Death by Numbers: The Club
Bizarre Creations explains why its new action game is more like a driving game.
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Activision's recent acquisition of Bizarre Creations means the talented British game studio will have a new master, but before Bizarre moves in to its new home there are a few orders of business to take care of. One of these is The Club, a new action game being developed for Sega that trades kills for thrills in an underground blood-sport where how you kill is just as important as who you kill.
The non-stop bloodshed and stoic indifference that accompanies the killings makes clear that The Club is very much a game for adults of a particular bent, but behind the blood is a game that, as Bizarre design manager Nick Davis explains, has more in common with the team's Project Gotham Racing series than Manhunt or any of the other gratuitous violence games out there.
The eight locations that make up the game are set up in such a way that, time after time, enemies will pop up in the same locations when you're playing the same game type. "That's done on purpose as a gameplay mechanic," Davis explains. "That's how you play a racing game - you learn each corner, you learn where the braking points are. In this game, each bad guy is a corner, you learn where they are, you learn where to reload and where not to."
Reloading may sound like a trivial part of the game but the way The Club is designed makes it one of the most crucial aspects of the game. Because, much like the Kudos system in the Project Gotham Racing games, The Club rewards you for kills by adding to your Kill Bar. This is a gauge in the top-right corner that awards points for kills. The harder the shot the more points you'll earn, and to get the really big points, you'll need to pull off kills quickly and accurately so that you can keep the counting ticking up.
Combos allow you to boost your score, quickly letting you step up towards your kill target. Head shots, quick-kills and hitting enemies from far away are just some of the ways you can add to your score. There are also locations where you can trigger action moves, such as kicking down doors or jumping over obstacles, to keep the score climbing.
Davis describes The Club as the anti-Splinter Cell. Here, speed counts, and waiting for the best moment only means you'll miss the chance to really up your score. He describes the game as more like the Tony Hawk games. You could play through them once if you wanted to, but they've been designed for you to play through over and over to really hit the big numbers.