| Nvidia/GTX Forward Compatible | donated by Keisar Betancourt

2003.1118 (, US)
2003.1124 (, US)
2003.1128 (, EU)
2003.1128 (, EU)
2004.0605 (, US)
Developers: Ubisoft Parisx (), SouthEnd Interactive ()
Publishers: Ubisoft, Feral Interactive ()
Engine: Unreal 2 (Heavily-Modified Cel-shaded)

Reception


The President of the United States of America has been assassinated. You wake up on a desolate strip of New England beach. The near-fatal impact of a bullet has left your head pounding, and your memory erased. What's more, the number "XIII" has been mysteriously tattooed on your chest, while your pocket holds a key to a New York City bank box. Head swimming in amnesia, you struggle to your feet only to encounter more assailants intent on finishing the job. To your shock, you handle the hitmen with the killing skills of a professional--before heading to the bank in search of any shred of information about your lost identity and your involvement in the President's murder.


This game is the first, second or third, depending on how you count, to feature cel-shading. As such the locations you are in are remembered more for their presence than for their look. This means they stick in your memory more like memories do, and give the game that little extra something after you've played it through. The characters however become more forgettable this way somehow.

Gameplay

XIII is a first-person shooter with elements of stealth and action in certain missions. The game centers on the main character, named XIII, who has awakened with amnesia. He uses a variety of weapons and gadgets to uncover the mystery of his identity throughout the 13 chapters and 54 missions. The characters and weaponry in XIII are cel-shaded, giving a deliberately comic book style appearance, including onomatopoeic words contained in bubbles for sound effects. It uses Unreal Engine 2, the most recent engine at that time, as it was "really strong for level design" and allowed development "across all platforms using one engine". The graphics were compared with Jet Set Radio Future and Auto Modellista. The developer felt that the appearance reflected the comic book and innovated in its portrayal of violence; even blood splatters are shown in a cartoon manner.

XIII includes 16 weapons, from a knife to a bazooka, an Uzi to an M60. Objects such as bottles, chairs or brooms may be used as weapons. Kevlar gear, helmets and first aid boxes are scattered throughout the map. People can be taken as hostages or as human shields, preventing enemies from firing on the protagonist. Lock picks are used to unlock doors and grapnels to climb on walls. Through the "sixth sense", XIII can hear enemies behind walls with the aid of "tap-tap-tap" signals. Stealth operations include strangling enemies or hiding dead bodies. Captions pop up at the top when a headshot is performed or serve as clues or tips for the player.

Multi-player

The multi-player hosts a maximum of 16 players. The game features three standard game modes along with modes exclusive to each system: Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Sabotage (exclusive to X-Box and PC), The Hunt (exclusive to PC, PS2 and GameCube), and Power-Up (exclusive to PC and PS2). Depending on the platform, players in online and offline modes (against bots) range from 4 to 16. The GameCube version does not have any online modes, while the PC version excludes the multi-screen modes but includes a map editor. There are 13 maps on Deathmatch plus one additional on Team Deathmatch, while 5 on Capture the Flag and 3 on Sabotage. The player can choose from among 10 different character appearances, but 99 more are available in unofficial skin packs for PC players, the most recent being 2.0. Four additional animal skins (shark, duck, bat, dog, seagull) may be downloaded. As their bodies are not realistically proportioned, new or inexperienced players may face difficulty in distinguishing the skin's exact body. Cheating in both multi-player and single-player is possible, as the software does not include any anti-cheat protection.

In Deathmatch, all players compete against each other and the strongest player wins. Team Deathmatch is similar, but players form two teams. In Capture the Flag, a player must retrieve the flag from his enemy's base, and bring it to his own team's base. In Sabotage, one team must place a bomb in three different locations, while the opposite team must protect these areas; the protectors win if the time limit is exceeded (except if the time is set to infinite). The bomb is always found at the beginning of the team base, and the player who holds the bomb must wait 12 seconds until he may drop it and take shelter from the ensuing detonation. In The Hunt, players must shoot ghosts, which become gradually smaller after receiving hits. The player only has one weapon, the hunting gun, with which he can also shoot human opponents. Power Up is a deathmatch game, in which boxes containing special, temporary abilities, such as invisibility and higher speed, are found throughout the map.

Plot (click to expand)

Development and promotion

David Duchovny voiced the protagonist

Ubisoft announced on March 13, 2002, that it would be working on a game called XIII. Based on the comic book of the same name by Belgian Jean Van Hamme, it would create "a world so unique and enthralling that gamers will become instantly engaged", according to president of Ubisoft Entertainment, Laurent Detoc. The game debuted at an event in Montreal, and was later submitted at the 2002 Electronic Entertainment Expo in May 2002, with such games as Doom III, Max Payne 2 and Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. On November 22, 2002, Ubisoft announced a delay of the game, although the company did not state a reason. Justin Calvert of Gamespot guessed that the time would be used to thoroughly check the game and implement additional features on other platforms.

On May 7, 2003, Ubisoft announced that singer, actress and model Eve would be the voice for major character Jones. Ubisoft's vice president of marketing, Tony Kee, stated that she was the perfect choice for the role, admitting that she has "a combination of style, sexiness, and attitude—perfect attributes that describe the Jones character." Two months later, two other major voice acts were declared: David Duchovny would play Jason Fly (XIII), while Adam West, General Carrington.[15] The official site was launched on August 19, featuring movies and information about the gameplay. Ubisoft implemented a pre-order in September 4, promising a free demonstration version with multiplayer and soundtrack. Kee promised it "will give gamers just enough XIII to whet their appetite until the game launches in October" and "will be a record-breaking preorder campaign for Ubi Soft."

The game was promoted at the Fall College Tour from September to October. Beginning at Cornell University and finishing at the University of Southern California, the tour featured demonstrations of games, playable via the 50-screen GamePort system. Another demo, now multi-player only, was issued on October 2, but the discovery of a bug lead to its removal. A different fixed demo was released a day later. Xbox players had the opportunity from December 15 on to win one of 50 copies of the game. The campaign was dubbed "13 Days to Xmas": those who spent not less than 13 hours playing until Christmas were qualified for the contest. The winner was randomly selected on January 9.



Manual (4.85 MB PDF)
GC Game Script
GC FAQ/Walkthrough

Interview
Review 1 | 2


Wallpaper
Packaging
Icons


Soundtrack
Video


Patch 1.1 (34.3 Mb)
Unofficial Patch 1.4 (27.8 MB)