Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2
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"Holy Gods!" Not our words, but those of an adolescent Pennsylvania website writer S on seeing a technology al demo of Ritual's forthcoming Heavy Metal. The occasion was E3, and the location was a caravan in a downtown Los Angeles car park.
Eschewing the bedlam of the convention centre, Gathering Of Developers decided to display their wares in trailers over the road, luring show-goers with free beer, live punk rock and the trade show standard: hardcore pornography actresses. They also had a slew of games on show, and so it was that ten sweaty men squeezed into a dark trailer for a look at Heavy Metal, unaware that the demo was to turn into a live version of Beavis & Butt-head. Further outbursts from the pair of over-excited, metaltoothed virgins included: "Okay, question number one: is she gonna get naked?" "Can you pop a stiffy?" and "What's a spliff?" Get out.
The 'she' in question is the star of the game - Julia, aka StarStrider. The character was modelled on B-movie actress Julie Strain (Lingerie Kickboxer, Some Nudity Required, Bimbo Movie Bash, Lethal Seduction...). If she does indeed 'get naked', it will be clear for all to see because the action is presented from a third-person perspective, drawing obvious comparisons with the ubiquitous Raider of Tombs. However, Ritual co-founder Robert Atkins claims "she's gonna kick Lara Croft's ass" - something that the two kids at the front would probably pay good money to see.
In case you haven't guessed yet, the FAKK of the title stands for Federation Assigned Ketogenic Killzone, and the game is based on the forthcoming sequel to the animated film Heavy Metal. Released in 1981, the original movie is popular among animation bores and features the voice of the late John Candy and a soundtrack from artists such as Black Sabbath (a couple of decent tunes), Blue Oyster Cult (mainly rubbish), Cheap Trick (exclusively rubbish), Devo (occasionally sublime) and Sammy Hagar (rubbish). The movie netted more than $20 million at the box office and sold over a million copies when it was released on video in 1996.
The Heavy Metal concept is owned by Kevin Eastman, cocreator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and he's given Ritual carte blanche to extend the so-called Melting Pot universe and use artwork and music from the sequel. The game kicks off some 30 years after the Film, as Julia Fights to defend her homeworld, Eden2, from the marauding Gith Industries despoilers, combining Tomb Raider-esque exploration and puzzles with a unique fighting game-style combat system. It's still early days, but with the Quake 3 engine doing its super-curvy thing, FAKK2 was certainly among the best-looking games at the show. Holy Gods, indeed.