P.N. 03

Year: 2003
Platform: GameCube
Developer: Capcom
Genre: 3D shooter
Review Date: 9/14/03
Rating: *

Another entry in the bizarre genre of games that feature women who defeat space aliens by dancing. First there was "Space Bunnies Must Die!" (1998), then there was "Space Channel No. 5" (2000), and now there's "P.N. 03." The computer self defense system has gone haywire on a certain colonized planet, and bounty hunter Vanessa Schneider is hired to infiltrate and shut down the system. She dances and poses her way through robot filled hallways, and wears a special combat suit that fires energy blasts out of its palms. Vanessa earns points for destroying the killer robots, which she can spend on power-ups and suit upgrades.

While this may sound like fun, it isn't. The controls are sluggish, and for a supposedly lithe dancer, Vanessa moves like a tank. The gameplay mechanics are also frustrating in that Vanessa can only dance/shoot when she's standing still, which seems like a cardinal sin for a shooting game to make. And even more annoying is that you get a performance review every time you go through a room, which is roughly every 10-20 seconds. This totally disrupts the continuity and flow of the game, is utterly useless, and only seems to exist to make you angry. And heaven forbid if you have to backtrack... The game is also overly repetitive, and within 20 minutes you've seen everything the game has to offer in terms of enemies and gameplay. This is also about as long as it takes for the novelty factor of watching Vanessa dance to wear off.

Graphically, the game is surprisingly disappointing. While I don't mind the sterile and spartan environments, the textures lack detail and suffer from serious banding issues. The environments and adversaries are also generic, bland, and unvaried. The one bright spot is Vanessa herself (not surprisingly), who looks great and dances quite well. Unfortunately, it takes more than a hot chick to save a broken game, and it appears that her primary role is to sell the game rather than perform in it. What a shame.