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May 2, 2004
Van Helsing - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price

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Digital Hugh Jackman.
Will Van Helsing be the biggest movie of this (American) Summer? It's unlikely. Spiderman 2 is certain to take that crown, but there is little doubt that the Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale movie is likely to do very well. Indeed, with Stephen Sommers (The Mummy, The Mummy Returns) directing the movie it's likely to be one hell of a show. As with most big movies a video game tie in was always assured and Vivendi have come to the party with Saffire (who developed the midly entertaining Barbarian on PS2) taking up the development duties.

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That's bloody, bloody.
Essentially Van Helsing tells the story of Abraham Van Helsing, who actually appeared in Bram Stoker's Dracula. He is a man who is hell bent on killing Dracula, and nothing will stop him including The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, Igor and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One thing to note about the game however, is that the story will deviate from the movie offering more detail and scenarios.

So what's in the Van Helsing game you ask? Well the game is split up into 13 missions with the action taking place from a 3rd person perspective much like Devil May Cry. In fact, the gameplay has more the a couple of moments much like Capcom's classic action title. While playing through Van Helsing you will encounter 22 different creatures, and 8 bosses including The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, and Dracula.

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That is Hugh Jackman.
With three difficulty levels the developers are ensuring that pretty much anyone will be able to play Van Helsing, and they are also playing plenty of unlockables to keep you interested. The range of weapons also impresses with 9 in total including tojo blades, dual pistols, grappling hook, and the super powerful elephant gun. The grappling hook will offer plenty of action as, much like the Mortal Kombat games, you can hook and enemy, drag them towards you and then beat them to a bloody pulp. In another move that sound much like Mortal Kombat the game will include unique finishing movies for enemies that are almost defeated - more then reminescent of the fatalities in Midway's title.

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Pretty bland graphics here.
Graphically there is plenty of references to the movie (well, really the books I guess) as you visit places such as the mythical settings of legendary Transylvania; Castle Frankenstein, Vaseria Village and Castle Dracula. The graphics in these screenshots vary from pretty good, to pretty plain - although the visual effects look quite nice. All this action will take place at a cool 30fps.

From all indications Van Helsing has taken more then a couple of inspirational moments from Capcom's brilliant Devil May Cry. If it even gets remotely close to that title then it will be a movie license worth looking at. At this stage I'm pretty keen for it.