(Stop press! PC and mobile versions of Dark Void Zero will be made available in February!)
When I first saw the Dark Zero Void “cover art” on the left, I thought it for fan art, I really did. After all, versioning (or “demaking”… Gang Garrison, anyone?) current-gen games has been very popular as of late. Even in seeing the above teaser trailer I went through several stages of minor befuddlement, though: In context of the very real PlayChoice-10, fact and fiction blend very conveniently.
The PlayChoice-10, brilliantly suitable for a Nintendo DS precursor, was a NES housed inside an arcade cabinet that often had an extra video screen reserved for instructions (not exactly “two interactive screens” like the video suggests1, but fair enough!). It’s also perfectly natural that Dark Void Zero should be another Capcom project, “buried deep in its vault,” in the vein of Mega Man 9 and 10. In this sense, they are bringing their flavour of 8-bit degradation to its logical culmination.
According to Capcom, Dark Void Zero started off as the Mega Man clone Dark Rift, “locked away for decades,” and “later renamed Dark Void.” Today, Dark Void Zero is a Contra/Metroid mash-up (Turrican, anybody?) prequel for the upcoming multiplatform title Dark Void. It’s also the most gloriously elaborate retro-style tie-in that we have seen so far: Just listen to the title track composed by Bear McCreary. Not that Dark Void Zero comes altogether without precedent: Nintendo has published Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission arguably in the same register, and we’ve already got Matt Hazard on eBay, and there was the odd Watchmen movie tie-in, Minutemen, among others.
What about the fiction-within-fiction, then?
You play Rusty, the first human born in the Void, who must take on the Watchers in a quest to stop their domination of Earth. With the aid of Nikola Tesla, and his state-of-the-art rocket pack, Rusty must take down the Watchers and their minions…2
Say what? Dark Void Zero, perfectly bananas, ships for 500 DSiware points in January, and will be made available for the PC and mobiles in February.