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Fear Effect2 Retro Helix Preview

Shawn_Sanders By:
GENRE Action/Adventure 
PUBLISHER Eidos Interactive 

Another special effect.

Within the last year, a few cartoon style video games have really wowed me. The year 2000 produced some exceptional gaming achievements like Jet Grind Radio, Wacky Races and the original Fear Effect. They all took me back roughly 20 years to a life of Saturday morning cartoon viewing, on televisions without remotes, while eating bowl after bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Ah, the good ol' days.

Thankfully, Eidos Interactive is trying to keep that feeling alive with the soon-to-be-released Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix...though this isn't exactly made for the Saturday morning television crowd.

Retro Helix is the prequel to last year's smash hit Fear Effect and reveals the enigmatic histories of the original FE characters. Players will learn about the events that led to Hana and company joining forces as a team.

The new adventure takes our team on an action-packed jaunt through several bizarre levels, including an alternate reality Hong Kong and New York's Hell's Kitchen. Hopefully you'll be prepared by the time you reach the surprising final confrontation. Let's just say evil twins can be a bitch.

As in the first FE, gamers should never get bored with the gameplay, due mainly to the constant character changing. During the course of the game you will get to play as Hana Tsu-Vachel (the sexy assassin), Royce Glas (the counter-intelligence operative), Jakob "Deke" Decourt (the cold-blooded killer) and newcomer Rain Qin, a close companion of Hana's with a mysterious past. Each character has their own variety of ballistic and melee based weaponry, providing a wealth of gameplay diversity.

You'll use those implements of death and destruction to dispatch Retro Helix's 60+ enemies. Upon replaying the game, Retro Helix will spawn a completely different set of enemies. Hooray for replayability!

Retro Helix is shaping up rather nicely. The control is simple and easily mastered. The sharp pre-rendered backgrounds, improved character animation and the further polished graphical quality is immensely appreciated, especially on the Playstation (who's days are literally numbered). As in the previous game, the emphasis is on action and the puzzles are mainly there to offer diversity. Most are in the same vein as the original.

Some of the features this system-resurrector has to offer are really cool. Retro Helix boasts over 120 minutes of amazing cartoon-style computer generated sequences and some impressive integration of gameplay and in-game cinematics. Like the original, the result is gorgeous and immersive.

Retro Helix also sports a welcome one-time loading system. Load your saved game the first time and that's it, even after you die. It's practically seamless. This is basically a foreign concept for Playstation connoisseurs. Foreign, but pleasing…

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that good PSX games are quickly going the way of the California Grizzly. With the way the wind is blowing for the Playstation, Fear Effect: Retro Helix could be the PSX's silver lining behind that big storm cloud of retirement. It's likely one of the last must-have games, though we'll know for certain when the game ships next month.

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