Preview: The Rise of the Kasai (PS2)

Publisher: SCEA / Developer: Bottlerocket / Genre: Action / Release Date: 03-15-05

Ahh, little girls. Sugar and spice and everything nice (ahem, and I can attest to this, being a member of the much, much fairer sex and all). However, have you ever looked back at old yearbooks or watched those “before they were stars” television shows to see the striking difference between women and their innocent, pre-pubescent counterparts? It’s always amazing to see how little girls in bows and pillowcases as wedding veils morph into women and into sex symbols, no matter their body type, sexual orientation, or, in most cases, looks. What’s probably even more interesting to examine is the different kinds of women these little girls become (and, trust me, it’s completely relevant to this article). For instance, you have the little girls who grow up and remain good girls (for the most part…to quote Ludacris, “We want a lady in the street but a freak in the bed.”). These are women like, well, me, most teachers, and Sandra Bullock. Next, there is my personal favorite — dirty girls. These are the delightfully vulgar ladies that you see on Girls Gone Wild, in porn, and include Christina Aguilera (yummy!). Finally, you have the girls who go bad; these would include various murderers, Angelina Jolie (I’m willing to bet she could snap a neck without flinching), and one of the main characters in Bottlerocket Entertainment’s Rise of the Kasai.

This game, slated for release in March 2005, is the sequel to The Mark of Kri, but it is one that veers away from the usual path — in terms of sequels. The story is a complex one that uses time as its storyteller. What this means is that the beginning of the game takes place ten years before, during the time of The Mark of Kri (with some instances before), then later it moves to ten years later, where more of the story unfolds. Events of both generations aid the main characters (Rau and Tati) in discovering their family’s dark secret (oooh, what a shocking plot you’ve got there!) and the Kasai’s origins.

As mentioned above, the main characters of The Rise of the Kasai are Rau, the hero of the game’s predecessor, and Tati, his younger sister. Evidently the game begins with Rau’s spirit guide, Kuzo, learning of the death of the former, which is why Rau is such a prominent figure in the past. He will be the same Rau you know from the first game. Tati, on the other hand… When you encountered her in The Mark of Kri, she was an innocent ten-year-old girl. Ten years finds her a completely different woman. First glance gives the impression that Tati fits into the second category I mentioned — her large breasts (though not Bloodrayne 2 huge, miraculously, though I’m sure they, too, are “a couple of other new features worth noting.”) are covered by a crimson bustier while her other goodies are hidden by what appears to be a loincloth; in Tati’s case, however, she has become so much more than her style of dress could ever portray. While Rau is known for his heroic, noble qualities and fighting style, 20-year-old Tati has become bitter and unforgiving, especially of the Kasai (who kidnapped her in The Mark of Kri); and her fighting style mirrors this. Not much is known about other characters in development, but Kuzo will definitely return, and Rau will still be able to use him for “scouting” by looking through his eyes.

The rudimentary gameplay will remain the same (up to nine enemies can still be targeted at once, for example.), and Rau will be equipped his familiar sword and axe, among others. His bow and arrows will make a return also, but this time he will be able to hide behind things to shoot at his foes — unfortunately, however, they will be able to do the same thing. Essentially, he is the traditional hero. Tati, in contrast, is a vicious opponent. She will be equipped with a set of daggers, an axe, and a staff, among others. Like Rau, she is able to scout areas out, but she does it through the bodies of corpses (yay, deliciously macabre!), and she also will be able to go invisible when she presses herself to a wall. She is skilled at stealth and derives an enormous amount of pleasure from torturing her enemies. Also, at the start of levels, the player will have the ability to choose between progressing with Rau or Tati.

Furthermore, another important gameplay element is the multiplayer player function. However, instead of allowing two players to share a screen for co-op play, this is for online use only; in addition, the game will employ the USB headset.

The unique art style of The Mark of Kri will also make a return, but The Rise of the Kasai will showcase new environments this time around. In addition, to eliminate any confusion on the part of the player, the areas of the game set in the past will have a vaguely different appearance.

At the moment, many rumors are circulating about The Rise of the Kasai, but when any forthcoming tidbits (of truth) are released, we’ll let you know — so keep an eye out here.