G.I. Joe The Game Impressions: Action Disfigurement

Publisher EA showed off the Double Helix's toy, cartoon and film-inspired action game G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra at the this year's Game Developers Conference, and I sat down for a demonstration to see what Helix has done with the real American hero.

nope G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a third-person shooter in development for just about every major gaming platform. The game takes place just after the events in the upcoming movie, so you'll actually play all new scenarios rather than simply running through a scene-by-scene remake of the movie. Story details weren't revealed, but you can wager that it has something to do with Cobra trying to destroy the world and the G.I. Joes putting and end to that plan with lots of firepower and emphatic shouts of "Go Joe!"

In the demonstration I saw, the Joes were running through a desert area and an arctic area shooting wave after wave of enemy Cobras and taking part in generally destructive behavior like blowing up barrels, power generators, HISS tanks, turrets, and so on.

The view of the action is pulled back enough to give a full view of the battle area, so all the player has to do is run and shoot. Things like dodging, hiding behind cover, and jumping over obstacles are entirely optional.

The game has a simple old-school arcade feel, almost reminiscent of the classic Total Carnage or Ikari Warriors. Even aiming is optional, as there's an auto lock feature, allowing you to use nothing but the left analog stick and the right trigger to play through the entire game. Of course, there's also an option to use a dual-analog shooter control scheme if you want to aim manually.

The Rise of Cobra is built around two-player co-op, so you'll always have a buddy to back you up on the battlefield, even if you're playing by yourself. Friends can jump in and out of the game at any time, but here's the catch: there's no online play. It seems like a serious oversight, but apparently online play was a low priority and instead development resources were spent filling out the game with as much G.I. Joe nostalgia as possible.

The game's roster includes 12 playable Joes with familiar-though updated-faces like Snake-Eyes, Heavy Duty, and Shipwreck. There are also four playable Cobra characters, but the only one confirmed at this point is Storm Shadow.

You can also unlock the famously parodied G.I. Joe public service announcement videos, as well as more than 75 file cards that can be viewed in a gallery. Even the theme song from the 80's cartoon series shows up in the game.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is scheduled to release around the same time as the movie, which comes out this August. The game will be available for just about everything--PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS and PSP--the only omission being the PC.