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Full Throttle II: Hell On Wheels archived preview

Note: production on Full Throttle 2 was stopped on August 7, 2003.

The original Full Throttle, released in 1995, is considered one of the most cinematic adventure games created. Now, eight years later, LucasArts is going back to the classic—this time with Sean Clark at the helm.

The game again centers around Ben, leader of a motorcycle gang called the Polecats. In the playable demo we saw at E3, the Hound Dogs gang steals Ben's bike, which leads Ben to infiltrate the Hound Dogs' abandoned drive-in theater hideout. It should be noted that anything we're shown right now is still very much in development. Just to illustrate, in one particular encounter a character named Wonda appeared to be leaning against a non-existent wall. Judge it on a work-in-progress basis, if you will.

As with the previous game, Full Throttle II: Hell On Wheels combines traditional adventure gaming with a variety of arcade action. This time however, Ben is able to move freely in a 3D world and engage in direct-controlled action gameplay. We saw Ben go mano-a-mano with a number of villains in a way similar to Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb. It's possible to pick up chairs, wooden planks and other props for use as weapons. Ben also has a mojo bar—when fully charged he's able to pull off special moves such as head butts.

LucasArts wasn't able to show much of the adventure elements just yet, but when asked about the gameplay balance, Melena Slettom, assistant producer for Full Throttle II, said: "It's a 50/50 mix. We're really trying to stay true to the original Full Throttle and keep all of those really good adventure elements in there but touch it up a little bit with a few more action elements. But we try to maintain that mix about 50/50."

In the classic adventure style, you'll be able to talk with all the characters. Ben may be tough but his fists won't get him out of every situations. Some will require his wits in order to figure them out. The Polecats-sign interface has been transferred almost unchanged to the new game, with options for looking, grabbing, talking/licking and kicking.

With character models that are much more comical than the grittier original, Full Throttle II looks to be a more lighthearted game. Besides the basic premise, LucasArts is staying tight-lipped about the story. So whether the game will stay true to the legacy of the original game remains to be seen. More details are to be expected in the many months to come, including an announcement on the game's rock & roll soundtrack, which according to LucasArts will feature some well-known bands.

Full Throttle II: Hell On Wheels is scheduled for release in winter 2003, and is coming out on PC CD-ROM, X-Box and Playstation 2.

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