The Vivendi booth is a good place to spend time at the Leipzig GC, and not just because it is offering food other than sausages. This year, thankfully, there's no sign of Larry and his leisure suit, 'Fiddy' Cent or dragon worrier Eragon, and in their place are games which make you go 'oh' without needing to add a 'dear'.
Topping the bill alongside Prototype and The Bourne Conspiracy is Wet. It's a third-person shooter starring a woman called Ruby, who comes equipped with a sword, dual pistols, dual breasts and some of the best hair in videogames today. You can check her out by viewing the teaser trailer.
Ruby is a gun-for-hire who'll work for anyone - be it underworld organisation or government agency - paying enough cash to keep her in tight vests. Over the course of the game she travels to the UK, San Francisco and Hong Kong, but as the game's only just been announced we're only being shown one level.
It's set in the bar of an old Cantonese theatre and begins with a showcase of Ruby's acrobatic abilities. One minute she's sliding along a bartop on her knees, picking off enemies as she goes; the next she's diving through the air in slo-mo before running up a wall and somersaulting backwards.
Yes, it's Prince of Persia with more guns, and breasts, so it comes as no surprise that our heroine can also swing off poles. But she doesn't need both hands to hang on, and can use her spare to fire a pistol.
When she's not shooting enemies, Ruby's shooting at objects which can be used to hinder or kill them. For example, by firing at a sconce she brings it crashing down on someone's head. Blasting the giant gong on the wall causes it to fall down and cover an entrance. Ruby not only blocks enemies' paths but creates new ones of her own, shooting away a bamboo screen before leaping into a new area.
You can aim her pistols independently of each other by getting a lock-on with one and using the right stick to manouevre the other. Obviously this is useful for taking down two enemies at once but also for things like shooting a grenade someone's just lobbed at you and simultaneously taking revenge on the lobber.
But bullets don't always do the job. Some enemies wear body armour, so a sword kill is the only solution. To execute one of these, you'll need to perform a sequence of button presses with precise timing. This isn't being demonstrated today, however, as they're still working out how to display the sequence on-screen.
Style is a big thing for Wet. Phrases like "unique visual signature" are spouted repeatedly during the demo in reference to both the graphics and gameplay. We're informed that the storyline has been written by Duppy Demetrius, who spent five years crafting plots for 24 and has created one for Wet which is, again, "unique" and definitely won't feature a dapsy blonde female being captured. Again.
As is the title of the game, which apparently is derived from 'wetworks', a term used during the Cold War to describe covert government operations. But it works on several levels obviously. There's the "very fluid" nature of Ruby's movements, plus the "high body count, which means she might get drenched in blood". At no point do they refer to the fact that there's a saucy undertone to the word 'wet' when presented in the context of a hot lady, probably because they are more mature than us.
The truth is, from what we saw, there isn't a great deal unique about Wet. Ruby herself is a series of clichés, a maverick woman-on-the-edge with a bold attitude and a big ego she appears to keep in her bra. Bullet time is nothing new, nor are wall runs and pole swings. And while the game is indeed stylish it's pretty rather than mindblowing.
However, two things make Wet worth paying attention to. Firstly, the option to aim and fire Ruby's pistols independently could add an interesting dimension. As far as we can recall a similar feature hasn't been seen since 2002's Twin Caliber, with its hilariously rubbish wavy arm shenanigans. Hopefully this'll be better at it.
Then there's the simple fact that Wet looks fun. Ruby's moves do indeed look fluid and free. Her slide down that bar counter is just cool. Watching her shoot one enemy whilst another is crushed under a falling chandelier makes you want to have a go.
But we're not allowed. Wet isn't out till late 2008 and it'll be a while until playable code appears. So for now let's say it's pretty to watch and looks like it could be fun, much like Ruby herself.