03-01-99 04:40 PM
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Need for Speed III
Heart of Darkness
by Glenn Broderick
Perhaps the biggest news to report about the game is that it (like Monolith's other FPS, Riot) will be using the company's much ballyhooed DirectEngine. For those unschooled in the ways of DirectEngine, it must be clarified that, even though the thing is co-developed with Microsoft, it is NOT part of the Direct X SDK. It's a stand alone game engine that possesses Direct X-like modularity. The game creator can customize everything from Internet readiness to renderers. On an interesting side note, DirectEngine currently supports software rendering, D3D rendering, and Glide rendering; in light of Microsoft's recent announcement regarding Open GL, one can only wonder if support for that renderer will be included when the game comes out later this year.
With DirectEngine's mile-long feature set, it should come as no surprise that the thing can produce some simply mind-blowing graphic effects. All the stuff you've now come to expect from 3D-accelerated first person shooters (i.e. light blending, mip mapping, etc.) and a whole lot more (i.e. the incorporation of motion capture tech) will be available to Monolith as they crank out Blood 2. And judging by the three screenshots we nabbed, it appears they're already exploiting the engine to capacity.
One of the coolest modifications Monolith is making to the first game is the expansion of playable characters: you'll be able to play as any one of the four Chosen (Caleb, Ophelia, Ishmael, and Gabriella). Each one will have his or her own special abilities and weaponry with which to dispatch the hordes of other-worldly scum that will inevitably be giving you static.
A total of over 30 weapons/spells will be at your disposal as you progress through the game's 34 levels. All the old favorites like the voodoo doll, and some new ones like the Shredding Spell, will undoubtedly provide for some unique deathmatches - did we mention that the game is scheduled to ship with 8 "Bloodbath-specific" maps? And, of course, what would the sequel to Blood be without the Humiliation Death? Expect to see a whole host of new ones in glorious 3D - including the always-entertaining "football-like victory dance" around a fallen foe's corpse. Swank!
As of right now, this all we know about the game - but representatives from GT Interactive (the game's publisher) have assured us that we'll be able to throw the lid wide open on this one very shortly. We'll let you know when we get the go ahead. Until then, take a gander at these early screen shots of the game.
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