Killer 7

The sharpest, oddest death-fest on any Nintendo system ever is starting to make a little more sense now. Harman Smith's the wheelchair-bound man who holds the key to defeating evil Kun Lan and his army of suicidal Heaven's Smile bomb squad. It's his seven different personalities - all hardened assassins - that you get to play in the game, as well as Harman himself.

You can switch between these personalities at key points throughout the game - only if you feel it's necessary (and you will). Each member of the Smith 'family' has three different special abilities - special attacks, puzzle-solving and the way they approach different environments.

In order to tap into these special abilities you'll need to absorb the blood from the people under the influence of Heaven's Smile that you nail during the course of the game. Those under the influence of the smile become walking bombs - and are the source of the panic that's spreading through the people and government that Kun Lan's trying to destroy.

The game itself is split into first-person shooter chunks where you head towards an objective shooting up Smilers along the way, plus sections that require more exploration and puzzle solving (using the different abilities of the seven personalities). Throw in some dark and sweary cut-scene plot development (there seems to be a lot of this from what we've seen) and you've got a game that doesn't seem as impenetrable and confusing as we first feared. We think.

It's definitely not a game you'll want to crack open at Christmas, though, (not that you can, because it's not out anywhere until early 2005). Cartoon violence it may be, but it's brutal - Heaven's Smile heads bursting like balloons full of tomato soup. The sky turning crimson as blood falls like rain. Limbs popping as sniper scopes are zoomed in and targeted with cruel precision. Your dear old nan would probably cough up her shortbread.

Capcom have one of the strongest, 'real gamer'-pleasing line-ups on Gamecube next year - with Viewtiful Joe 2 (s'alright), Resident Evil 4 and Killer 7 all arriving within the space of three months. Who needs Revolution just yet...?

Killer7 will be released for Gamecube in March 2005