Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 09/09/03 | Genre: Action
With the last two hardware releases from Nintendo--the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube, there was much optimism surrounding how successful they would turn out to be. With the N64, Nintendo showed the world how to create a 3D game with Mario 64. That game was so far ahead of its time that it still is a shining example of how to create a 3D game today. But the N64 suffered from the lack of Third Party support and the end result was Nintendo coming in last place in the console wars.
With the release of the GameCube, it appeared that not only would the First Party titles be excellent, but plenty of Third Party support would be a commonplace on the console. Unfortunately, this has not really happened. Sony has grabbed the vast majority of support from Third Parties primarily due to their large installed base. Microsoft has been able to grab a bit more than Nintendo because of their incredible Xbox Live service. It was apparent to me at E3 2003 that the GameCube, while a great piece of hardware, would probably not get the support it deserves. But then Capcom readied some titles...
Even with the lack of sales, Capcom has put faith in Nintendo and continues to make the single player versions of Resident Evil exclusive to the GameCube. Another title, P.N.03 also was an exclusive Cube title and was shown at E3. While I did not get to spend a lot of time with the game, it looked very promising. But in the end, it is yet another lackluster Third Party offering on a console starved for support.
P.N.03 or Product Number Three is a plain vanilla shooter that is very simplistic and fails to stand out even on the GameCube. That said, the title does have quite a bit of appeal. First off, being a male, it never bothers me to have an attractive woman as the lead character... Especially when she is a total babe! The problem is, while I was drawn to this character, Capcom never spends any time developing the character (Vanessa Schneider) over the course of the game or teach us about her past. You simply guide her from one corridor to the next with no direction other than a faceless person who has hired you.
What we do know about Vanessa is that she is some sort of mercenary for hire that has been somehow combined with machine parts to make her a vicious opponent. However, instead of giving us any of these details, Capcom opted to just give the player a brief cinema outlining a particular mission but never furthering the plot or back-story of any of the characters. One thing we know for sure--Vanessa Schneider likes to dance. When attacking, dodging incoming fire, or moving, our little heroine moves to a funky beat. Why does she do this? Where did she learn this style? Since we don't find these answers from Capcom, the best I can say is that the developers thought it would be cool. Come on Capcom, you can do better than this.
As you begin working your way through a particular level, you will see that they are a series of room you must complete. Some of them require that you kill all enemies in them and others don't. You will also find a variety of extra life and special attack power-ups to replenish your supply. As you reach the end of each room, the screen fades out and you are giving a report card based on how much damage you took, how long it took you to get through the room, if you killed all the enemies, etc. After clicking through this screen, the game fades back into the next room. And the process continues on and on until you reach the last room where you square off against a boss. Along the way, you will notice that virtually every single room is nearly identical to the last one. Even worse than that are the enemies. They look identical to one another. This lack of variety makes you feel like you are stuck playing a repetitive, boring action shooter.
At first, you may not mind the repetitive nature of P.N.03. However, after working your way through about ten rooms, you will begin to see the problems. After an hour of play and you will be ready to just quit. The elements were here to make a really great game. However, Capcom didn't take the time needed to polish P.N.03 and make the gameplay more interesting. While I wouldn't mind seeing a better-developed sequel in the future, if it is anything like this one, you can count me out. Even if you are a game-starved Cube owner, P.N.03 isn't even worth playing over a weekend rental.