I have to admit that I wasn't very excited for Dark Void when it was first announced—there's something about Airtight Games' vertical cover system that makes my head spin, kind of like the first time I played Portal. Nevertheless, every time I mention to Nick that there's something about Dark Void that bugs me, he looks at me like I've just grown another head. His enthusiasm for the game is doing more to keep me interested than anything else.
On the other hand, I'm willing to bet that an 8-bit, Metroidvania-style Dark Void prequel (which, incidentally, started as an April Fool's joke) would be a good way to ease me into the prospect of fighting off an oppressive alien regime, one jetpack at a time. Enter Dark Void Zero, a DSiWare introduction to the steampunk world of Dark Void, being developed by Other Ocean Interactive.
Besides the 8-bit tunes and classic, 2D exploration and platforming, the best thing about Dark Void Zero is how charmingly anachronistic and self-reflexive it is. Capcom is treating the game like some long lost arcade vaporware (as you can see in the trailer above), and the first screen of the game asks you to "blow into the cartridge," presumably locking you out of the game until the DSi's microphone picks up some air.
But, getting down to brass tacks: the game is apparently three levels long and features Rusty, a human freedom fighter. It will be available on DSiWare in January for 500 spacedollars. Gamespot got an early look at the game and managed to snipe some gameplay footage, but Capcom's "backstory" and some screenshots are below the jump.
The story so far...
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.