On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One - first look

For a rake-wielding suburbanite, you're pretty capable in a fight. You'll be able to block any attack by tapping the spacebar (on the PC version, anyway), and if you time it just right, you'll retaliate with a full-blown counterattack. You'll also be able to recruit summonable characters to run in and help when you need a quick distraction; your first is Thomas Kemper the cat, who joins up with you after you sweet-talk him during a conversation. His devastating attack consists of running out into the center of the battlefield and licking himself, which is apparently so gross that it deals one point of damage to all your enemies.

Eventually, you'll meet up with the game's real heroes - John Gabriel and Tycho Erasmus (yes, Erasmus) Brahe - and, true to form, they're just as sarcastic, foul-mouthed and horrible to each other as their modern-day alter-egos. After you negotiate a few dialogue trees, they'll let you join up with them and even offer you a temporary place to stay at their office. It's a good thing, too, because the duo are a hell of a lot more effective in a scrap than you and your silly rake. Gabe - who's even more dimwitted here than he usually is in the comic - is able to deal heavy damage to any monster with just his fists, while Tycho only takes his nose out of his book long enough to unleash volleys from a Tommy gun.

Each character's abilities can be enhanced or damaged by using certain items, and each one's attacks will be more effective on certain kinds of enemies. All three characters also pack a unique Grand Slam attack, which can be unleashed through a quick minigame. Gabe's involves hammering on the space bar to fill up a meter, while Tycho's has you hitting arrow keys in rapid succession. Yours, meanwhile, involves hitting space at just the right moments while a clock hand sweeps quickly around a dial.

It's worth noting, also, that none of the characters have a speaking voice; in fact, the only recorded dialogue in the game appears to come from the narrator. The rest of the chat is strictly text-only, which - while mildly disappointing - helps reinforce the comic-booky feel. It's one of several things that do that, actually; a couple of the others are seamless transitions from 2D to 3D, and environments that - when you reach the edge - become comic panels and slide offscreen to make way for the next area.


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