Posted on June 14, 2012 AT 09:30am
Double Fine is one company to never worry about when it comes to trying something different, whether it’s combining action gaming with RTS elements (Brutal Legend) or making an adventure game starring matryoshka dolls (Stacking). For their next venture Double Fine has hired the legendary Ron Gilbert, whose work in Maniac Mansion and the original Monkey Island series is renowned for its combination of unique gameplay mechanics with highly entertaining storytelling. When the two forces combined they created The Cave, a side-scrolling adventure game that promises to challenge your brain and tickle your funny bone at the same time.
At E3 this year the folks at Double Fine held a closed-doors demonstration of this new game. The Cave will have you be able to take control of seven characters, each with their own unique traits and personality. During your play-through you will have the chance to be three of these characters at a time, as you will be able to switch back and forth between the trio in order to solve puzzles and reach areas that the other characters can’t get to. As you will only control three at a time this will mean that you will be able to go through the storyline at least three times with different characters, but do not let that discourage you. What makes The Cave cool is that the areas of this specific cave you visit will be determined by who you’re playing as, meaning that you’ll be able to visit new places if you play as different characters. The game also has co-op mode, meaning that two of your friends can join in on the fun whenever they want.
The premise of The Cave is simple: these seven characters (eight if you count the twins) are looking to earn themselves a wish. In order to gain access to the wish they must go through a magical talking cave that will give them many tasks and puzzles to solve. During the first part of the demonstration one of the guys from Double Fine showed how three-person teamwork will coincide with the gameplay. For it they chose the characters of the Hillbilly, the Scientist, and the Knight. The Scientist and the Knight had to pull down a bridge so the Hillbilly could cross it. After jumping through a couple areas the Hillbilly met his demise by a camouflaged dragon. (Don’t worry: death isn’t forever here, as the cave wants your characters to succeed.)
Above the dragon’s area was a crane, and below the bridge was a sausage vending machine. Using his climbing skills the Hillbilly reached the top where the crane could be used, and via his, um, sausage-carrying skills, the Knight grabbed the giant German meatiness and brought it over to where the dragon was sleeping. As soon as the spiky reptile smelled the sausage he came out of hiding and started chowing away, which led the Hillbilly to pull the level. With the dragon now out of the way the characters could continue onward with their journey.
The developers then moved the gameplay to a later point, where the Knight must earn a princess’s amulet with the gift of gold. Unfortunately another giant dragon is blocking the Knight from reaching the treasure, so it’s up to the Scientist to help grab it. It was here where it was revealed that each character has a specific trait that the other six characters don’t. The Knight’s power is Guardian Angel, which lets him be immune from most of the things that would cause harm to the others, including a dragon’s fiery breath. When the power is initiated the Knight can simply walk in front of the dragon and be attacked without being harmed, letting the Scientist sneak from behind and steal a morsel of the treasure for the princess. Unfortunately she forgot to unlock the door, but that’s not too bad, right?
As soon as the Scientist starts climbing up back to the princess loud screams are heard throughout the castle. “Who forgot to lock the dragon’s cage?!” shouted one character. Soon you tread through a nasty red-stained area (“Those knights sure love their raspberry jam,” quipped one of the Double Fine peeps), while the sounds of smashing and crashing filled the hollowed halls of the castle. You finally reach the princess, only to find her being eaten by the dragon. All looked bleak, but then the dragon spat out the amulet and completing this part of the quest. No point crying over the princess, as she seemed too snobby for your well-being.
So far The Cave is looking to continue onwards with both Double Fine’s and Ron Gilbert’s track record of unique gameplay, good storytelling, and funny dialogue & moments. The puzzles look like good brainteasers, and the ability to play through the game as different characters will open the door to discovering secrets and other hidden gems that each person holds dear. (Props must also be given to Double Fine’s overall presentation, which would’ve easily brought down the house if SEGA had held a press event.)
The Cave is due out in 2013 on Xbox Live Arcade, PSN, and PC. When it comes to both Double Fine and Ron Gilbert, you’ll know that a real treat will be in store for your gameplay experience, whether it’s for the dazzling puzzles or the witty humor.
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