June 9th, 2009, 19:30 Posted By: wraggster
Tecmo might have created an entirely new genre with their PSP title Undead Knight - the zombie tosser.
Announced during E3, I got my first look at Undead Knight early on during the show, with a helpful Tecmo rep playing through a mission while I watched. The game blends hack and slash gameplay, anime design, and a heavy metal soundtrack with a unique zombie-conversion mechanic that adds a little bit of strategy to the mix.
Little was revealed about the story, something about a journey of vengeance against the king or some such, instead focusing on the game play aspects of the title. The player takes on the role of one of three anti-hero characters - the armored tank, the lithe rogue, or the speedy female mage-looking character, as they hack and slash through enemy ranks. The twist here is that as they fight, they have the option of turning their enemies into zombies, who then fight by their side.
While I was most intrigued by the two human characters, only the large, armored monstrosity was available for the demo, and after a brief bout of PSP blue-screen (it was a very early build) we were underway.
Using relatively simple controls, the demo-driver waded into modest groups of enemies, cutting a bloody swath through them to demonstrate the basic combat. They he grabbed one, hit a button, a BAM, instant zombie slave. The zombie fought on his own, but could also be picked up and thrown at enemies for even more damage. After converting a few more zombies he had an army going, with somewhere between 6-8 going at any given time.
The zombies aren't just fighters and weapons, however. They are also integral to puzzles and boss fights. Some gates require a certain number of zombies be attacking them before they are destroyed, sort of like the portions of Ratchet and Clank in which Clank controls tiny robots. During the boss fight I watched, the character tossed zombies onto a huge enemy, weighing him down so the player could step in and attack.
Graphically the game is on par with your older PSP games - it won't be challenging Chains of Olympus any time soon, but the atmosphere was interesting, and the game mechanics intriguing. I'll have to see much more of Undead Knight before my interest is fully piqued, but it's off to a fine start.
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