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Taking on the ambitious 'Rome'



Published: Sun, August 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The M rating is appropriate.

By CHRIS CAMPBELL

SCRIPPS HOWARD

"Killer7." Platforms: GameCube, PlayStation 2. Genre: Action. Publisher: Capcom. ESRB Rating: M, for Mature. Grade: sss 1/2 out of 5

Rarely do video games come along that get you to stop and discuss the plot, ramifications and all the subtleties -- especially in shooting games. Typically, this is reserved for "Wow, that gun sounds huge!" or "Look at how I just mauled 17 guys with a single rocket launcher attack!"

But with Capcom's new "Killer7," gamers get a unique experience -- the story may be discussed much like the original "Matrix" movie, with debates raging over metaphors and hidden meanings. It's a peculiar game, but one definitely worth trying out.

Game's premise

You play as a group of seven deadly assassins -- well, kinda -- known as the Killer7. The "kinda" refers to the fact that all seven are most likely the split personalities of the main character, Harman Smith. Each killer has special abilities and killer traits, which come in handy at various times. The enigma of a plot revolves around a global dispute between Japan and the United States. The blur between fiction and reality at times is as murky as mud, which gives you reason to want to discuss this video game as if it were a best-selling nonfiction book.

You take the killer along, solving puzzles and engaging in shootouts with terrorist enemies known as Heaven Smile. These suicide bombers are hard to find and also difficult to kill. There's a lot of backtracking and methodical dialogue, so players can expect a robust number of hours to be played in order to finish.

"Killer7" is intriguing because of its controls and gameplay, as much as for its visual style and narrative. The controls are very simple to grasp, and recall the old arcade game "Dragon's Lair."

The M rating will limit somewhat the audience that "Killer7" can influence, and maybe that's a good thing. The story is perhaps a little too revolutionary and the violence too Quentin Tarantino-like to be acceptable to the masses.




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