February 3rd, 2007, 15:14 Posted By: wraggster
Although the PSP has enjoyed many ports from PS2 and Xbox games, more powerful systems are now the being used as the lead SKU. With Xbox 360 and PS3 pushing new graphical boundaries, quickly pumping out a handheld version of the same game won't be quite as easy, if possible at all. Such is the case with Hellboy which looks to be a vastly different beast than its console cousins. Still under the helm of Krome Studios and following a action brawler formula, Hellboy for PSP should provide a totally different experience for fans of the pleasant spawn of hell.
The demo build we played started out with a comic book themed paneled introduction. Hellboy is wandering the desert in search of a hidden oasis, an idea that he readily agrees isn't the best. The playable section begins in an ancient Middle Eastern themed village with dusty streets and heavy use of the tan to brown color range. Hellboy is controlled using the analog nub only and we found his movements to be responsive. The attack buttons are mapped similarly to the console versions, with light and heavy attacks as well as being given the option to pick up the enemies and toss them around.
As we fought through the demo stage, the layout for how small battles would be presented became apparent. Large stone tablets blocked access to other roads and side streets that would only move down after clearing the area of enemies and then waiting for the next bit of the world to stream into the memory. It worked well and gave us no loading screens, even as we entered an inner cavern where we faced a giant boss bug.
The first major fight was introduced through an in-engine cutscene where the bug burst out from a hole in the center of the room. As the camera panned around it, several light emitting stones were spotlit. Ah, the keys to an easy victory…sort of. The bug had enough arms that he could knock you around, pick up smaller enemies and toss them your way, or start bumping into the walls to reshape the layout of the cavern. After climbing two stone staircases and turning on some stones that emit damaging light, the boss started flailing about until it hit the wall and revealed a new path up the side of the cave. We climbed our way up and grabbed the final stone to put into place and complete the fight, though it wasn't much of a fight as the battle was essentially a puzzle without any real combat necessary
The graphics in Hellboy have quite a ways to go if they want to compete with some of the heavier hitters on the PSP. Perhaps it was just the level we were allowed to play, but the color scheme that focuses heavily on the brown side of things looked fairly bland and caused the game to feel a bit empty. Things perked up a bit once we got inside of the cave for the boss fight, leaving hope that the still-early build of the game we played will not be fully representative of the final game. To get a better idea on the game's appearance, be sure to check out our new direct-feed movies in the media gallery.
The handheld version of Hellboy is looking like it will wind up as a standard brawler, which isn't a bad direction to take at all given the intellectual property it is based on. Look for more Hellboy impressions and media as the game gets closer to release.
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