|Spider-Man crawls alongside the Los Angeles Convention Center during E3.|
But what does this all have to do with comics? Well, that should be obvious as more and more comics and a driving influence in the video game industry. Comics were seen "representing" throughout the convention floor, from huge displays for games like the upcoming "The Punisher" from THQ and the upcoming "X-Men: Legends" and "Spider-Man 2" games from Activision. Then of course there was the online multi-player game like "City of Heroes" with a large display in the convention hall. Teaser trailers for "100 Bullets" from Acclaim could be seen outside the massive xBox booth and games like the upcoming "The Red Star" were also represented at E3.
Half the excitement of E3 comes from the announced technology and game previews, but the other half comes from the sheer size and style of the show. It's loud, very loud on the convention floor as each vendor tries to outdo their competition in size and noise. Imagine a large convention hall filled with video game machines, each with their sound turned on as loud as it can be. Giant LED displays pepper the hall with hundreds of high-definition flat screen monitors displaying the latest video games. We'll try to put it into perspective for those of you who've attended say Comic-Con International in San Diego or Wizard World Chicago. Take the four largest booths you can find at those conventions, add in an intricately designed booth featuring massive video displays and hundreds of video game machines, make it multiple levels and you have just one company booth out of the many who exhibit. For example, entering the xBox booth felt more like walking into a Hollywood club on a Saturday night than a video game display. Oh, and let's not forget the "booth babes," which were out in force this year.
|Activision had a couple of "Spider-Man 2" movie props at the convention, including this piece of Doc Oc!|
"X-Men: Legends" is an all new action RPG set to debut on the Playstation 2, xBox and Nintendo Gamecube consoles this Fall. The story in the game was written by comic creators Joe Casey, Joe Kelly and Steven Seagle and is based on the "Ultimate X-Men" comic. We have to admit that even this non-gamer was impressed by the game enough to consider buying one of those consoles later this year.
The play of the game is impressive. The level we began with found the X-Men on a sinking ship trying to discover what the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants was after, hoping to get to it before they do. On screen at all times are four X-Men of your choice. When the game comes out later this year you'll be able to choose from 15 different X-characters, but for the purposes of this demonstration we were shown the abilities of seven different X-Men - Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Iceman and Gambit. You control one player at a time and can effortlessly switch between characters to give yourself an advantage as you enter each new room. Rob Gee told us that at different points in the game you'll be able to visit the X-Man known as Forge to purchase more equipment for each character.
|A hand full of screen shots from "X-Men: Legends"|
The game was demonstrated for us using an xBox on a high-definition flat screen television and it looked gorgeous. Incredibly detailed graphics with realistic shading. One element that made the comic fan in us jump was how each character had the familiar black ink outlines like you see in the comic. "We went for our own look for a comic based game," Gee told CBR News. It didn't distract at all from the design, in fact it helped "pop" the characters off the screen. And the level we watched began with an introduction from Professor X, voiced by actor Patrick Stewart, a nice bonus.
Say you're in the middle of a game and a friend comes over and wants to play? No problem, your friend can pick up a second controller and join the game on the fly. And when he's done playing, not a problem, the character your friend controlled simply goes back to computer control.
|A look at the "Spider-Man 2" portion of the Activision booth with a Doc Oc set piece.|
It's clear from our short visit to E3 that comics are playing an increasingly important role in the even growing video game market.
|A look at the front and back of the "X-Men: Legends" display.|
|A couple more looks at the set pieces from "Spider-Man 2."|
|A couple of looks at the rather large "Punisher" booth at E3.|