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volume 1, issue 38

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

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loonygames goes to E3!
(part one)

By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman

 

very year the software industry goes completely insane for a week at the world's largest gaming industry show. Those lucky enough to attend were shown just about every game that will ship in the next year, along with quite a few that will ship after that. Titles were shown for literally every platform - from GameBoy to PC to Nintendo 64 and beyond. I was fortunate enough to attend this year's show, and while I will admit that I found the whole event somewhat exausting, I did get a chance to see a number of exciting titles. What follows is my rundown of what I saw…at least some of it. Bear in mind that there were thousands of games shown at this year's E3…and there's only so much time. With that said, let's get into it.

Messiah looked great (16 images).

Messiah: This was one of those titles I was really looking forward to seeing at the show, and I'm very pleased to say that I wasn't disappointed in the least. With just about every game these days using some form of Level of Detail (LOD) technology, I didn't expect to be at all impressed with Shiny's RT-DAT system, which seemed to me like a fancy form of LOD. That may be the case, but they've done some incredible things with it. Most LOD systems take a model of a few thousand polygons and drop them as the character gets further and further away. Messiah does the same thing, but their models start at half a million polygons. The end result is some incredible looking models.

I was also extremely impressed by the whole visual look of the game. The environments are delightfully dark…Shiny's Stuart Roch demonstrated the game for me, and he pointed out that a good portion of the game's rooms actually don't even have ceilings. It sounds strange, but it's very effective. The rooms bleed off into darkness, and the shadows are creepy and well executed.


I'm not easily won over by visual flair in any game (I tend to get annoyed when a game is all flash with little or no substance) so I was thrilled when I saw that Messiah actually has some great gameplay to back up their technology. You play Bob, a little angel who has no actual powers of his own. To fight enemies, you have to possess your enemies. This is accomplished by hopping into their back, and the animation here is fantastic. Once you've possessed someone, a little halo pops over their head (in a room populated with similarly outfitted enemies this would get confusing otherwise, I imagine). The gameplay possibilities here are enormous. You can sneak by enemies, or start a firefight between them. You can kill your host body and jump out at the last second. There are a ton of different ways to access each area. Messiah looks to be one hell of a game.

Deus Ex has some really cool locations (20 BIG screenshots)

Deus Ex: Here's another one I was really excited to see for the first time. Deus Ex is a first person perspective RPG, designed by none other than Warren Spector (think Ultima Underworld, System Shock). The game is a nice balance of first person action and role-playing elements, and has some nifty technological wizardry, including a spectacular on-the-fly lip synching system.

 

(Continued on next page)

 

Credits: Illustration © 1999 Rowan Crawford. This article is © 1999 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't try it...or we'll peck your eyes out.