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Joystiq hands-on: Spyborgs

Kevin Kelly

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Nintendo fans may not be able to get their hands on Bionic Commando, but Capcom may have something even better for Wii owners. Spyborgs has its own bionic cybernetic arm-enhanced warrior, and it's but one of three characters you can play as in Spyborgs.

So, what are the Spyborgs? They're an elite team of good guys, each with a unique cybernetic attachment. However, a former Spyborg has gone rogue, capturing heroes in an evil attempt to -- wait for it -- TAKE OVER THE WORLD! Or, at the very least, make himself into a god. Just another day in the life of a video game, right? In Spyborgs, players will choose to play as one of the three remaining team members: Stinger, the Bionic Commando wannabe; Clandestine, a nimble, skinny female ninja; and Bouncer, a linebacker-ish robo-dude.

Gallery: Spyborgs (Wii) | 24 Photos

As you'd imagine, Clandestine is perfect for hopping around and unleashing fast attacks, while Bouncer is the damage-absorbing tank meant to pound enemies up close and personal. Unfortunately, we weren't able to play as Stinger, but we wonder if Capcom is planning on going Bionic with him. Lest we forget, he does have that hulking arm made out of metal. Speaking of cybernetics, we're not quite sure where Clandestine's electronics are. Perhaps she's enhanced in ways we can't even imagine?

The controls are rather straightforward. Maneuver with the analog stick, jump with the A button, attack with the B and C buttons and block with Z. Spyborgs takes advantage of the Wii pointing capabilities with "Spyvision." Highlight distortions with your Wii Remote then hit the A button while you target cloaked objects to yank them into the real world. These can be things like health crates, exploding bundles of dynamite or door controls.

You won't use motion controls for basic fighting, but you'll have access to plenty of waggle-enhanced finishing moves. To execute these stylish attacks, you'll have to mimic on-screen indicators. In addition, you can use the Wii Remote to start co-op attacks. When you initiate a co-op move, your buddy will have to confirm the tag-team by lifting their Nunchuck in the air and flicking it down. Both players must then follow the on-screen indicators; success will be rewarded with massive damage.

Spyborgs can be played in single player, with players able to zap back and forth between characters. However, you'll have much more fun playing it co-op with a buddy. The Spyborgs team has done a great job of building a lot of moments to unleash co-op attacks. It is easy to miss the prompt to join a co-op attack, though. The screen can be filled with an overwhelming number of enemies, so it's best for players to communicate when playing the game. Another nice touch for the co-op mode: if your health is full, any health orbs you collect will transfer to your friend. Nice touch when you're playing with an item-hog.

The game is being developed by former members of Insomniac Games and High Impact Games studios, so it's easy to draw comparisons to the Ratchet & Clank series. Spyborgs certainly borrows the series' cartoonish look and intuitive combat controls. From what we've played, hardcore gamers may find Spyborgs a bit too easy, although we're hoping for more difficult combat later on in the game. A boss battle hints at some of the challenge that lays ahead. In classic Capcom style, players had to fight a multi-phase battle against a giant robot.

The colorful graphics make good use of Wii's limited power, and with a promised 35 levels of gameplay, hardcore and casual gamers alike may be able to keep themselves quite busy with Spyborgs. We certainly want to see more.

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