Grapple Buggy Hands-On: Swingin'

Nathan Fouts' Grapple Buggy immediately conjures up warm, fuzzy feelings of Bionic Commando, Super Metroid, Contra III: The Alien Wars and Blaster Master. Damn good retro company to be kept in.

Fouts brought the work-in-progress Grapple Buggy to E3 2009, giving us a hands-on demo of the adventure platformer, showing us around the world of VALD-END 317, its "terrifying xeno-fauna and sentient aliens" and just how the dual-armed buggy works.

Pretty simple really. One grappling arm affixes itself to platforms and ledges, helping the buggy pull itself upward, letting the vehicle swing about the massive alien world. The other attacks, both smacking enemies with its metal claw and pulling them in to crush the more resilient lifeforms of VALD-END 317.

The movement in Grapple Buggy, like Bionic Commando, takes some getting used to. Moving about the planet on four wheels is easy enough. The zippy buggy sticks to steep inclines longer than you'd expect, letting the player move quickly up walls and even onto ceilings. The swinging platforming, however, is a little tougher. More forgiving than Bionic Commando and easy to ramp up on, but the swinging did result in a few deaths.


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