With Sly Cooper, Super Mario Sunshine, Ratchet and Clank, The Mark of Kri, and Zelda being the center of attention of all platform/adventure games, there lies one overlooked title from Electronic Arts - Ty the Tasmanian Tiger. I had a nice 30-40 minute hands-on play test with the game, while listening to John Passfield, Director of Development for Krome Studios, give me a great briefing on the game. The E3 demo looked great. The game was pushing an enormous amount of polygons per second, all while moving at a silky 60 frames per second. There were no hiccups with frames, and the camera was always on track and keeping up with every action.
As I played, I noticed our little protagonist, Ty, is a wielder of boomerangs. He's able to pick up various boomerangs that will help him get through specific obstacles, as the boomerangs all have their own elemental status. So if there is an object that needs to be frozen or burned down, in order for you to continue with your journey, you'll have to find either an icerang or firerang. The combat is rather simplistic, but enjoyable and well executed. The boomerangs are not only used as weapons, but can be also used as gliders, to help Ty achieve newer heights and not just plummet to the ground. Lastly, despite looking like a cute little lovable fella', Ty has a set of teeth and a jaw that can rip through anything - and yes they can be used as an attack.
Aesthetically, Ty is one of the most lush and vibrant platform titles in months. Jak and Daxter was the last game to look that bright and that vivacious. I made many comments on how the art direction was wonderful, and that it really did feel as if I was in the midst of an Australian jungle. It's obvious now that Ty's world is in Australia, and not some fictional wonder land that pretty much every other platform/adventure title uses. Locales that Ty will explore include jungles/rain forests, snowy mountains, desert terrains and barrier reefs. Within every stage there are foes and allies. The allies will help you as you progress in the game, meanwhile the foes will of course have to be dealt with. The foes and allies are all inspired by actual animals that can be found in the Australian outback, while Ty and the last boss, Cass, are both based off of extinct animals - the Tasmanian tiger and cassowary, respectively. In total, Ty will meet more than 50 characters.
Krome Studios isn't just focused on creating a simple platform title, but as a side addition they'll be adding mini-games to the mix, which include herding, collecting, riding vehicles, solving varied puzzles, and more. The game also featured excellent voice acting, complete with Aussie accents for extra realism and atmosphere. American voice actors also contributed for a little bit of variety.
The story of Ty is somewhat reminiscent to Spyro the Dragon's, but it's unique for the most part. Ty was raised by a pack of bilbies. He has very vague and faint memories of his family and friends and feels that he is the last surviving Tasmanian Tiger. Once, he got the chance to meet with a 'mystical elder', who tells Ty that his family of Tasmanian tigers are still alive but have been locked up and are trapped in another world - Dreamtime. Ty must now search for five stolen talismans and unlock the portal to Dreamtime in hopes of reuniting with his family. From what I played, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger was one incredibly fun platform title. Every fan of the genre should look forward to this game, as it was one of the bigger highlights at E3, for me. I thought it was a great game, with tons of Aussie atmosphere, which made the game feel irresistible and I'm anxiously looking forward to the final product. Currently, Ty is scheduled for a Winter 2002, don't miss it.
5/29/2002 Arnold Katayev