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March 23, 2003
RTX Red Rock - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price

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Graphics are looking hot.
Just prior to the 2002 E3 show LucasArts announced an all new action game, RTX Red Rock. This game is touted as an epic third-person action-adventure expected to release in mid 2003 on Playstation 2 with the Gamecube port being dropped in early 2003. While the game looks impresive the, storyline should also keep you interested.

Set in 2103 - 100 years in the future - Red Rock, mankind's first colony on Mars, is besieged by a brutal alien force and military leaders on faraway Earth are stymied - so they call on Radical Tactics Expert (RTX) Eugene Zeno "E.Z." Wheeler as their best hope in RTX Red Rock. Radical Tactics Experts, who evolved out of the military's special forces, are the smartest and toughest members of the armed services, uniquely known for their strategic thinking, adaptability, and pure military muscle. Individuals from this elite unit are trained for insertion into undefined combat situations where even a small team is too large and unwieldy. In RTX Red Rock players immerse themselves into the role of Wheeler, who engages in fierce tactical combat, investigates mysterious, foreboding environments, and solves challenging puzzles to reclaim the Red Rock colony on Mars.

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Running with the astronaut suit.
Wheeler lost both his right arm and his left eye during his previous mission. They have since been replaced by synthetic versions that have enhanced capabilities including Thermo-scan, which is red in color and enables Wheeler to see through walls and identify hidden enemies. His other vision modes include Electro-scan which is a blue lens color that allows Wheeler to identify electrical systems he can interact with, Bio-scan identifies biological residue and Navi-scan which displays maps and other data that is uploaded to the eye module. His synthetic arm comes standard with a military pistol, but can also be upgraded during the game to contain a plasma cutter, torque wrench, grappling hook, taser and grenade launcher.

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Interiors look clean.
The game begins with Wheeler embarking on a reconnaissance mission to Mars' inner moon, Phobos, to monitor the movements of the L.E.D.s, a ruthlessly hostile alien species who have ransacked the colony. The expectation is that everyone is dead. Upon arrival, Wheeler picks up a distress call from Cimmeria Rajan, Red Rock's young and beautiful Chief Colony Officer. Contrary to the military's worst fears, she and a handful of others survived the alien invasion. Wheeler quickly descends to the planet's surface for a sustained rescue operation that challenges him to swim through underground waterways, cross Mars' frozen deserts, penetrate the colony ruins, and sneak into alien ships, battling L.E.D.s at every turn.

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Outside on the red planet.
Action in RTX Red Rock is distinguished by Wheeler's unique mechanized abilities, granted to him through a series of medical operations to mend previous combat injuries. Wheeler's synthetic right arm is both tool and weapon, upgradeable to grappling hook, taser, grenade launcher, and more. Likewise, his synthetic left eye is sensitive to special wavelengths and can be used to locate and target hidden aliens, identify traps, and uncover power-ups throughout the game's 10 levels. State-of-the-art computer techniques allow LucasArts to blend realism and fantasy, bringing players to the planet Mars in a way never before possible.

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The clothing resembles Star Trek.
Joining Wheeler in this treacherous adventure is his faithful digital sidekick IRIS (Independent Removable Information System). IRIS is a portable computer module with an impudent female personality. When inserted into standard ports on various robots and control panels she comes to chattering life and, guided by the player, helps Wheeler solve his problems. Utilizing control of IRIS for portions of the game, players directly command robots, Martian rovers, and other highly maneuverable alien craft. RTX Red Rock also will feature a two-player split-screen multiplayer mode for head-to-head battles, capture the flag tournaments, and exhilarating races in some of the game's many vehicles.

With the Gamecube version now canned this game could be another game for Playstation 2 owners to celebrate about. The graphics look nice enough and while the 10 missions gives some concern to the longevity of the title there is certainly enough variety in the weapons and equipment to keep you entertained. LucasArts have had a rough ride of late with their games not performing up to expectations, especially Star Wars: Bounty Hunter which promised so much and yet delivered so little. Keep your eyes open as the game gets closer to completion and its May 2003 release date.