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Hellgate: Spoiling For a Fight

In Hellgate: London, it's you against powerful demons.
In Hellgate: London, it's you against powerful demons. (Electronic Arts)

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Since the popular Diablo series, developers have tried to copy that game's hack-and-slash, light role-playing format. Hellgate: London successfully captures Diablo's style of gameplay, adding sci-fi elements and a 3-D shooter interface. Hellgate has been available since October, but it's worth getting.

Hellgate is set in 2038, when demons have invaded Earth. Londoners keep the fight alive by hiding underground in the extensive subway system. Characters are diverse: Some are versed in magic. Melee characters can slice through opponents with blades. Soldiers use high-tech weaponry. Hybrid characters, such as the engineer class, can use guns and build robots to protect themselves.

The plot is fairly linear but engaging. You move throughout the London subway system performing missions.

The real joy of Diablo was finding weapons and tweaking them. Hellgate is similar; you will find thousands of items in your travels. Like your character, each object can be enhanced several ways.

Combat is nearly constant and is fluid. If you have a weapon in each hand, you use the mouse's left and right buttons to operate them, which is cool.

The 3-D interface looks great. As in Diablo, levels are randomly generated, so the replay value is high. But even though they're different each time you play, levels start to look the same. You will encounter the same decrepit house or wrecked police barricade several times.

An online component offers group gameplay as well as new content for download, though most players will probably be happy with the single-player experience.

-- John Breeden II

Hellgate: London Mature; PC Windows Vista/XP ($50) Electronic Arts Hellgate: London Mature; PC Windows Vista/XP ($50) Electronic Arts


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