Indiana Jones - first look

In the E3 demonstration for the as-yet-unsubtitled brawler Indiana Jones, we watched as Indy handily disarmed some Triad thugs in a steamy, dingy back alley. Then he grabbed one by the lapels and threw him against a car. Then he did it again. And again. And again.

Granted, the outcome was a little different each time, with the thug breaking the window with his head or bending backwards over the hood before slumping to the ground. From where we were sitting, it looked like a refined version of the "ragdoll" enemies we've been seeing in games for years now. But if LucasArts is to be believed, the thug and his reactions represent nothing less than a revolution in game design.

Using a new technology called Euphoria, Indiana Jones gives its characters a central nervous system and teaches them how to react to different in-game situations, according to LucasArts. The result? Instead of using pre-rendered animations, the game's characters will be self-sufficient robots that behave realistically and organically. They'll be able to work as a team, look for weak spots in Indy's defense and hang on for dear life to keep from falling off cliffs. As the demo showed, they'll even struggle to keep their balance once Indy grabs them and starts pushing them around. And, yeah, they'll fall differently every time you slam them into something.

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