Jet Force Gemini
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When you think of Rare, you can't help but think of great things. Not only has the software developer and publisher put out some of the best games in the industry, it would seem the company has no signs of slowing down. At this year's E3, that was quite apparent. Showcasing three hot titles-Donkey Kong 64, Perfect Dark and Jet Force Gemini--it's going to be a banner year for Nintendo and the Nintendo 64.
One title that made definite impressions on the media was Jet Force Gemini. An incredible mix of action, adventure and puzzle-solving, Jet Force Gemini has players defending the Earth from the threat of an evil warlord and his army of alien insects. Jet Force Gemini plays out an epic story where it chronicles the journey of its three main characters Juno, Vela and Lupus, and tells it vividly with intricately designed levels and massive amounts of enemies at every turn.
When Rare set out to develop this game, they wanted to relive the good oP days of the 8- and 16-Bit systems--where players killed first and explored later. For example, players may have to destroy all the insectoid enemies within a stage before an exit would appear. Rare promises adrenaline-pumping combat and it would seem they have delivered on that promise. Jet Force Gemini will have over 120 stages with an average of 10 to 15 stages to a level. Combined with loads of secret zones and both cooperative and multiplayer modes--suffice it to say, the game is going to be HUGE!
So what makes Jet Force Gemini so unique? The game is much more than picking a character and seeing the game through his/her eyes. To get the full experience, players have to alternatively use all three characters in order to meet the various objectives. Each character has his/her own set of special abilities and players have to effectively utilize all three to progress through the game. For example. Vela is the only character who can swim, juno can walk on fire and the dog, Lupus, has jet engines on his paws which let him jump high and float for considerable distances. About halfway through the game, just when things start to get a little hairy, players will be able to suit up the characters "mech-style" to gain additional skills and the ability to access previous levels and find new ones.
Graphically, Jet Force Gemini is nothing short of brilliant. From the individual weapon effects to the exploding insects--it's all good. At E3, the game wasn't even running with the RAM Expansion Pak, and the graphics were still unbelievable. Cool special effects such as real-time lighting and incredibly detailed textures make Jet Force Gemini easily one of the most visually spectacular for the Nintendo 64. Jet Force Gemini also has more than an hour of cinemas.
In addition to the typical deathmatch multiplayer modes (where you can choose from the three main characters and, ahem, "Floyd the Droid"), there is a 3D multiplayer race, a police trainer stage (complete with pop-up cardboard targets) and a cool co-op mode where players can go through the game as a laser gun-toting team.
- MANUFACTURER - Rare
- THEME - ACTION
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4
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Rare has a reputation for making games with deep gameplay. Jet Force Gemini is no different. Over the time the company spent developing Jet Force, it's changed the look a few times, thankfully landing on a much more mature design for Juno and Vela (Lupus was always pretty cool). If you're used to the control of first-person shooters (especially Turok), you'll feel right at home with Jet Force's control. Some of the environments in the game look fantastic, but sometimes the games gets choppy when there are hordes of enemies on the screen. Oddly, it doesn't support the RAM Pak, and we have to question whether or not it would have solved the problem of the frame rate or if it could have made some of these stunning visuals even better. But if it's one thing Rare does really well, it's creating a movie-like atmosphere using the in game engine. While FMV does the trick for some games, it makes the game feel more cohesive if the characters you see in cinemas look like the characters you're controlling ingame. The game itself feels sort've like what a new Metroid game would be like if it was put into 3-D and very reminiscent feels (game-play-wise) like a deep 8- or 16-Bit game. And while you can't complain about mini-games, there seems to be an awful lot in here. As far as multiplayer goes, it delivers tons of options--all of which you have to unlock by going through the game in one-player. Even though it's got all these options, we didn't feel that the multiplayer was as strong as it could have been. Almost as if it would have been better had Rare spent more time developing or tweaking those levels. Probably the best part about Jet Force is the absolutely excellent bosses (Mizar's minions are some tough lookin' customers), and the fact that you'll be playing this game weeks after you've bought it...hmm, just in time for Perfect Dark.
Jet Force is the only first-person shooter on a console that I have ever had fun playing. It's not entirely an FPS--it's a mix of tried-and-true 3D platform-style and FPS gameplay. You switch control schemes from a third-person to pseudo first-person view for blasting baddies. It takes a white to get used to, especially if you don't play many (or in my case, any) first-person shooters. There's no way to customize the control either, and I wished there was a way to get the crosshairs to move a tad slower in first-person mode--the analog's a lil' too touchy. It's fine for the one-player game, but multiplayer is missing something. One other gripe about the analog is that you can't stop on a dime. If you release the analog stick while walking your character will keep moving for a few steps. If you're on the edge of a platform, this means certain death. Graphics and music in Jet Force's cinemas give you the feeling that you're playing an epic adventure. The frame-rate does suffer the more enemies there are on screen, which can lead to some confusing moments. There's so much to do and interact with in this game. As you progress you unlock secrets and extra games that boost the replay a lot. And don't be fooled--this isn't a short game. It'll take you many hours to navigate through all the levels with all three characters.
Jet Force Gemini is like a culmination of every bad Rare habit and then some. That's not to say JFG is a bad game, not at all. In fact, JFG is highly ambitious and quite polished too. The only problem is, it feels like a generic 3D platform shooter. The dopey character designs don't help much to establish personality and the story is pretty much throwaway. You end up just wanting to gib some insects, or play death-match with your friends. Cute and gory.
JFG doesn't have the kind of impact you expect from a Rare game...at first. But after some play time, it's easy to see what separates JFG from others. It has robust gameplay, a multiplayer mode jam-packed with stuff and the best soundtrack on the N64 to date (next to GoldenEye, of course). JFG isn't without flaws though. The lack of variety in enemy types, a flaky camera and unintuitive control can get annoying. Still, it's another Rare gem.
When Rare's in charge of a project, you just know it won't be something small and insignificant. This action/adventure game is humongous, with lots to see and do. And while things may get intimidating at times (especially with these larger-than-life bosses), you'll never feel overwhelmed. Buy this game for the single-player experience, but don't expect much multiplayer-wise...even with a myriad of options, multiplay JFG is really boring after a few sessions.
The newest game from Rare (the developers of Banjo-Kazooie and GoldenEye 007, to name a few) is a 3D sci-fi adventure where you must alternate between three main characters to finish your mission. Each character (Juno, Vela, and Lupus the dog) has unique strengths and can be armed with space-age weapons to destroy their enemies. Jet Force includes two-player cooperative action (both players on the same screen) and a four-player hunt-and-hide deathmatch mode. Although it's still early, Gemini looks like a sure-fire sign of futuristic fun in '99.
All right, so there's no Mega Man 64, but there will be Jet Force Gemini. Jet Force hopes to prove that 3D action/adventure games are alive and well on the N64. In fact, Nintendo's A-team, Rare, is doing the programming for this sci-fi blast-em-up. And we mentioned Mega Man because the Jet Force crew will look amazingly similar to Mega's stars--there will even be a dog that's a hero. You'll command three characters in total, switching among them in order to complete each mission.
At press time, story-line info was scant, but we do know you'll have to defend futuristic worlds against the usual power-monger bad guy. The blasting looks fierce with enemy creatures and robots swarming the screen; in addition to the shootouts, your team will have to maneuver past tricky obstacles and menacing environmental traps.
Jet Force Gemini's multiplayer modes sound strong--at last, an N64 action game with two-player cooperative mode. There will also be a four-player seek-your-pal-and-destroy-him mode. Gemini may be a Force to be reckoned with.
Rare, the technical wizard behind Diddy Kong Racing, GoldenEye 007, and Banjo-Kazooie, is putting its skills behind Jet Force Gemini. This promising shooter will feature all the real-time lighting effects and great character design of past Rare gems along with a slew of action that includes deathmatch and two-player cooperative gameplay. Puzzle-solving and obstacle-oriented challenges will also come your way.
You play as three characters--Juno, Vela, and their doggy sidekick, Lupus--each of whom goes off on their own agenda and then meets up with the other two toward the end of the game. Ramped A.I., wave after wave of enemies, and some strong graphics all point to another possible winner from Rare.
Rare wants to teach you a little teamwork with Jet Force Gemini, a new 3D platform shooter that combines colorful, complex graphics with lightning-fast shooting. You have to play as all three members of the Gemini team as you Fight your way to the wicked Mizar, blasting tons of enemies along the way. The shooting gallery gets crowded fast with little slowdown in the version we saw. It's Banjo-Kazooie meets Dirty Harry and it could be lots of fun.