Dark Void Getting 8-bit Nintendo DSi 'Zero' Prequel, Complete with Cartridge Blowing Mini-Game

By Chris Faylor, Dec 22, 2009 12:20pm PST

In what very well may be the best bit of cross-promotion the Nintendo DSi has ever seen, Capcom has revealed a retro-styled Dark Void prequel that will be downloadable through the online DSiWare Shop in January.

Set before the events of the Airtight-developed sci-fi action game Dark Void (coming to PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on January 19), "Dark Void Zero" is a three-level, side-scrolling shooter helmed by Other Ocean (Ultimate Mortal Kombat DS, Puffins: Island Adventure).

On top of its old-school aesthetic, Dark Void Zero's nostalgia factor goes so far as to require players to "blow the dust off the [virtual] cartridge" before actually starting the game proper, with GameSpot reporting that it will sell for 500 DSi Points / $5.

To explain away the retro dressings, Capcom has rewritten history accordingly:

As the '80s were drawing to a close, the developers at Capcom began work on a top secret project that aimed to set new standards for the platformer genre. That game was called "Dark Rift", and it blended the intense shooting action of Section Z with the latest innovations in platform jumping from Mega Man. In order to properly fulfill the producer's vision for Dark Rift (later renamed Dark Void), the hardware engineering team at Capcom was enlisted to design and produce an all-new chipset that would be included in every cartridge, enabling huge numbers of sprites and never-before-seen special effects to be displayed on the aging NES platform and the PlayChoice-10 NES arcade cabinet.

Alas, time waits for no man and game developers are no exception. The dawn of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System made the additional hardware requirements for Dark Void redundant. Capcom suspended development on Dark Void as it began to evaluate the SNES. Before long, the game was shelved and drifted into the annals of gaming history. Even the internal tape-based archives were lost due to an unfortunate magnet incident which even today is best left un-discussed. Dark Void became a legendary "lost project" at Capcom...until now.

Nearly twenty years later the next gen version of the game, Dark Void, is back on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC! But to commemorate the game's humble origins, Capcom has commissioned this recreation of the original 8-bit classic, now re-titled "Dark Void Zero," on the DSi platform. You play Rusty, the first human born in the Void, who must take on the Watchers in a quest to stop their domination of Earth. With the aid of Nikola Tesla, and his state-of-the-art rocket pack, Rusty must take down the Watchers and their minions across three intense levels of action and intrigue.

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