Acclaim is working on a number of PS2 titles right now. One of their biggest projects is a game by the name of Vexx, which has already undergone 2 years of development. In this 3D platformer, you take the role of a very bizarre looking creature named Vexx. As the story starts, Vexx discovers that his grandfather has been unlawfully murdered. The culprits are the Shadowraith, "Dark Yabu", and his band of minion. In hopes to avenge his grandfather's wrongful death, Vexx sets out on a quest to bring the guilty party to justice, by sneakily bording the enemy's windship. Unfortunately, Vexx isn't that big nor is he intimidating, and his arsenal is quite the opposite of impressive. As Vexx is trapped on the enemy's ship, he scours around the ship in hopes of a weapon. Ironically, he stumbles across a damn nice weapon, the last pair of Astani Battle gauntlets -- the only weapon powerful enough to stop the evil Yabu, which is why there were locked up. Yadu locked these gauntlets up, and hoped that no one would ever set them free, uh oh! Now the deck of cards may be a bit more even, as these gloves posses an immensity of power, turning Vexx into a dauntless warrior with powers that would initially be perceived unthinkable.
From the moment you lay eyes on the intrepid Vexx, you'll discover that he looks both odd and vicious at the same time. His face hints that his looks were built around an ape-like creature, while also wielding traits from other animal characteristics. Vexx was also drawn nicely resulting in a very alluring, yet strange, protagonist.
The other facets of the graphics prove to be just as impressive. The backgrounds and different inanimate objects placed throughout the levels are drenched with color, resulting in a lush, vibrant look. Additionally, the lighting and particle effects are also nicely on track, despite the game's early development stage. The shadowing system is also an eye-catching feat, which helps pull off the game's brightening special effects in a dark atmosphere. In addition to the incredible real-time graphics, Acclaim has also implemented concept art into key areas of the game, which helps to broaden the overall look of the game.
The development team is currently working on Vexx is also the one that's built the great Turok franchise. So it's only natural that the upcoming Turok game and Vexx share the same core technology. Therefore, when the team improves upon one part of Vexx, or a part of Turok, that improvement can then be incorporated into the other game, which basically lets the developers kill two birds with one stone. This doesn't mean that the two share same gameplay elements, though.
Acclaim has implemented a nice layout of gameplay options, and some are quite rare for a game in this genre. The special gloves that Vexx previously acquired allow him to cling to walls, letting him transverse parts of the levels from above the ground. Speaking of levels, Acclaim has dressed the 18 levels with a bunch of different settings: deep volcanoes, underwater cities, giant's castles, frozen citadels, ice caves, and desert temples to name a few.
Vexx will also feature a lot of jumping sequences, which will take multiple tries to master. The enemies therefore probably won't be the main threat; however, you can't take them for granted, because they will just make the task of jumping and the such that more arduous. You will also have a choice of how to explore parts of the levels: climbing or platform jumping. If you chose to scale the walls then the road to victory will be harder. However, the rewards are much better.
Here is a brief rundown of the features that will be included upon Vexx's release:
- 18 huge levels to explore
- Hidden multi-player modes which you can unlock as progression is made throughout the single-player mode
- Free climbing mode lets players explore levels in a whole new way
- Day-to-night has been implemented, making the lighting in the sky change and the enemies coincide with the time of day
- Combo attacks can also be used
- Hidden sundials let players change the time of day
- Epic soundtrack and stunning 3D sound effects
- Advance environment mapping produce incredible reflections, glows, and highlights on Vexx's metal gloves and knee guards
With Maximo and Jak & Daxter setting the bar to a substantial degree for platformers to come, Vexx just might be the platformer that matches that height, or better yet, takes the bar to the next notch. Vexx is still undergoing about six months of development. Keep your eyes peeled for Acclaim's intriguing platformer this Fall.
3/15/2002 Joseph Comunale