Fairytale Fights preview: Still hacky slashy fun

SCI FI Wire got a sneak peek at Fairytale Fights back at the Electronic Entertainmnet Expo, and it was pretty impressive: Cartoon versions of fairy-tale characters hacking each other to bits. Dynamic picture-in-picture slicing, weapons like chainsaws and hammers and achievements for the longest slide in a pool of blood. Fun, violent and definitely for mature gamers. Well, we just got a chance to check out an updated version, and it's even more hacky-slashy fun.

At E3, Playlogic announced two of the four playable characters, Snow White and Red Riding Hood. And now we know the other two: Jack of beanstalk fame and the naked Emperor from The Emperor's New Clothes. (We saw him. No full frontal, I promise.)

When the game begins, your character is in a sad situation. Your particular fairy tale is losing popularity, and you must fight to keep yourself relevant. Instead of hiring a new PR firm, your character must slice and dice his or her way through enemies.

All your favorite childhood yarns are here, ... but not quite the way you remember them. Goldilocks is a raging alcoholic, and we were promised interesting new versions of Hansel and Gretel, the Pied Piper and the Candy House witch. (That chick is already pretty messed up. When you live in a house with cookie walls and lollipop roof tiles and you decide what you're actually craving is a yummy 6-year-old, it might be time for some therapy.) The Playlogic reps also let it slip that they would be adding quite a few new tales and characters with the downloadable content available at launch.

The visuals are in the style of Happy Tree Friends and Itchy and Scratchy, and they certainly don't pull punches with the violence. Each slice you make in an enemy is completely dynamic. No pre-rendered chopping here. Cut off the top of the woodsman's head and you see the brain. Cut off a hand and you see the blood squirt out from exactly where you whacked it. Love smashing people with blunt objects? The bone-crushing is also dynamic, and you can see exactly where each breaks.

The reps were excited to tell us that they've added far more blood since E3. The liquid system makes it so real that your character and the environment will actually be splashed with it.

They've also added a few potions. One allows you to freeze other characters so you can use them as weapons. The heal potion can also be used to stun enemies and friends. Yes, I said friends. There is co-op play here in addition to single-player mode, and friendly fire is encouraged. Yeah, you may need to help each other get past the giant, but you can also shoot each other in the head or throw each other into giant metal turbines. You respawn pretty quickly, though. And your coffin reflects how popular your tale has become. If you're really, really Paris Hilton popular, you get a golden sarcophagus. If your 15 minutes of fame were a few hours ago, you get a wooden box.

It was revealed that friendly fire can be turned on and off and that you can cause bloody chaos with one buddy online and three others offline. In addition to platformer-style play, there will be a PVP mode, with 5-10 arenas and awards for things like spilling the most blood.

I thought the game was a riot at E3, and with the addition of the new weapons, characters, extra-plentiful blood and PVP, it looks even cooler. Definitely not the stories you remember from childhood, but have you ever read any of the Grimm brothers' original versions? Those things were seriously macabre. Cinderella's stepsisters chop off parts of their feet to fit in the glass slipper and get their eyes pecked out by pigeons. I wouldn't be surprised it that ends up in the DLC. (Hey, Playlogic, hint, hint ...)

Fairytale Fights hits stores on Oct. 27, just in time for Halloween, for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

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