Dark Void

Jet pack willy vs the generic space robots...

Despite the crap name - equal to 'murky emptiness' - Dark Void is shaping up to be more of a Dead Space and less of an Infinite Undiscovery. Not that even Airtight themselves were too confident that the hoaky 'aliens are invading, you're sucked into a parallel world called the Void, team up with human survivors to fight little green blah' set-up was worthwhile - which is why it's been set back to early next year.

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Convinced that their near-finished third-person shooter was lacking something, the Crimson Skies alumni went back to the drawing board and introduced a slice of what they know best - aerial combat. And in a stroke, a 1.5 Anticip-o-meter rating somersaulted. The new ability to 'hover' signals a crucial shift in the title's approach to flighty fighting. Tapping jump twice now lets Will float, while holding it down lets him ascend (well, until his boost meter expires).

Thus, instead of simply whizzing past foes you'll be able to pick them off from way up high - adding an entirely fresh layer of strategic possibilities to combat. Taking to the air in Dark Void will be a learning process - when you first test out the jetpack, you'll be flailing and fearing for your life, but as you progress you'll upgrade your equipment (with technology stolen from vanquished ETs) until you're the deadliest thing on - and off - two legs. Issues with instant death after mid-air collisions have also been fixed, so you're free to explore the new possiblities from this evolution in the jetpack mechanic.

Vertical combat, up close and personal, looks as involving and satisfying as you'd expect from the Crimson Skies team, and we're already anticipating the feeling of satisfaction we'll get from highjacking UFOs in mid-air, pulling out the robotic pilot's circuitry and then taking the controls for a bit of mass alien slaughter.

An uninspiring generic scenario is utterly revolutionised by the simple addition of a massive jetpack strapped onto your back. Dark Void is now offering us something we really want to get hands-on with - and soon.