Autumn TGS: Xbox
Hotter than their E3 reception, although that didn't take much doing to be fair
As far as Microsoft is concerned, things are looking up. Although we're still chiding them for the details they have supplied regarding their online service (or lack thereof), public support is rallying for Xbox. And with good reason, particularly based on the games seen at the Autumn Tokyo Game Show. Instead of flaunting Halo for the umpteenth time or flashing stills of Dead or Alive 3 around, they had as many as 20 playable games up and running. Dead or Alive 3 was on display in a special Dolby Digital 5.1 sound booth, and if you thought those stills looked a bit too good, you should see the game running all by itself. Visually it's unmatched. It's the prettiest beat 'em up ever; its scenery is of unmatched detail, the characters likewise and the ladies are seductively rounded, albeit a bit top-heavy. If you're the sort of person that thought Lara Croft was sexy, Dead or Alive 3 should be on your shopping list. One of the most impressive things about DOA3 though is the collision detection. It's critical to the atmosphere the game creates that every little rock creates a stumbling block and every bit of scenery can be whipped away with a well-placed kick. And of course, that every little brush of skin between characters is registered. And it is. Moving on, we had an idea of how good Jet Set Radio Future was likely to be and the good news is that the game appears to live up to the hype. Sega explained that the Xbox version is almost three times larger in single player than the Dreamcast original, and that new additions include a four player battle arena mode, a new item use button which drives your inventory (also new), and about 20 characters to choose from. If Jet Set Radio was funky, gameplay testimonials indicate that Jet Set Radio Future is a break-dancing, afro-laden, pimpmobile-driving, gold-necklaced gangster jivefunk soul daddy from New Orleans. Or something. It's monstrously playable by all accounts and utterly addictive, even in short bursts. Sega had plenty of games on show at the Autumn TGS, but Gun Valkyrie got the most attention. Remember Cybernator on the Super Nintendo? It's mech style action along those lines in 3D with some sort of alien horde after your guts. Sega GT 2002 was on display too, although some were a little annoyed that yet again it seemed to showcase great cars and awful tracks. Journalists also got a fleeting glimpse of the long-awaited Panzer Dragoon. Konami and Capcom had a few interesting things on display, including Silent Hill 2 from the former, which looked like the PS2 version put through an image-intensifier, and the show-off flight sim Aero Dancing 2, which apparently makes Ace Combat 4 look like a paper aeroplane simulation. Capcom had Genma Onimusha, but many thought Onimusha 2 on the PS2 had the edge over it.