Preview By: Thomas Cap
While visiting Konami at Games Convention 2003 we had a unique chance to have a first look at a beta build of their upcoming action / fps game Apocalyptica and talk to one of the developers – this is what this preview is based on.
Armageddon has been and gone. The Earth became the battleground for the wars between the forces of Heaven and Hell. So great was the number of souls corrupted, so numerous the sins, that Satan was able to manifest on Earth. The Faithful fled to the farthest reaches of the universe and established the colonies of New Babylon, Red Bethlehem, Golgotha the cathedral world and many others. A new order was born to protect the masses from the evil that had so very nearly brought an end to humanity. The Lord's wrath brought Armageddon to Earth in a great cleansing flame, destroying Satan and his followers. More millennia passed and mankind's assembled armies patrolled the universe against the day when Satan might return. He had not been idle. Reborn from the flames as Neo-Satan, he gathered about him the remains of the souls of humanity and set about building an army, vowing to avenge himself. He declared the Earth as a new outpost of Hell and it was thusly renamed as Nu-Hades.
While aiming at an audience that will play this game online, Apocalyptica also offers a great single player experience. You can choose your character from 4 different classes and the AI will control the other three characters whenever they join you. Hence you cannot swap characters during the game, so you may even - after finishing all 18 levels – want to play it all over with another character.
The templars are the melee fighters of your team. They often carry swords to slay the wicked ones and their combat skills are superior but they certainly lack the firepower needed for certain situations.
The nuns are the most faithful characters and are fast and deadly in combat. They too lack power when it comes to ranged combat and their melee attacks are not as strong but they are very balanced characters who can do a little of everything.
The seraphs are perhaps the most interesting class. Half human and half angel they are the spell casters of the group. Protective and healing spells but also powerful spells for attacking make this one a deadly enemy if you are unprepared. And they're very fast too...
The combat droids finally are nothing but immense fire power. Built to destroy at high range this machines are moving tanks that hardly can be stopped.
As you noticed only one of the 4 classes is really good at long range. The developers want the players to concentrate on melee combat and people who like to pick off people from a distance will soon notice that even with the most powerful guns it takes several shots to take an enemy down. An automatic combo system helps you mastering melee combat although. Depending on which direction you move while swinging your weapon, your character will automatically link several powerful moves.
The game's 18 levels play in four different locations. Starting on a human world you continue to a space station, visit Nu Hades (formerly known as earth) and finally invade hell itself. Guess who is waiting there for you...
But the single player campaign is only a part of the game. In multiplayer you can play the bad guys too. Templars and Nuns that have given up and now fight for the dark side are the black knights and the Vamps. The demons supporting the dark army are the powerful wraiths, and even machines can be corrupted in the world of Apocalyptica and serve the dark regime, as so called Ripper Droids.
Online battles with up to 16 players per game offer classic modes like Deathmatch, Team Death Match and Capture the Flag, but they also get really interesting if you can find between 2 and 8 players in the campaign mode. Each level of the single player is available in this mode and each team – one good, one evil – has its objectives to complete in every level. The whole campaign can be played all over once more, and it is an experience you probably don’t want to miss if you loved the single player campaign.
The mix of science fiction and religion in a kind of gothic environment looks quiet good at the moment and we can’t wait to see more of this game.
Apocalyptica will come sometime in late October or early November this year and we will keep you up to date as always. We would like to thank Konami for the first-look and especially Mr. Penemo from the development team for his time.
I want to end this preview with a quotation from a certain book that you perhaps heard of:
“The Lord is a Man of War” Exodus 15:3
Most of you will soon understand the hidden meaning in these words...
UUPDATE: Some mistakes / additions were brougt to our attention by our friends at Konami. Thanks again to Nana Penemo for his time.
Apocalyptica will support 16, not 32 players in multiplayer mode. Non DM or CTF multiplayer is also a little different to what we wrote:
First possibility: Four players can play the campaign mode. They each choose a member of the good team and finish the game working together.
Second possibility: In objective mode you can choose the evil guys too. In this mode 8 players (4 as the good side and 4 as the evil side) play against each other and try to complete their objectives before the other team does.