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Slave Zero is one great leap for 'giant robot' genre

April 30, 1999
Web posted at: 5:49 p.m. EDT (2149 GMT)

by Nash Werner


(IDG) -- For years, Japanese creativity has made it very possible to imagine a bustling mega-city filled with giant robots. This summer, Accolade will take this "giant robot" genre one step further with Slave Zero, a third-person, 3D action game that combines the slick look of Japan's animated series Evangalion with the impossible-to-forget scenery of Blade Runner.

Much like Blade Runner, Slave Zero is set in a very dark future. The story takes place in Asia, 500 years from now. The Sovereign Khan, ruler of the First Corporate Dynasty of the Second Millennium, has built a vertical super structure know as Megacity S1-9. Towering some five miles high, S1-9 provides enough power and housing to support millions of residents. Yet, due to the immense power generated by S1-9, vast amounts of toxic waste are being pumped from its subterranean levels into the surrounding Asian countryside, ruining what was once a fertile continent.

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But not everyone wants to see the SOVKhan ruin an entire landmass. Waiting in the shadows to strike is an underground group of rebels, known as The Guardians. These warrior priests of strong mental discipline have dedicated their entire lives to stop the SOVKhan and put an end to the unbelievable destruction of Asia. So here's the plan: Steal one of the Dynasty's Slaves, a giant robot capable of undoing all that stands in its path, and use it to battle the SOVKhan. Yes, using one of their Slaves against them will certainly do the trick... or so The Guardians believed.

Slave Zero uses a third-person, over-the-shoulder viewpoint similar to Tomb Raider, but that's where the similarities end. Slave Zero, unlike the majority of its third-person brethren, gives you complete control of the environment. Say you wanted to run down a busy highway in your 10-story-tall Slave unit -- well, you can. And what about the sick need to pick up innocent pedestrians and hurl them at oncoming traffic? You can do that, too. With fully articulate hands and arms, the Slave unit is capable of picking everything up. You can grab cars, buses, underground piping, and more, using each one as a weapon against your foes. Couple that with deformable terrain (most structures can be destroyed) and you'll won't be comparing Slave Zero to Tomb Raider very long.

Gameplay is built around the game's ascending-missions system, wherein you'll guide your Slave unit from the lower depths of S1-9 to SOVKhan headquarters, located in the upper levels. And the very structure of the missions themselves will change radically as you progress upwards. The lower levels, for example, are the location of the city's sewers, the depots for chemical waste, and are basically hell on Earth. You'll need to sludge around in waist-deep toxins, fight cleaner bots, and deal with all the problems normally associated with contact with a deadly byproduct. Moving upwards, you'll hit the middle levels, an area consisting mostly of heavily residential areas. This is where the majority of the city's population lives. And then you have the upper level, reserved for S1-9's high society, SOVKhan officials, and the S1-9 Military.

And dealing with S1-9's military is never a good thing. They will not let these foolish rebels ruin their good thing, and plan to launch a major attack against your efforts. Oh no, make no mistake about it, this is no stealth mission. There'll be no subterfuge in Slave Zero. This is a nonstop shoot-out in which the SOVKhan will bring in everything in his arsenal to stop you. You'll be fighting various military warbots, tanks, aircraft, and even other Slave units!

Slave Zero will also support multiplayer modes of play. Imagine you and your friends going toe-to-toe in the streets of S1-9, chucking cars, trucks, and innocent bystanders at each other until the sun comes up. Slave Zero will support LAN and TCP/IP modes for play over the Internet.


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