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Dezaemon 3D Preview

Publisher - Athena
Developer - Athena
Platform - N64
Release Date - June 1999
Type - Action

No, this game is not about mystical ninjas or their relatives. Actually, it's not even a game at all. Dezaemon 3D, the sequel to Dezaemon for the Super Famicom (Super NES), gives gamers an all-in-one package of tools to create their own full-fledged 3D shooting game.

No fear, you don't have to be a programmer or a game designer to make your own game. Dezaemon 3D (the fifth in the Dezaemon series) gives you everything in easy-to-understand menus. You will still have to read the manual to figure things out, but once you've familiarized yourself with the functions, you're ready to go.

Start off with the enemies, allies, and objects. A special 3D editor lets you create your own 3D polygon objects, such as ships, mines, or asteroids. Like in Nintendo's own Mario Artist Polygon Maker, you extrude and alter the shapes and apply textures to them. Like professional 3D modeling kits like 3D Studio, Dezaemon includes a wide selection of texture patterns, ranging from real life surfaces like wood or metal to mech armor or dragon skin. Whether you want mechanical attack fighters guarding a floating fortress or giant pieces of cheese protecting space cucumbers -- this is your shooter, it's all up to you. When you're finished designing the enemy and friendly ships, create the explosions, draw lasers and missiles, and paint backgrounds or star fields in up to 32,768 colors.

Next up are the event menus. Customize your character's movements and lay out the attack patterns by drawing lines in the event menu. A straight line means the enemy fighter will come straight at you, curve it outward and the fighters will veer off and leave the screen if they're not shot down. You can also determine whether the attackers shoot, drop bombs or try to ram you. Want Rumble Pak support? No problem, just switch it on and adjust its intensity.

And since everything is polygonal (unlike in the original Dezaemon, which only supported 2D shooters), you can also adjust the camera angle from top down to isometric, in addition to other settings such as the direction and inclination of the background scrolling.

But what game would be complete without sound and music? In Dezaemon 3D, you can compose your own background music utilizing up to four tracks and notes spanning four octaves. With its tons of samples, a chord track for guitar riffs, a drum track, and a bass track, Dezaemon should offer enough music tools to make your shooter sound great.

Since it's not all that easy to create a shooting game from scratch, Athena included more than 400 ready-made polygonal objects, backgrounds, and tunes. On top of that, the game features a tutorial mode and help functions to aid you in making the perfect shooter -- another first in the Dezaemon series. Beginners can also experiment with the built-in sample games (of which there are two) and alter them to their liking. All changes and can be saved to internal back-up.

Although it sounds like a 64DD game from start to finish, Athena has released Dezaemon 3D on cartridge this summer. It's possible that a 64DD custom version is planned, but Athena is keeping quiet about its 64DD plans until the launch of the add-on.

So far, no US publisher has decided on releasing Dezaemon in America, but we're hoping that someone will recognize the unique qualitites of the title and opt for a limited international release. If that happens, we hope that Athena will add memory pak support (on top of the internal EEPROM) as well, so that gamers can trade their creations with each other.

Stay tuned for more info on this high quality creativity app.