Ninety-Nine Nights: Hands-on

Strap on your girdle of iron and bra of metallic feathers, it's time to cut up a bunch of goblin bastards. At first, Ninety-Nine Nights appears to be based on a one-dimensional hack/slash concept, but after sitting down with the game's developer, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, we can see the method to the madness.

Our first impression of this title confused us a bit, as the game itself seemed to be no more than a really impressive Dynasty Warriors clone. You jog your character around a dusty battlefield, introducing piles of wicked monster dudes to the business end of your shank. Ninety-Nine Nights delivered a ton of acrobatic attacks that chained together easily, dazzling us with whirlwind assaultswhich sentenemies flying in all directions - except forthe ones whojust died where they stood.

A handy counter keeps track of your Max Combo (number of demon freaks you've offed in a row) and a couple of colored bars indicate your health and special attack power. When you've pasted enoughbaddies to make your special attack bar fill up, you can execute a devastating series of rage-drenched super-attacks that smash through tens of enemies with each blow. The screen blurs around your character as you create giant arcs of crackling energy and dead goblins everywhere you look.

Still, we were left scratching our heads ... not only is this game a huge departure from other titles developed by the talented Mizuguchi, it seemed just plain shallow. We needed some answers, so we asked Mizuguchi himself what was up.