Since the system's creation, Nintendo 64 owners have been clamoring for more RPGs, a cry that has gone largely unanswered due to poor sales of the system in Japan. With the advent of Zelda, however, a few developers are finally taking a more serious look at the N64. Among them is Konami, which is throwing its hat into the RPG ring with Hybrid Heaven.
Pardon me, sir,
do you have any Grey Poupon?
Hybrid Heaven's unusual name comes from its mainvillains, a race of genetically-engineered hybrid humans who are (gasp!) plotting to take over modern-day Earth as part of a government conspiracy. While that story sure won't win any awards for originality, the gameplay might.
Hybrid Heaven is the latest game to eschew weapons in favor of martial arts combat -- in combat, you choose from a listof different fighting moves that expands as you gain levels. (Later in the game, however, you will be able to collect a variety of weapons, mostly various guns and explosives.) You can't just use these at will, however,as you must wait for a power gauge to reach 100% before you can attack at full strength. In the mean time, you can move around to dodge attacks, similar to Parasite Eve.
The most intriguing part of Hybrid Heaven's battle system, however, is the ability to level up different parts of your body a la Tobal 2 -- for example, fighting with your fists a lot will make them stronger, while kicking will strengthen your legs. When the various parts of your body reach a high enough level, you'll also learn new moves.
The real-time battle system isn't the only thing Hybrid Heaven shares with Parasite Eve; both games take place in a modern era and feature lots of cut-scenes. (Hybrid Heaven's are real-time, however, not FMV.) Unfortunately, it seems like HH might also share one of Parasite Eve's flaws: its length (or lack thereof). The game is said to consist of 11 different "areas," and while these have several different subsections, that still isn't a whole lot,especially for an RPG.
The only question that remains is when Hybrid Heaven will be hitting the streets. Konami maintains a release date of May, but we've seen very little of the game, and it's hardly a high-profile right now, so we wouldn't be too surprised if it slips into the summer. Whenever it arrives, however, it will surely be met with a warm welcome by RPG-starved N64 fans.
Preview by Fritz Fraundorf, GIA.
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|Hybrid Heaven |
|Release Date|| Unknown|| 09.01.99|
|E3: Hybrid Heaven impressions |
|6 E3 screenshots |
|Character designs |
|Japanese packaging |