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GDC08: Dishwasher - Dead Samurai impressions

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Rounding out our extensive GDC08 coverage we end up where we began, talking about James Silva's Dishwasher: Dead Samurai. Eager to promote their upcoming Community Games feature slated to hit this holiday season, Microsoft released a number of demos made from their XNA development platform for free via Xbox Live Marketplace. One of the demos, Dishwasher, is one of four top prizes awarded by Microsoft for an XBLA release contract made by one extremely creative and passionate guy.

After spending the better part of a week "chopping dudes up," we've finally been able to put the controller down and tell you exactly how Dishwasher stacks up as a future, full-fledged, XBLA title.
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Dishwasher: Dead Samurai
is loosely based on the true life story of James Silva, the only truth being that he once washed dishes as a part-time job -- everything else, like cybernetic killer Agents has been imagined by Silva himself.

We checked out two levels, starting with the first story mode level, Foghorn Cafe. After a short graphic-novel style introduction to the story, in the same vein as Max Payne but without bad voice acting, we're given control as an angry duel-cleaver wielding samurai who must fight his way out of, what we assume, was his previous place of employ. Well, the dead samurai has a new job and cutting dudes is that profession. Initially the enemy list consists of simple Agent Smith-esque looking baddies that fire a standard side-arm. Later we're introduced to taser wand-waving riot soldiers and finally the more difficult grenade launcher variety of enemy combatant.


Taking dudes out is relatively simple. You jump with the A button, perform normal attacks with the X button, use the Y button to attack with even more force, and finish off enemies with B or Y when an on screen icon indicated they've been dealt enough damage. Pushing the right analog stick in any direction caused the Dishwasher to roll in that respective direction. Using your cleavers you can string button presses into a variety of different combos which all play out in the games beautiful anime-style visuals.

After a few rooms of basic enemy encounters we found ourselves face-to-face with a horseback end boss. The strategy was simple enough, dwindle his health meter down to force him to a fair street fight. Once we defeated him we were treated to play through the game again with the end boss's katana that added the special bonus of allowing the Dishwasher the ability to teleport in any direction we pressed on the right analog stick, removing the original roll movement when wielding the cleavers.


The second area we tested was the arcade mode, which will house co-operative modes via local or online connection. A handful of arcade levels were unlocked and each task the Dishwasher(s) with defeating enemy waves until a limit is reached.

The amazing part of Dishwasher, apart from pretty much everything in the demo, is that it was created solely by one guy, James Silva. We had a chance to sit down with him and talk to him regarding his upcoming XBLA release of The Dishwasher so for more information on him you can check that out.


Aside from increasing our excitement for the game that captured Microsoft's heart at the Dream, Build, Play competition, the wonderfully crafted demo does right what major corporations even get wrong. Showcasing the best qualities it could in the short time you can complete the experience, the demo succeeds in every way it was designed to -- it made us crave more. Jame Silva's gritty and unapologetic over-the-top artistic style and near-perfect controls make Dishwasher: Dead Samurai one of our most anticipated Xbox Live Arcade releases for 2008.

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