Preview: Shadow of Rome

January 20, 2005


Capcom has started out 2005 with a bang. [i]Resident Evil 4[/i] is getting rave reviews, and the GameCube has yet another title that makes it a must-own system. In February, Capcom hopes to continue that success with the release of [i]Shadow of Rome[/i]. [i]Shadow of Rome[/i] is a third-person action game set in Rome and could easily be compared to [i]Gladiator[/i]. [i]Shadow of Rome[/i] stars a pair of main characters-Agrippa, whose style lends well to in-your-face action, and Octavianus, whose favors the stealthy style of gameplay. The duo is on a mission to uncover key evidence that will free Agrippa’s father, who has been falsely accused of murdering Caesar and is awaiting execution.

[floatleft][/floatleft]Despite the game’s similarity to other action titles, [i]Shadow of Rome[/i] sports a full-blown combat system that has a full gamut of weapons and attacks, and even has my favorite: interactive environments. For fans of the ancient chariots, [i]Shadow of Rome[/i] comes complete with chariot racing. Chariot racing comes with all the intensity that you remember from [i]Ben Hur[/i] (did I just date myself?). With chariots that take damage, you can expect these races to be heated.

Because this game is set in Rome, there are the obligatory arena battles. Instead of standard fare hack and slash, [i]Shadow of Rome[/i] requires a little bit of thinking to be a successful gladiator. Early foes will go down quickly without much thought, but later enemies will require thought and planning in order to kill. The combo system plays a nice role in matches with a large number of foes, and weapons will always be useful. Lay down some impressive moves, and the crowd may just toss you some weapons.

With a choice in main characters, it is safe to say that by selecting Agrippa you will be facing guards and other enemies head on. Octavianus, being the stealthy one, is going to require a little more patience and care, but he also has a bag full of tricks. Listening through doors, peeping through keyholes, and even stealing other peoples clothes are some of the methods you can employ as Octavianus to get information. You will also need to solve puzzles with your surroundings in order to take out guards.

[floatright][/floatright][i]Shadow of Rome[/i] makes use of the technology behind [i]Onimusha 3[/i]’s fantastic visuals, so you know things will look topnotch. All of the characters in [i]Shadow of Rome[/i] feature well-done models and a very high level of detail, with the animals really looking crisp.

2004 was a great year for the gaming industry, and it seems that most developers are in a great rhythm with the current consoles. They have learned how to harness all the power that these little machines have, and developers like Capcom are churning out some high-quality titles. You can expect 2005 to be an even better year, and with titles like [i]Shadow of Rome[/i] on the horizon, it is no wonder why.