Dark Void: Dogfighting Without The Planes

Dark Void promises to deliver the best of on-foot combat and Crimson Skies dog fights in a world of jet packs and UFOs.

Air Tight Games, a studio made up of the core team behind Xbox' Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, played through a chunk of the game for us last week. Showing a level about halfway through Dark Void.

In it the lead character, Will, already has his flight helmet and jet pack. The level opens as he zips into a canyon that has been fortified with an alien ship of sorts. UFOs fly around blasting at him as he tries to take down a number of mounted guns.

After spending a few minutes pinging the massive guns with his own weapon, Will flips over, flying straight at a UFO. A quick button push and he's standing on the floating disk, trying to pull up some of the protective metal armour. This skyjacking amounts to quick mini-game of avoiding gun fire while trying to disable the ship.

When he succeeds, a robot of sorts stands up and Will boots it from the craft, taking control of the UFO. The developers point out, rather enigmatically, that the game has no robots, only vehicles.

Using the ships heavier guns and explosive fire, Will makes short work of the guns.

After spending the entire opening sequence in flying combat it is a little bewildering to see Will flying straight for a platform filled with barricades and enemies. As he approaches the developer cuts his jet pack and Will lands on his feet, quickly running to cover.

The game seems to shift to a straight-up, though admirably solid shooter. Will ducks in and out of cover as he takes down his enemies.

After working his way inside the building, mostly through classic shooter strategy, Will is faced with an interesting new dilemma: He needs to work his way straight up through a tunnel of slowly turning platforms. One option is to aim carefully, hit the gas on your jet pack and hope for the best. This often results in a flattened body. Another approach is to use vertical cover.

To use vertical cover, the developer has Will look up and then presses the cover button when one of those platforms rotate to directly above him. Will hops into the air and grabs the platform, clinging to its underside as the view suddenly shifts making it appear you are looking down a hallway, rather than up a tunnel.

Will can then scramble back and forth on this shelf of metal, ducking behind it as he fires, or he can climb on top of it resetting the view until he jumps up to the next shelf. It's disorienting, but it appears to work.

After the demo, the developers said that currently their plans are for the game to be single player only but that if "people clamber at the gates for multiplayer jetpack goodness" they will look into it.

Dark Void hasn't yet been dated, but is in development for the PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.


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