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E3 Impression

Spectrobes

05.11.2006

CARA LEE HASLAM
PREVIEWER
THEO LITOWSKI
E3 CORRESPONDANT

SCREENSHOT
A crescent moon in the ground.

I swear, one of these days the alien race will take over the universe and we will all fall under the control of some brutal hegemonic overlord. Until then, we have all sorts of interesting methods of delaying the inevitable. Spectrobes takes an innovative approach in its attempt to preserve peace, order, and justice in the galaxy: dead animals. Well, they start dead, anyway. The premise of Spectrobes is the discovery and evolution of mythical creatures called Spectrobes. The hero travels across the galaxy, digging up Spectrobe fossils and bringing them back to life. He then uses them in battle to defeat alien invaders. It seems that there are over 400 variations of Spectrobe to train, but I can only testify to about four species from my experience.

I started my playthrough on a grassy plain outside of the hero's spiffy spaceship. Apparently there are seven planets to visit, but I only had the option to visit one. Following the hero was a little pink creature, which I was told was a kind of Spectrobe. As I wandered the plain I was able to use the stylus to hunt for fossils. The Spectrobe following me would emit a small burst of radio-esque waves when touched. Any fossils within the range of the radio waves would become revealed. Walking up to it engaged the next part of gameplay: digging. I mean, you didn't think fossils would be sitting right on the surface, did you?

I used the stylus to unearth the little golden rocks. By selecting various tools, I could get different effects. One tool took away very large amounts of dirt at a time. This was helpful, considering the fossil was six feet down. Once the golden glimmer of a Spectrobe appeared, I switched to a more detailed tool. There was also a water-wash option that could remove finer dirt. By blowing into the microphone, I could remove dust that I kicked up while digging. After digging up the fossil, I went back to the ship.

The training and resurrecting interface was tricky, and I needed help from the fellow at Buena Vista to figure it out. First, the fossil gets revitalized and turned into an egg. Then, you yell at the egg really loud to wake it up. I don't recommend doing this in public, in a library, etc. A greebly little crab thing popped out. I tossed it into the training chamber, where an equally greebly monkey Spectrobe was already playing. Feeding the Spectrobe minerals and other rocks unearthed while digging allowed it to evolve into a second stage: a slightly larger greebly crab. It was now considered "adult," "legal age," or whatever you want to call it. Adults can be used in battle, infants cannot.

SCREENSHOT
Blue stuff in a tree.

Speaking of battle, I did not get into any battles during gameplay. Spectrobes has an instant battle option from the main menu that allows you to practice, so I used that. The D-pad and X/B/A/Y keys controlled the hero. He could equip various weapons (guns, fisticuffs, etc) and do damage to the alien creatures. Pressing L or R brought up a menu which permitted you to issue commands to the two Spectrodes which accompany you in battle. I was assured that Spectrobes would use the WiFi capablilities to allow people to battle each other.


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Console:
· Nintendo DS

Publisher:
· Buena Vista Games

Developer:
· Jupiter Soft


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