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MoHo

Bizarre action game previewed

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Peter Molyneux's departure from Bullfrog is probably the most high profile thing to happen to the company in recent years, other than the release of Dungeon Keeper II. It's a shame, because it's not as if Peter (bless his heart) was the only creative influence at Bullfrog.

It looks as though other members of the design team also felt somewhat confined though, and as such they too have parted company with the company, forming upstart Lost Toys. And their first title, MoHo, is a concept that even Molyneux would probably be proud of...

Playing The Field

The game is based on a prison planet, where the wardens have instigated a peculiar form of rehabilitation for the robotic inmates. Instead of sitting around in groups telling each other about their problems, they race around enormous arenas, floating and disembodied atop a metal sphere, blowing the brains out of their fellow prisoners. It's like being a Space Hopper.

There are five characters you can control, each of whom has every intention of quashing their competition and becoming the "People's Champion", to secure their freedom (and presumably reacquire their legs). The competition is made up of 80 arenas set across 10 penal facilities on your prison planet, and each character's differing skills in various areas mean that some battles will be easier than others.

In all the game will be made up of seven types of event to try and vary proceedings through the facilities. Some of the more obvious types include "Last Man Rolling", where the object is to destroy your opponents and be the last feller alive, and "King Of The Hill" where you must control the high ground for as long as possible.

Other modes like "Pursuit" and "Run The Gauntlet" are more frenzied, with the latter requiring you to quite literally run the gauntlet, avoiding falling obstacles, laser beams and projectile firing security devices. "Tag" on the other hand will hark you back to those hazy days in the playground, although the concept is decidedly more deadly, as you race around an arena collecting tokens while trying to avoid death at the hands of the terrain, which is made up of half-pipes, ramps and slopes.

PlayStationed

On the whole this all looks very entertaining, and coupled with intuitive controls it could go far. In fact, the PlayStation version of MoHo has already been released to critical acclaim, with many pundits commending the game's multiplayer capabilities in particular.

The graphical techniques used have also been praised as highly original, although clearly on the ageing hardware of the PlayStation people have to be rather subjective in their assessment of such things. Obviously on the PC we are much more scathing.

The good news then is that the PC version of MoHo does look impressive in its own right and, as you can see from the screenshots, it's certainly shaping up nicely so far. The technique of spontaneously generating texture joins to fit is a fairly creative advance and, assuming that it all works properly, the landscapes should look seamless, with not a misplaced vertex in sight.

Conclusion

Unique concepts are a dying breed, and hopefully this one will carry enough weight to stay afloat. The graphical techniques and variety of gameplay modes should make things entertaining, and the huge quantity of levels should make for extended replay value.

The question is, will the yearning masses appreciate something that tries to break the mould? Well, whether they do or don't, it will certainly put Lost Toys up there in the originality stakes with the likes of Bullfrog, from whence they came.

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