Iron Phoenix Preview

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Publisher: Sammy Studios
Developer: InterServ International

Platform: Xbox
Official site:


Ancient legend has it that a meteor once crashed to the ground in the full view of a talented blacksmith. In its descent, the heavenly visitor left a trail of fire in the sky shaped like a phoenix. When the blacksmith tracked the meteor to its impact crater, he discovered a heavenly rock with a solid iron core, from which he crafted a set of nine legendary weapons. Legend says that any one warrior who can possess all nine weapons is invincible – a tale that has caused countless battles and shed blood that has only further increased the power of the Iron Phoenix arsenal. Once again, talented fighters have come together to battle for control of the Iron Phoenix weapons.

Projected Release: Holiday 2004

Kyle Ackerman

Iron Phoenix plans on bringing the excitement and varied game modes of online shooters to Xbox Live, but in the guise of melee combat. While Iron Phoenix will have a single-player game mode, the focus is on big battles with up to sixteen people fighting online, and not just in massive free-for-alls. The game will feature team-based battles that already look good, in massive and varied arenas ranging from the foot of the Great Wall of China to a valley nestled in the coils of a stone dragon.

With martial arts combat as the main focus of the game, a lot of time has been spent honing combat and the looks of the ten different characters, which are mostly just ten different skins. Unlike conventional one-on-one fighting games, the sets of moves don't differ from character to character. All of the characters have the same underlying skeleton, with animations influenced by motion capture from real martial artists. Thus, all players will be able to run up walls, do radical flips and unleash Chi energy. The radically different move sets depend not on your character, but on whether you hold a spear or sword, or throw daggers. As a result, no matter which character's appearance you prefer, you can use any of the nine weapons for which you have learned the combos and attacks.

More complex moves are available to those who master them. You can pull off combos that involve two weapons, or fancy moves such as when we saw one character toss a spear into the air and then kick it into the distance as the viciously fast projectile it should be. Because the multiplayer play will support team-based battles, it's even possible to pull off devastating cooperative combinations that you can coordinate over Xbox Live voice chat.

The single player game will be an adaptation of the multiplayer, telling the tale of the Iron Phoenix weapons through a series of battles. It will certainly be great training for the online battles, but as multiplayer competition is at the heart of Iron Phoenix, this game will live and die by the size of the community that decides to strive for all of the ancient artifacts. You'll have your chance to join the community and try the slick style of battle yourself when the game launches this holiday season.

7/1/2004 Update

Sammy Studios offered an update on Iron Phoenix today, and while the game hasn't transformed radically since its appearance at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the developers have been hard at work optimizing the game, tweaking the controls and stuffing in as many visual effects as they can muster.

The focus for the controls has been to make sure that you don't have to stop moving to run, jump, attack, grab objects or even flip off of walls. In fact, should the mood strike you, you'll be able to run up a wall into a dark crevice and lurk until someone strolls by. Moreover, the team emphasized that each of the weapons has twenty or more moves which you'll be able to link in any order, as long as your character has sufficient stamina. The team also pointed out that each of the meteor-forged weapons has associated supernatural powers. Many of the powers are elemental (like wind or fire), and will be usable by characters equipped with the appropriate weapon.

The team also commented on the multiplayer game. Although they were unwilling to part with details on certain multiplayer modes for the game, they did say that the sixteen player matches over Xbox Live will be highly configurable. Players will be able to set up as many as four different teams in a play lobby, and determine whether or not there should be friendly fire. Responding to concerns about internet latency, the team commented that Iron Phoenix isn't as sensitive to the timing of moves as, say Soul Calibur II. The millisecond timing of a button press shouldn't make or break a combo. On the other hand, the developers excitedly declared, "we just have really good network code."

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on May 29, 2004 7:05 PM.

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