Ride your beast in 2008

These are the times for classic games to rise from the distant past. A few of the titles announced so far that have been worth looking forward to include Bionic Commando, Splatterhouse, Space Invaders Extreme and Golden Axe: Beast Rider. I, like many others, was disappointed that this last one didn’t come out in 2007 as previously planned, but SEGA announced that 2008 will be the year for this M-rated title.

Beast Rider is a remake of the classic 1989 brawler with a more open-world re-imagining of all the original environments. The game centers around one of the three original characters, Tyris Flare, as she seeks revenge for lost loved ones to Death Adder and his growing empire. With hefty amounts of dismemberment, the gameplay looks to be as bloody and violent as God of War, which is a nice addition.

Though the other two characters, barbarian Ax Battler and the dwarf Gilius Thunderhead, will be involved in the story, this is strictly a one player game. In an interview with GameInformer, Nigel Cook of developer Secret Level said, “Our intention all along was to kick off this first game and use our melee, magic and beast combat systems as a foundation for future titles which will include a selection of characters, co-op mode and online play.”

Sure this is disappointing, but Beast Rider still has many classic moments to look forward to. On foot melee combat is still focus with magic building up with three tiers. Players can look forward to giving the gnomes a good kick for power-ups like before too. Then there are the beasts of course — the core of Beast Rider.

There are five beasts in all and each has been designed as its own character with individual moves and special abilities. They can be used to quick travel in the open environments and as “killing machines” in combat. Other than fighting from the saddle, the mounts will literally be able to tear enemies apart.

Beast Rider promises 12 hours of “critical-path gameplay” with side-quests likely sprinkled in. Players will also be able to choose from one of three (I’m guessing just the original three) heroes to play as for extra replay value.

[See also: Golden Axe: Beast Rider gallery]