Preview of Azurik: Rise of Perathia
Azurik: Rise of Perathiaby Stephen Cameron
November 2, 2001
Microsoft and Adrenium Games are developing one of the most immersive 3-D action-adventure game epic ever for Xbox. Azurik: Rise of Perathia matches the game-play and feel of the Zelda games in terms of action and fantasy aspects, and combines it with a killer storyline. In, Azurik, the player assumes the role of a young apprentice Lore Guardian named Azurik, sworn to protect the sacred elements of fire, water, earth, and air. I guess you see my point now.
As Azurik, players travel the vast realms of the elements in Perathia on a mission to stop the progress of an apocalyptic prophecy already in motion to threaten the condemnation of Perathia to destruction. To fight this, you must battle the evil forces of a formidable warrior named Baltahazar, and his minions. These creatures are hell bent on bringing the apocalyptic prophecy to pass. By hand-to-hand melee combat attacks and solving intuitive puzzles, you will prevent all evil from getting its way.
The ancient fantasy world of Perathia is an immense environment divided into regions dedicated to the elemental realms - air, earth, water, fire, death, and life. And then, there are even more regions within these regions, and the whole world is supported by the power of Xbox and its hard drive. This allows the gamer to freely explore the realms with no loading screens to pull you out of the adventure. Azurik'll explore these environments only to find icky little buggy creatures gunning to tear him down at every corner. In a world so incredibly and richly textured, full of tremendous dynamic lighting, unimaginable real shading, and spectacular particle effects on spectacle hardware that will make the world seem truly alive, who would want loading screens? The environments stretch for miles and miles using the Xbox technology to uphold amazing crystal clarity, and if this is so, I wouldn't.
And in this dynamic world of fantasy and heroism, there are smart, out-witting creatures, enemies if you wish, that will do anything and everything possible to stop you from reclaiming the elements. These wicked "things" are a vast array of unique and ever-changing creatures that work together relentlessly flocking you and mercilessly swarming around you with one thing on their mind, killing you. The game's enhanced artificial intelligence allows each separate insect in a swarm of at least ten otherworldly creatures to have their own AI and particle physics. This is revolutionary in itself. If you want an idea just how evil these wicked creatures really are, they'll even go to the trouble of riding one another to harm you even if it weakens them or endangers them to vulnerability. They'll sacrifice their own kind! And if you bully them, they'll run away from you to get their big brothers and gang up on you. They can even merge and transform into larger, more stable and stronger monsters. So don't take your time and play around with these guys, they're not in the mood for play. Your fate is to go in, evaluate the equation, take the hostages out, and save the world, and that's it, nothing more.
But don't worry, you won't be helpless. As you can see from some screenshots, Azurik's got a real cool weapon, called the Axion. What the Axion is, is in actuality a twin-headed halberd. But, a revolutionary weapon system lets Azurik unleash the true, volatile spirit of each of the elements on enemies with attack powers and shields in a fraction of a second at the snap of a button. Switching from a fire weapon to a water weapon to a earth weapon and so on is made easy. You can power up the Axion with the four elmental forces that you can build up to produce a variety of attacks by gaining experience, eliminating the need for magic attacks or magic power or anything related to being able to use magic, you can't. You can begin to see there are RPG aspects to this game also. The enemies are stupid, you're smart, use your wit and you will achieve. Numbers don't matter in this game, it's not a strategy war tactic either (it can be, if that's your style), it's a fantasy epic. Show your bravery and courage and live up to the sacred responsibility of being the protector of the elements.
Remember how I said don't play around? Well, If you aren't careful, enemies can even draw energy from the Axion, so be very cautious in what attack you use for certain enemies. You wouldn't want to attack a water enemy with the water element… that'll just make it meaner, and wetter. Most likely, you would choose to use an earth attack because the Earth can soak up water dry for its own benefit. With this logic, every good warrior learns to know his weapon. There's also a blade at one end so you can start slashing up enemies and draw blood, if you're that kind of gamer and blood feeds you the energy to keep playing for long-lasting hours (not recommended).
Be especially careful once night falls, some things are not as they seem. The coolest thing is that the time of day changes to night within the game, and it isn't just for adding on to the intuitive puzzles. It does affect the gameplay, but in the most wicked way. Once night falls, the creatures that would cuddle your feet at day suddenly turn into flesh eating critters at night. After being in development for more than a year, I must say, this is the one game I might end up wanting more than New Legends at Xbox' launch.