E3 2011: ATARI Makes Everything Old New Again
E3 2011: ATARI Makes Everything Old New
One of the first titles ever to offer four player simultaneous action, way back on the Atari 2600, is back as a downloadable game for Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network. Along with a cartoon-like 3D face lift, this variation on the Breakout formula (and what could be construed as an early kind of tower defense) has added a new player character onto the field to partner with your ball-blocking shield. This character, called a ‘Snoot’ can be positioned on the field to capture control points that award power ups for your castle or shield. The Snoot creates a frantic, fast-paced playfield, as you must keep an eye on it, the ‘ball’ and the position of your shield at all times. Built for multiplayer, Warlords also offers a single player campaign and the option when playing this way, or with others over a network, to have a “first person” like isometric view of the battlefield rather than the standard top-down view. Warlords will be released this summer.
Atari is bringing D&D and its Neverwinter world to social media with this turn-based dungeon crawler running on Facebook. A simplified version of the deep PC game, Heroes of Neverwinter still contains all the classic elements of the RPG experience with four different races and classes (warrior, mage, cleric and rogue) available, stat sheets and an expansive collection of items, weapons and treasure. It will be free to play, but a fatigue point-like system will limit play (like in EA's Dragon Age Legends), unless you spend real money for items that will boost your account’s durability. As with all social media based games, you are encouraged to invite your friends to play, and even to borrow their characters for your adventuring party of up to four members. Although there is no direct co-op, invited friends can still affect the action by casting buffs and in exchange share the loot recovered. Once players hit the level cap of 10, you can start building your own dungeons and sell tickets to friends to try their luck in them. At the core of the game is simple dungeon exploration, where the aforementioned turn-based action is set on a grid system and controlled by a simple point-and-click interface. All of the fifty unique dungeons designed for the core game were made with the fast pace of social media in mind and each can be completed in ten to fifteen minutes. Dungeons and Dragons: Heroes of Neverwinter will be released on the web in late December of this year.
Another classic Atari intellectual property gets the current-gen facelift which re-imagines the descending bugs arcade shooter into a two-stick style action title. Coming in the fall of this year for the Wii and the Nintendo 3DS, Centipede: Infestation gives players the task of saving one of the few gardens left on a devastated Earth from legions of mutated bugs. To aid in your mission, you have your standard blaster plus power-ups including a machine gun, a flamethrower, a ‘force gun’ that will push back foes as it damages them and a toxic goo squirter. Each of these last only a short while, but if you wait to use them until you collect multiple copies, their effectiveness will be increased. Among the enemies are a variety of standard creepy-crawlies, power-up dropping spiders, larger beetle-like creatures that will spawn a friendly auto-turret when defected and finally the titular centipede, which will charge though the play area with great speed and force. On the Wii, effective use of the Wiimote to target enemies while you run around with the nunchuck’s analog stick is an absolute requirement. The single player and co-op game will feature seven different environments, each ending in a boss battle. The 3DS will also offer ad-hoc wifi co-op play.