By Darryl Vassar 04/12/2007 Last week, we previewed the PlayStation Network shooter Super Stardust HD, and now we've gotten our hands on another: Nucleus. Coming from Kuju's Surrey studio, the game looks a bit different from your typical Geometry Wars clone.
For instance, Nucleus doesn't take place in outer space, but in "Inner Space" (no relation to the film, as far as we know). And instead of shooting aliens, you fight bacteria while swimming around blood cells and collecting proteins. Players control a "remote unit" which looks a bit like a sperm cell. It, ahem, squirts, shoots, and deploys protein bombs (once enough protein has been collected). To gain more protein, players need to shoot cells that release it.
Besides shooting, the player's unit can use a tractor beam of sorts to push and drag cells. Players can do some interesting things with the beam like grabbing cells and linking them together to form a shield. And the more cells players amass, the more protein releases when the clump breaks down.
SCREENS: Does this remind anyone else of a LaserActive game? It's nice to see that PSN games don't seem to be falling into the trap of all looking the same. [Click the image above to check out all Nucleus screens.]
Protein isn't the only cell byproduct players can collect. Stiff cells -- immovable cells that can also serve as protection -- are found in bacteria. A simplistic enemy, bacteria is easily destroyed by a player's protein bombs. A more complex enemy is the virus, which moves fast and breaks down into bacteria when shot at. Super viruses are the badasses of the cell world. These speedy enemies shoot and try to close in on the player's remote unit.
But Nucleus isn't just a shooter where you use the right trigger to blast everything in sight. There is variety to the action. In battle levels, players may have to survive for four minutes while fending off bacteria and moving along the bloodstream -- making it tough to avoid and shoot enemies at the same time -- or have four minutes to destroy all bacteria and viruses while collecting enough pick-ups. In a survival level, players might be up against a massive amount of bacteria and need to survive long enough to collect the required amount of points.
SCREENS: Between this and Sony's Folding@home, PS3 certainly has one area of gaming covered. [Click the image above to check out all Nucleus screens.]
Beyond the setting, Nucleus has a different vibe compared to other shooters out there. The graphics are minimalist and dark, but the real distinction comes from the soundscape provided by Rephlex's Bogdan Raczynski. The very Aphex-Twin-like music shifts between ambient noise and fast paced oddness.
In its present state, the game is not very user-friendly, as players get dropped right into the thick of things -- obstacles to move around and enemies to shoot can be unclear at times. So despite the game's seemingly simplistic nature, it's definitely worth reading the included Medical Journal that explains what the various objects are.
We expect Nucleus to be out sometime this summer in Europe, but have no confirmation on a U.S. release for the game at this point.
Thanks to 1UP.com for sharing the news with us!