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Mon, 04 Jul 2005

Pathway to Glory: N-Gage

Red Lynx, Nokia

Brave in a way, this turn-based WWII game. Brave because turn-based games are seen as being part of a smaller segment of the market, and not offering the kind of instant gratification that a plain shooter might.

But smarter people have long been able to deal with deferred gratification where the reward was there, and clearly this style can add quite a lot to the complexity of a game because everything doesn't have to happen at once.

This game got an award at the recent MEM05 show in London for "Best Contribution to Mobile Games" or rather Nokia did, and deservedly so, not just for bravery but for the quality of the thing.

Having said, if WWII war games are not your thing, there's not particular reason to get it other than maybe to marvel at what can be squeezed into such a small box.

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Glimmerati: N-Gage

from Bugbear/Nokia

You've just inherited some money from an uncle and want to make your way into a moneyed fast set in Europe. A smooth looking Euroman with a cigar, who sounds a little like Sean Connery, is the head of a club that races cars all over the place. Most of the racers seem to be beautiful women. You're given trial membership of the club, and now you have to perform (ahem) well enough to stay in.

And then you go racing. A cute thing about the game is that the action can either be a quick race or the whole game, and the whole game involves an interactive story line between races.

It's not too bad if the story line itself doesn't get on your nerves. The car dynamics are quite good but not in the class of a specialist thing like the recently released rally thingy. There are no different views in racing mode. You're in Eagle in the sky mode and that's it.

Once you get going you get car choises but the budget didn't run to licensing car names and shapes so you'll be faced a series of names you haven't heard of. The performance capabilities of each model are obvious though and maybe we quite like the thought that the developers ended up not playing the TM game.

There doesn't seem to be any rating attached to this game but I wouldn't give it to young kids to play. People might say that life is low-level immorality any way but why not let kids have a childhood? (Mr Twitch)

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Auto Assault Developer Talks

' NCsoftTM Europe sat down with Scott Brown,
Project Lead at NetDevil, and posed some questions on how Auto AssaultTM
is coming along. Billed as the fastest, most destructive MMO ever, Auto
Assault will be unleashed in Europe later this year.



Q. How do I get ahead in Auto Assault? A. A big part of your time in
Auto Assault will be spent customizing your character and vehicle
statistics. As you gain levels you can spend points on both attributes
and skills. Attributes affect your combat abilities while skills give
you additional bonuses or types of strategic capabilities you can bring
to the fight. As you play the game you will find drops from enemy AI
that you can equip, trade, sell or reverse engineer to try and create
something even better

Q. What is Dynamic Loot? A. All the loot in Auto Assault is dynamically
generated to be statistically unique. This will allow players to
continue to hunt for loot that is always just a little better than
anything else they might own. It also means that no two players will
have the exact same inventory...even if you both have a flame thrower,
it is likely that the stats on that weapon will differ for each player
so, in essence, every item is rare in Auto Assault.

Q. Can I 'Craft' in Auto Assault? A. Crafting ties into the dynamic loot
system, allowing players to have the opportunity to be the only player
in the game capable of making a particular piece of equipment. Players
can train in multiple disciplines and, through practice, can gain new
crafting abilities. Some items in the game allow for multiple
enhancements that crafters can utilize through experimentation on an
object. Though there are no set recipes for enhancements, different
commodities will tend towards a particular class of enhancements. The
more the crafter experiments the better the chance for greater
enhancements, but this also increases the chance for failure.

Q. Are there traditional RPG missions in Auto Assault? A. There are a
number of major story arcs for the players to discover as they play each
race. You will learn more about why your race is where it is today, and
where your race plans to take what is left of the Earth from here. There
are a wide variety of mission types in the game. Some you will have seen
before in other MMORPGs, like deliveries or kill tasks, and some are
completely unique to Auto Assault  for instance environmental
destruction or the ability to jump over obstacles.

At the end of many of the story arcs in Auto Assault are instanced
missions for either the individual player or their convoy. Instances
include scripted events, frequently showing off our physics engine, a
feature found typically in single player games only. Giving the players
a way to feel a sense of progress and change of the world, Auto Assault
remembers the missions you have completed on these maps so that when you
return the map will progress to its next state. For example, if you
destroy a base on a map, you may return to find the base being rebuilt
by another enemy faction or the base may be completely gone, replaced by
a new mining facility your own faction needs help setting up.

These instances often conclude with a variety of cool boss encounters.
The types of encounters range from souped-up vehicles to alien craft
which require the destruction of a number of items on the map to even
begin to damage them.

Q. Now that you are in closed beta, what are some of the key changes
that have been made since opening the game to beta testers? A. Now that
the closed beta has started we are doing more than fixing bugs. The
crafting system has already gone through a complete overhaul based on
early feedback, as have mission rewards. We have also added several
interface improvements and tweaked the driving model to enhance the way
vehicles control. We're enjoying the feedback and we're improving the
game every week!

For more information on Auto Assault please direct your browser to the
official web site: eu.autoassault.com


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Ashen: N-Gage

Torus/Nokia

It's the old nightmare scenario: your sister has unleashed a nasty bunch of monsters from the non-land of the occult and somehow they are all now here in virtual game land. You, as it happens have some military experience, and being a loyal bro, you've set off to this place to kill (of course!) all the monsters and rescue your sis from her stupidity.

So, yes, it's another Quake-like monster kill fest and if you really like that sort of thing, there's no reason why you wouldn't like this as it's a clever presentation on this small screen console.

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