On call at Darkwatch Academy Feature - The Next Level

On call at Darkwatch Academy

Sammy educates us on their upcoming one-of-a-kind, action thriller! Our impressions inside.

Article by Rich Marshall (Email)
November 25th 2004, 06:10AM
 

Up until last week, I never heard of Darkwatch. This week I anxiously look forward to it. Three years ago, Sammy entered the gaming business and by October, 2002, decided on creating a title called Darkwatch -- but ultimately, the concept and genre would take time to materialize.

A platformer? Nope -- platformers are a fading genre.

Racing game? Nah -- Sammy's strength is character based games.

A FPS? Eureka.

Western shooters are still uncommon despite the release of games such as Red Dead Revolver. But Western...Vampire games? Yes! Cowboys vs. Vampires! Hell, aside from Dracula Vs. Billy the Kid, vampire westerns are totally non-existent.

One question Sammy had to answer was how to make a Western game without boring environments and slow gameplay. Well, uhh, vampires help. Add the two together and you've got an original idea for a game that won't bore you to tears. Originally, Sammy started making a comedy western but decided for a more serious tone because, well, there should be no comedy in a FPS. Even the character design of the main character, Jericho, portrays this decision as it made the transition from a "Woody" look alike to the Jericho we see now.

The Darkwatch is an organization in operation for millenia that has worked towards protecting mankind from those dirty vampires. Darkwatch, however, has been battling evil so long that they themselves have started to become dark and corrupt. They've started using vampire skin as armor, bones for fuel and blood for alchemistic experiments. The story picks up with Jericho, a train robber, discovering a new train that, of coarse, he will try to rob. Upon entering the train, belonging to Darkwatch Jericho finds a vault that piques his interest as a criminal. Upon blowing the safe, Jericho releases an ancient vampire lord that Darkwatch had worked so hard to contain. The vampire turns Jericho into a half-vampire and escapes. Cassidy, the Darkwatch agent who attempted to stop Jericho from blowing the safe, then offers Jericho the option to join Darkwatch, recognizing that he has the potential be a super weapon against vampires and he would help greatly in recapturing the vampire lord.

Single player ranges from vehicles to horses to foot, and weapons include rockets, crossbows, snipers, rifles, maces, stationary turrets, and even shotguns. Early in the game, you sink your teeth into Shadow, turning him into a vampire horse and a trusted friend throughout the game. Riding Shadow plays an important role in Darkwatch; allowing you to shoot off of him as he races along (on rails) permitting you to destroy everyone on top of the parallel train for example.

Most importantly: Xbox Live, with support for up to 16 players. The Darkwatch multiplayer maps are, according to Sammy, "better than any multiplayer maps out there." Online mode features various modes including huge Capture the Flag maps which show off the Xbox's power. Multiplayer vehicles also made an appearance. No question which system I'll be picking Darkwatch up for.


Stay tuned for additional upcoming Darkwatch highlights in the near future...






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