Killer 7

As befits a game starring the seven murderous personalities who live inside a professional assassin's head, Killer 7 is not entirely 'normal'.

'Deranged', 'unhinged', and 'utterly mental' are three of the more printable comments we heard at Capcom's recent hands-on Killer 7 demonstration in Las Vegas, an event that left us with almost as many questions as we had before it started.

So how does the actual gameplay work, then? Well, it's a combination of third-person exploration, first-person combat and some massively stylish cinematic cut-scenes. What happens is you wander from fight scene to fight scene, choosing which pathway to go down at the appropriate moment. When you encounter some suspicious people you have to zoom into the first-person view to scan them. If they turn out to be enemies, you get to shoot them into hot little bits.

The one thing we are completely clear on now is the storyline. You play 60-year-old Harman Smith, an unassuming Jewish gent who's actually the world's most lethal man. Inside his head roam seven split personalities, each of which can emerge and take control, transforming Harman in a physical as well as mental aspect.

Garcian Smith is the dominant personality, with the ability to spot the enemies hidden within otherwise respectable people. These enemies are the Heaven Smile, a group of people possessed by the 'crazed smile' of godlike cult leader Kun Lan, an man who may or may not be one of Harman's personalities himself. The Heaven Smile loonies can only be unmasked by Garcian's special powers of perception.

Joining Garcian inside Harman's head is Dan Smith, a bloodthirsty killer who can divert bullets using psychokinetic abilities. You'll switch to him whenever there's any serious killing to be done.

Or you could equally take control of any other personality that bubbles to the surface during play. Coyote Smith, perhaps, a total sociopathic nutter who can walk through solid objects.

Then there's Kevin Smith (no, not that one). He has perfect night vision, glow-in-the-dark eyes, and can only travel by moving in people's shadows.

Mask de Smith is the name of the personality who wears a wrestling mask to conceal his terrible burn scars. He's resistant to fire, carries twin rocket launchers, and goes into a frenzy when he remembers his past, a bit like movie headcase Ichi The Killer.

Bringing up the rear is Con Smith, a personality who manifests as a teenage boy with incredible speed and super hearing. He likes Dan but wants to kill Coyote.

And finally there's Kaede Smith, a 20-year-old woman who doesn't realise she's just one of several personalities inside Harman's head, and consequently is in love with both Dan and Coyote.

Talk about a mixed-up old geezer. But as crazy as he may be, Harman is on a mission to save the world from the scourge of the Heaven Smile. He's the only one who can see them, let alone eradicate them from existence, and they've infiltrated all walks of life.

Looks like Harman has some serious work to do. And we've got one monster of a game plot to wrap our brains around.

Killer 7 is scheduled to release on Gamecube in September