GLADSTONED

Icame from Kentia Hall

Field report FIVE HOURS! SOME PEOPLE SPENT HALF THE flippin’ day waiting to lay hands upon Nintendo’s Wii (the new console) during the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo. I, on the other hand, spent that time casually strolling through gamingdom’s undiscovered country—the infamous Kentia Hall. It’s where small developers with big dreams start. It’s where nations of the world come together. It’s where I learned that Tai Chi is “The only Kung Fu Which kills in Space [sic].” Yes, when I think of the gateway to China, I think of Asian women in space-suits striking martial arts poses. Don’t ask; just accept it when walking past the Hong Kong pavilion—the Ultra Dimension of Digital Entertainment.

THE GAMES
It’d be far too easy to dwell on lost-in-translation beauties like the Ultraman Happy Fun Unicorn Princess [ Study 3 (in case you hadn’t already guessed, no, that’s not real). Instead, how about the games you might actually want to install on your PC at some point?
Dead Island (techland.pl/e3). I’m vocal in my love for all things zombie. But when Techland stranded me on a digitized desert island, the developer had me at “Braaaaaains!” Dead Island looks like a tropical Romero flick…but with box-lifting puzzles. It promises a fully interactive environment to use against the zombie hordes, but one thing that already works for me is the setting. While walking through the tall grass, tension ratchets up since you’re unsure where a zombie might lurk. And I can’t fault the game for any bad A.I., since g the enemies are—after all—the bumbling undead.
Elveon (www2.elveon.net). It’s medieval Earth with elves. Honestly, this game caught me by surprise—I mean, a high-fantasy sword-and-sorcery action-RPG using Unreal Engine 3? Hell yeah! Though you start Elveon as an elite archer, this isn’t a fantasy FPS. The game emphasizes swordplay through group combat and Soul Calibur-esque 1-on-1 dueling. As your skills improve, you learn new combat styles with multiple weapons (will you use a polearm or dual-wield a dagger and short sword?). Definitely one to watch.
Death to Spies (int.games.1c.ru). Not since Snakes on a Plane have I seen a more self-explanatory title. However, 1C’s new stealth game is more than just squashing spies—it’s based on real events. The Soviet army’s SMERSH department had a dirty job during World War II: detect and deal with German spies. DTS tells the same tale, taking you behind enemy lines to eliminate the bad guys (and wear i their uniforms, and then booby- trap their bodies). Eidos: This is what Commandos Strike Force should’ve been.

THE GEAR
Kentia is also where gadget-loving gamers step ! into tomorrow. Or go to die. If you want to hear more about actual, useful, and innovative hardware, turn to this issue’s Hard News report (pg. k 102). If you want potentially embarrassing, nookie-repelling products, read on. CGW editor Shawn Elliott practically bought the R2 Mark II gaming mouse (gamingmouse.com) on the spot for ^ all his fragging needs…but the superfluous Fragpedals (sold separately) look ridiculous. An , extra $80 for what amounts to foot-pedal mouse buttons? Who am I, Def Leppard’s one-armed drummer? The people behind the BodyPad (bodypad.com) have a different approach—they assume you actually want to get off your ass. Strap the sensors onto your limbs and, once you calibrate the thing, real-world kicks translate into game-world moves. The upshot: You’ll be in great shape to beat up all your hecklers.
Me? I’d rather just shed my humanity and strap a TV to my face. Yes, $600 is a small price to pay for turning yourself into a cybernetic death-dealer from Dimension Awesome. 3001 AD’s Trimersion (trimersion.com) is a wireless, head-mounted display and gun controller guaranteed to make even the nerdi-est of the nerdy run screaming from the room. I don’t know what made my head spin more: the less-than-optimal 320×240 resolution or the heave-worthy head-motion-based aiming system. It’s an…interesting…idea, but I’m more impressed that 3001 AD managed to talk the pictured booth babes into wearing fashion-forward silver unitards to enter the Matrix. Indeed, the future is now./Darren Gladstone

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