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Knife Edge Preview

Publisher - Kemco
Developer - Kemco
Platform - N64
Release Date - September 30 1998
Type - Action

One of five major Kemco projects for N64, Knife Edge has been a well-kept secret until its debut at the Electronics Entertainment Expo in Atlanta (E3). The game can best be described as a "light-gun shooter without a light-gun" that takes players on a rollercoaster ride through the caverns of Mars.

In the role of one of three different navigator characters, players man the guns of a reconnaissance mission on Mars, where mysterious forces have overrun the colonies established by Earth pioneers. Of course, reconaissance soon turns into full-fledged battles, and your ship is drawn into all kinds of Martian mayhem.

Utilizing a first-person viewpoint, players control an on-screen target and blast enemies out of the sky. You can move the target around with the analog stick and need to be on the lookout for any incoming fighters and defense installations.

In a departure from games like Star Fox, the camera will automatically move through the environments -- but since the game takes place in real-time rendered levels, players can also perform evasion moves and escape enemy fire by the touch of a button. The downside of this is that you feel a bit like you're stuck in one of those old CDi games. However, the option to move out of the way and perform limited strafing moves at least gives the illusion of real-time movement. The fact that the motion of the player is controlled also means that Kemco could concentrate on smooth and good-looking visuals.

Since players don't have direct control over the flight path, Knife Edge could have turned out to be a very linear game. Luckily, nothing is further from the truth: Depending on your choice of character, difficulty level and enemy kill ratio, new branches and routes will open up in the levels and enemies will fly different attack formations. During their missions, players will also discover new weapons and face off with gigantic end bosses.

Levels range from tunnels deep under the surface of the planet to desolate alien cities and bizarre Martian landscapes. In order to convey the feel of a sci-fi action movie, Kemco has also added flight transmissions from allied pilots and tons of booming explosions and special effects. To top it all off, there will be four difficulty levels to make to make the game playable for beginners and experts as well.

Although the current version of Knife Edge only supports the N64 joypad, we hope that Kemco will strike a deal with a hardware manufacturer to make Knife Edge the first lightgun compatible game on N64. Several manufacturers, including InterAct and Nuby have already expressed their intensions to release light guns -- but there are as of yet no games that could make use of them. Let's hope that Knife Edge will be the first.

Knife Edge will be published by Kemco and distributed by Microwares, and should be ready to hit store shelves this winter.