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Contract J.A.C.K. Preview
publisher: Vivendi Games
genre: Action Adventure
PIII 733, 128MB RAM, 2GB HDD, 32MB video card
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Nov 11, 03
|» All About Contract J.A.C.K. on ActionTrip|
Explore the dark side of the No One Lives Forever universe as John Jack, a rugged anti-hero in the services of H.A.R.M. The legendary chief assassin for H.A.R.M. organization has given Contract J.A.C.K. a mission-whether he wants it or not. An Italian criminal organization has plans to take H.A.R.M. down and Contract J.A.C.K. must stop them. In doing so, players contend with deadly enemies and survive against ridiculous odds to complete the mission. Intense firefights and cataclysmic predicaments are constant in this exhilarating step forward for the No One Lives Forever franchise. ActionTrip has managed to get in touch with Lead Game Designer Craig Hubbard and ask him all kinds of questions about this exciting prequel.
I refuse to pay the toll!
Wait! Let's have a chat first!
Action Trip: Contract J.A.C.K. is a stand-alone project and doesn't require N.O.L.F. or N.O.L.F. 2 to be played. Just how lengthy is the entire game? How many levels, and roughly how many hours of gameplay?
Craig Hubbard: While the game is a stand-alone title, our goal was to create a fun game roughly equivalent in nature to an expansion pack. This also means it will ship initially with a lower price point ($29.95 to be exact - 2Lions). The game is about 15 levels, some of which are pretty big. Based on our playtesting, we're guessing it'll take somewhere between six and ten hours to play through the game, depending on your skill level and whether you're searching for secrets.
AT: The game's story is set between N.O.L.F. and N.O.L.F. 2, correct? Introduce our readers to the main characters, and tell us where the game's story begins.
Craig: You get a call from Dmitrij Volkov, who wants your help with a particularly dangerous assignment to track down a rival organization that is meddling in H.A.R.M.'s business. Your job is to uncover their plot and foil it by any means necessary.
AT: So, Jack is a tough character, huh? That sets a slightly darker tone to the whole experience. Do you think N.O.L.F. fans will be pleased with that?
Craig: I hope fans will approach the game with an open mind. It's not meant to replace NOLF, just to show a different side of the universe. It's certainly less campy, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's "darker". There's still humor, but no mimes or man-crates.
Besides, Cate's plenty tough in her own way. (You wouldn't want to mess with super-spy Cate when it's "that time of the month." - 2Lions)
AT: You mentioned that this title focuses more on action (which goes with Jack's cruel personality). What exactly does Jack have to do throughout his missions?
Craig: I wouldn't say Jack has a cruel personality. He's just very good at what he does, which mostly consists of charging headlong into danger, taking on impossible odds, and blowing up a lot of stuff along the way. (So yeah, he's your average everyday altruistic hitman with suicidal tendencies. - 2Lions)
AT: Are there any similarities to the previous titles, in terms of gameplay?
Don't worry, boys. There's plenty for everybody.
Zap your way outta this!
Craig: Yes, if you approached either of the previous titles as an action game rather than a sneaking game, except the combat is more fun and the gameplay more streamlined. It's set up a lot more like NOLF than NOLF 2, except that you don't really get to sneak and there are no mission failures.
AT: Why do you think players will enjoy the new weapons? What are their features?
Craig: We've spent a lot of time refining the existing arsenal so that the weapons are more fun. The new weapons are actually variations on things we did in the first game that didn't make it into NOLF 2 for one reason or another. For example, we're bringing back the Bacalov Corrector, NOLF's signature hand cannon. There are also some futuristic weapons for the missions that take place on the moon. (Missions that take place on the moon ... whoa! - 2Lions)
AT: N.O.L.F. 2 demonstrated a well-balanced AI. Are you happy with the AI in Contract J.A.C.K.? Will you be making any changes to the enemy AI routines?
Craig: Since there's so much combat in the game, we've spent a lot of time refining enemy combat behavior. Enemies are more fun and challenging to fight. They make better use of cover, are more skilled with grenades, and are smarter about coordinating their attacks.
AT: Does the game feature any new vehicles?
Craig: Yes, there's a Vespa with mounted machineguns and a new snowmobile with a built-in, heat-seeking missile launcher. (I want one of those! - 2Lions)
AT: It's possibly too early to ask this, but is there any chance you guys might start working on N.O.L.F. 3 once you complete this game?
Craig: Unfortunately, I can't discuss the future of the franchise at this point. (Damn! - 2Lions)
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