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G-Force - hands-on

What's the result when you mix a Jerry Bruckheimer live-action extravaganza, a bit of CG magic, and adorable rodents? A bizarre question to be sure, but Disney will answer it this summer with G-Force, a family-friendly action flick starring a series of guinea pig secret agents. Smirk if you'd like, but kids love guinea pigs, and where there's scent of a new franchise that kids might go crazy over, you'd better believe Disney has a video game in the works to take full advantage.

Above: Screen from PS3 version

In the film, villainous millionaire Leonard Saber devises a evil scheme to take over the world by transforming regular household appliances into weapons of destruction. In gameplay terms, this translates into action-platforming with unique guns and enemies somewhat reminiscent of the Ratchet & Clank series. Add in a bit of stealth - you play as one of the tiny guinea pigs after all, so avoiding humans is necessary to survival - and you've got a licensed game that has the potential to not suck.

The most promising aspect of G-Force is clearly the wide variety of gadgets and weapons, devices that could set this apart from the average platformer. A thermal goggle is available for dark areas and paints your screen in bright colors the same way a similar gadget would in a Splinter Cell game. A jetpack allows your furry friend to reach far-away areas and stay in the air longer than usual, though it has a short time limit for use. The Saberlizer acts somewhat like the scanning feature in the Metroid Prime series, allowing you to carefully analyze enemies and the environment to sniff out weaknesses and other secrets, and you may need to use your special mechanical fly drone to access some of the hidden areas you uncover.

Above: Screen from 360 version

And what about the actual guns? You'll have plenty of variety, from flamethrowers and freeze guns to long-range blasters, all of which have familiar third-person aiming controls with a helpful lock-on. The cluster rifle acts like a machine gun while the shot bolter is the cuddly video game equivalent of a shotgun. You'll also be able to use the nanohacker to turn ferocious enemy appliances into allies and a very Ratchet & Clank-esque electric whip for short-range melee attacks. The weapons will be upgradeable via vending kiosks scattered throughout the game.