Home | News | Reviews | Previews | Hardware

Daxter: The Ottsel Stands Alone

There comes a time in the lifespan of every sidekick that they need to step into the spotlight and stand on their own merits. Robin became Nightwing, Slash created the Snake Pit and Ed McMahon had Star Search. Now it is time for Daxter to step from Jak?s shadow and prove that he?s the action hero he says he is.

Daxter (the game) takes Jak & Daxter (the ottsel ? a mix of an otter and an weasel) back to the series' beginning. For those who can?t remember that far back, Jak II began with the duo being transported to Haven City, a corrupt urban metropolis ruled by the evil Baron Praxis. Though Jak was captured and subjected to Dark Eco experiments, Daxter managed to escape, promising Jak that he?d rescue him as soon as he can. Little did either know that ?as soon as he can? really meant ?in two years?, setting the stage for Daxter?s upcoming PSP adventure.

While you?d love to think that Daxter was spending these two years hatching a daring rescue plan, it turns out that he spend most of his time hanging out in Haven City?s finest drinking establishments doing what he does best, telling stories of his daring exploits. Daxter?s outrageous stories eventually find the ears of a man named Osmo, who manages to ?convince? Daxter into working for him as an exterminator. Of course, this job eventually leads him closer to discovering what happened to Jak and uncovering just a few of the plots going on in Haven City.

Daxter?s gameplay takes more of a cue from Jak 2 or 3 rather than the original game. Daxter takes missions from the Critter-Ridder shop that lead him to smaller platforming areas similar to those found in the console games. Daxter begins armed only with a flyswatter that acts much like Jak?s basic punch attack. Eventually he?ll move up to a back-mounted spray canister that will become his primary bug-busting weapon. Daxter?s spray canister allows him to take out bugs quicker as well, as giving him extra height during jumps or the ability to hover for a few seconds. Get close to a flame and the sprayer turns into a flame-thrower, giving it even more kick and the ability to burn through obstacles that may be blocking Daxter?s way.

While being transformed into an ottsel comes with certain downsides (like not being able to wear pants), there are a few perks. In addition to Daxter?s combat skills, he?ll also be able to enter ?Ottsel Mode?, giving him the ability to slip into smaller areas and climb ? adding to the game?s platforming areas.

In addition to Daxter?s exterminator jobs, Daxter also features a series of mini-games that take place in his overactive imagination ? giving players an all too clear look into the inner workings of Daxter?s mind. The mini-game included in the short demo placed Daxter behind the sunglasses of Neo as he fought off multiple agents in a scene similar to the ending of ?The Matrix Revolutions?. As Agents swarm around Daxter, black circles appear at his feet. These circles will eventually turn into symbols matching the four face buttons that the player must tap. If the presses are timed right, Daxter will begin pulling off various Matrix-styled Kung-Fu moves.

As a long-time fan of the Jak series who was just a bit put off by the series' jump to kart-racer, I was surprised to see how well Daxter is coming along. So far it looks like Ready at Dawn has nailed what made the trilogy so much fun, so things are definitely looking good for Daxter?s first solo adventure.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker
Related Links:

This site best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 or higher or Firefox.