASE DATE:
July 05, 2005
ESRB RATING:
Mature
IN THE SERIES
Halo Wars 2

Halo 5 Guardians

Halo: New 343 Industries Game

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

Halo: Reach

More in this Series
RELATED GAMES
Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends
Gears of War
Conker: Live and Reloaded
Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack
Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes
 Written by Glenn Wigmore  on May 31, 2005

Special: Microsoft made headlines by unveiling Xbox 360 on MTV, but don't forget about its Xbox and PC lineups. Glenn takes a look at the games for both platforms in addition to some Xbox 360 titles.


The Microsoft booth at this year's E3 was somewhat limited in terms of games (well, true first-party games, anyway), but it did still have some hit franchises on display, as well as some vaunted second-party stuff to check out.

Xbox Games
Conker: Live and Reloaded
Conker: Live and Reloaded was playable in many kiosks at the Xbox/MS booth and it appears to be shaping up as a fairly entertaining, mindless shooter. The epic struggle between the squirrels and the teddies is coming together, and Xbox Live users ? especially those who dug Wolfenstein and MechAssault ? should have a good time, here.

Conker: Live and Reloaded is basically a port of the N64 ?classic,? but with Xbox Live support, heavily upgraded graphics, and a few new surprises. It appears most of the original game has made its way over to the current-gen hardware, and the graphics look very sharp (in a cartoonish sort of way). The Live support should be great fun, albeit a bit on the mindless side. It isn't as if the game takes no effort, but some of the conflicts do end rather arbitrarily, and most battles will end up just being straight out wars of attrition rather than skilled tactical procedures. Granted, this is half of the fun in Conker, but hopefully it has balanced enough units and gametypes to keep things hopping along.

The D-Day level was one of the feature sections shown at E3, and it allowed squirrels to advance on the teddies' beach stronghold with their flamethrowers, bazookas, machine guns, and grenades. The fire and particle effects on explosions looked quite good, and there was no crippling slowdown during large firefights. The online portion is borrowing from good source material, as the ?class? system from Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Star Wars: Battlefront will be used to deploy medics, soldiers, heavy artillery troops, and pilots.

Conker seems like it is coming along well and it should serve to bolster Xbox Live until the advent of the 360 later this fall.


Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes
Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes is the sequel to Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders, and this follow-up was playable (for both versions) on the show floor. This sequel will actually chronicle events of side characters in the first game and will serve as a prequel that will inform players of the build up to certain events that played out previously.

The action will once again be a blend of RTS and hack-and-slash action, with hundreds of characters and objects on the screen at once. Like before, you'll be able to manipulate forces across the battlefield from afar, but then jump in to take charge of hero characters that are right in the action. There will also be 40 unit types this time around and many new abilities for heroes who survive battles.

Xbox Live support should be much bigger as well, with support for up to six players. The new ?Invasion? mode should be great fun, as three players can team up to defend their fortress against wave after wave of incoming enemies. There will also be the standard skirmish mode, as well as a Hero battle mode that will allow characters to clash against each other without soldier accompaniment.

The game seemed visually impressive with many units on screen at once and it will also feature a new mix of Korean metal music for the game's soundtrack. Look for Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes in late 2005.


Halo 2: Multiplayer Map Pack
The Halo 2: Multiplayer Map Pack was also on display in four kiosks at the Xbox booth and it featured all of the five new maps that have yet to be released over Xbox Live. Relic and Terminal were two that I personally checked out and each of them played fairly well. Relic was on a large beach/island terrain, with rocks and towers peppering the landscape. Terminal is a large station (w/ a bullet train going by occasionally) that features quite a few vehicles. Both maps played very well and displayed good balance, as no one team was dominating due to spawn points or vehicle/weapon placement. More Halo 2 is always a good thing, I say.


PC Games
Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends
Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends was shown to us by developer Brian Reynolds and it looks to bring the established gameplay of Rise of Nations up a notch, all the while adding breathtaking new visuals. This fantasy game features two warring nations: one of them has a magical focus, and the other group uses primitive steampunk technology to get things done.

Resource collecting is an essential part of the game and it will assist you in augmenting your sprawling cities, which are truly amazing to look at in Rise of Legends. In some ways, it's almost worth having your city toppled just to see the eye-popping physics that each building displays when it is brought down. Spires and pieces of mortar fly everywhere and roll down hills, sometimes even affecting nearby soldiers ? pretty sweet.

There are also various techniques and technologies that your people can research, and these can be helpful for battles, as you might get new flying units or abilities that will help turn the tide.

Look for Rise of Legends in early to mid-2006.

Xbox 360 Games
Gears of War
Gears of War was shown in video form ? being played by the developer ? and it looks to be one hell of a game. Gears of War, as said by the developer, combines elements of survival horror games with aspects of a third-person shooter. Calling to mind Halo and the movie ?Pitch Black,? the game puts you in charge of a small band of marines (you control one of them directly and lead others) as they traverse a planet with deadly aliens who fear the light, but feast in the night.

The game takes place from behind the shoulder of your main character, but closes in tighter when you're engaging the enemy. A robust cover system was displayed that allowed the character to dive behind cars, corners of buildings, and low concrete walls. At one point, the marine even started firing blindly from behind his cover to suppress two alien creatures that were lurking towards him (but they were also using cover).

The game looks visually amazing, and it almost seems to be, at this early stage, a frontrunner to give Halo 3 a challenge as the 360's top game. The lighting effects throughout the street, the detail in the character model's armour, and the fluidity in which action plays out are all strikingly real, and it appears that the whole game will be a visual and aural powerhouse.



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