WADE MANNS – The Corsair
Genre: Third-person action/exploration
On the idyllic world of Hillys, things couldn’t really be better: beautiful seas, bright lights of the cities, and caves filled with treasure for the intrepid adventurer. A brave pair of giving souls operating out of a lighthouse in the middle of the vast ocean act as caretakers to children whose parents have, mysteriously, gone missing.
Oh, and there is the occasional orbital bombardment by the evil alien presence known as the DomZ. Thankfully, the Hillyans have the interplanetary defense force, the Alpha Sections, to look after them. But are they really all they seem? Our protagonist, the sweet-natured Jade, really has no reason to believe otherwise, until she is asked to join an underground movement, the IRIS Network, who task Jade with working to expose supposed corruption within the Alphas using little more than a mystic rod and a camera. To say too much would be spoiling the storyline, so let me just say there are ups, downs, and a wonderful soundtrack to tie it all together.
Through most of her Zelda-like adventure, Jade will have a companion to help her defeat the many weird enemies she encounters; her gruff porcine (pig) pal Pey’j and the somewhat ditzy but always-loyal Double H also provide witty commentary and help to move the story along, often in rather poignant ways.
General gameplay runs along the lines of one of the more modern Legend of Zelda games, though with a tradable inventory system among the two characters currently in play. You can exchange items with your partner to help you solve puzzles or give them additional health or protection. The major over-arching subquest in the game has to do with taking pictures of all the animals in and around the world. There are a lot of them, and photographing enough nets you bonuses such as an enhanced zoom for your camera or extra DomZ Pearls, rare and more precious than standard-currency credits.
Though this is a very old game (first release in 2003), it has recently received a graphical overhaul and re-release on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network; pick it up for 800 MS Points (or $10)! You won’t be sorry. Five out of five stars!