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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
PlayStation 2
Digital Mayhem
GENRE: Action
September 23, 2002
Run Like Hell

 Written by Chris Reiter  on October 11, 2001

First Impressions: It's no marathon, that's for sure.

In the unsettling future, many strange occurrences are foretold to happen. Our planet Earth, as we know it, may one day be gone. We humans may even end up living in space colonies, forgetting what Earth's beauty was. For all you know, the fabrication of aliens may definitely come true, to meet and greet us. Well, for Run Like Hell, some the stuff I just mentioned is a part of what this sci-fi escapade game will be all about when the title releases early next year.

Life for Captain Nick Conner never is easy, as it seems. An ex-Naval commander, Nick's life now is just as it should be, or so he thinks. Commandeered to work on a mining satellite -- Forsetti -- Nick's cautious lifestyle he will soon find out will change for the worse. An alien race invades the space station where Nick and his crew work, engulfing the inhabitants everywhere. Nick's fianc?e Samantha, in turn, is captured in the mess. Returning from his workday, Nick and his partner Amanda encounter the danger within...only for one of them to survive. Now it's up to Nick to save his wife and fellow crew...even if his only chance is to go face to face with death itself.

So far Run Like Hell is looking in pretty good in form, even in terms of its loose and early build. The game's appearance thus far gives off a sense of a futuristic ensemble. Through the space station, the corridors are drab and dismal, and yet, dark and seamy to a frightful sense that will make you shiver as if you were to venture through the facility yourself. It's been said that the final version of the game will look much better than what's been shown already. Real time lighting and particle effects have yet to be added to the list of game making accomplishments. Both the aliens and the main character, Nick, have a huge amount of polygonal detail already. The latter, fit with 5,000 polygons alone has very abundant facial and body movement to go along with the rest of his mortal bulk. The game's aliens themselves are ill in color, but pack a lot of the best eye candy to see yet. Each of them fit with sharp looking teeth, have bumps and elaborate textures on their skin, are big and small, scary and scarier. Sometimes the game will get so hair raising that you'll witness such obscenity as when an alien cuts off heads of one of the ship's crew and attaches it to their body, only to leak information about your plans from the human brain itself... I shudder at the mere thought of that.

Very few extraterrestrial designs have been implemented into the game's scenarios so far. Although, such creatures like a 10-foot tall monster called a brute, and a smaller sized cutter, which has blades for arms, are present in the game, and are shaping up nicely. These two types interestingly seem to vary in attacks depending on their size or body parts, and what have you. For example, the brutes are so big that their arms can crush Nick like an ant from its immense size. The cutters, paired with razor sharp arms, are smaller in size, but could be just as deadly as if you were fighting a brute. Each of the creatures Nick encounters will set up new options for how to do battle with certain enemies. If you think you'll be able to survive the game's fright as well as its fight, consider yourself lucky.

Run Like Hell, unlike any other survival/horror title, has a much more fear-induced realism than you might realize. The developers, Digital Mayhem, see that the traditional Resident Evil "shock" scare isn't enough. They would rather leave you trembling throughout the entire game, than to just giving you a jump every now and then. What I mean is that you will literally be running from the enemy almost through the entire game's course. There are no holds barred when you've got an alien race that cannot only kill, but think as well. With a minimum of 30 hours in gameplay, and 7 complete chapters (one chapter equaling a single space day), this game will definitely be the lengthiest in its genre.

Using an impressive AI system, the aliens will be able to perform such actions as learning how Nick operates. For instance, if you were to shoot any body part of an alien a bit too many times, the aliens will start to evolve, and grow body armor over those certain spots. If you were to hide, rather than to fight a lot, the aliens will think up ways to walk around the recycled pattern. But just don't think there isn't any hope left for you... This strategy based horror title also leaves room for your character to make plans against the opposition in return. Most of the time to it'd be better to think rather than to fight the nastiest aliens of all. And, with the ship's'll be able to perform such stunts as using an android from a remote control distance to lure enemies into peril. Nick can also plant bombs on these androids to send the aliens an explosive gift package. Since the whole ship is covered in computers, there will be plenty of variations in hiding, fighting, and most of all, using your brain.

Further along into the gameplay, you'll not only have to think against some enemies, but you'll also some of the time have to attack one on one, one on two...sometimes even one on three or more. As expected, guns will become just as friendly as a friend can get. A few of the select artillery Nick will be able to equip are the ever so handy pistol, grenades, a shotgun, and even a machine-gun for quicker enemy dicing. The faster they die, the better. Some of the moves in the game, like most other horror games, will have your basic run of the mill sidesteps, and the quick 180? turn around move. But, because there will be a larger scale of enemies in this particular title, Nick will also be able to run at the same time as shooting, making it much easier to do one thing at the same time as another.

And if running away from an enemy is not your particular interest, too bad! The title, suggesting you to use those two puny stubs of yours, will make the character do just that: Run. One key item I should note on is the addition of a "run game" feature. In it, you'll be set up to run away from the aliens, and will have to dodge obstacles at the same time. Jumping over electrical currents, crouching under heavy bars, and squeezing through tight spaces may be some of the tasks you'll come across. At the same time you're bending and twisting every which way, an alien will be right behind you trying to take away your existence. Choosing one of the selective four shape buttons on the controller forces Nick to complete one of four moves...whether it be to jump or dodge, Nick can hurdle any obstacle. If you're to press the wrong button, you'll falter the outcome of Nick's run through these terrifying sessions.

If you like celebrities, Run Like Hell leaves no gap there. Lance Henriksen of the Alien series fame is the mouth of our new hero. Clancy Brown, who was in Starship Troopers, will also play a part in the voice work. Maybe it was Lance's destiny to begin with, but his style has always been towards the more "darker" part of the movie business. As I've mentioned before, he was in fact the cyborg found in the Alien movies (Bishop). Other than Henriksen's rough-cut voice, the rest of the sounds in the game are done nicely. From realistic explosions, to that silence of space feel, you can expect a lot of the most paranormal episodes of terror from the likes of RLH. Much of the game, like its star-studded voice acting, will play out just like a science fiction horror film. With the use of its eerie sounds, and insidious graphics and gameplay, you may feel like you're really in a movie...

Final Thoughts
I'm glad to see that some companies are still coming up with new ideas to add to a genre rather than to reuse some of the old ones. If Interplay's game doesn't make the scare we'll encounter just pop out and scream for you, then I don't know what will. It'll be some time before we'll see the final version of a Run Like Hell copy. Though, there are still plenty of horrific games out right now, and soon to come to keep your disturbed mind at ease. But when RLH does finally release next year, you better be sure to run like hell to your local store before anyone else does!

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