Back in 2003, Capcom resuscitated the hopes of GameCube owners when they came up with the Capcom Five – a series of Cube exclusives. Sadly, one of the five were dropped, and three others were ported to the PS2; P.N.03, however, remained a rough diamond that all Gamecube owners should cherish.
Sonically, it’s a bit meh. There’s nothing to inspire, nothing that infuriates; inoffensive beats that may accidentally make you tap your foot every so often, moody pieces that cajole the tone rather than set it. Gameplay-wise, it’s an odd blend of move-then-shoot, spiced up with largely ineffective mashing of the D-pad in an attempt to conjure up the use of an Energy Drive. So let’s now consider the visual aesthetics of P.N.03, and we’ll cut straight to the heart of the matter; the game is built around the model of the protagonist, Vanessa Z Schneider. Few games have characters modeled as strikingly, as gorgeously, as pneumatically, as P.N.03. Which is just as well, because the rest of the graphics are average, at best. In the variety department, this game is shamed by Halo. Or even just The Library in Halo. Yes, it’s that dull.
But, as mentioned before, this game is focused on Vanessa. VANESSA! The first time you get an Autofire power-up, you’ll hold down the A-button and sit back in wonder as Vanessa seductively moves her hips whilst dealing out death. And it’s utterly mesmerising. I’ve spent hours just watching her arse move. In fact, P.N.03 is known as “Wigglies” in my abode, such is the splendour of her buttock convolutions.
As for the gameplay… well, P.N.03 is a bit short. It’s easy to blast through the 11 levels on offer pretty quickly. But then you notice the Store, where you can purchase different skins for Vanessa’s Aegis Suit… or rather, Vanessa’s Arse. The game then becomes a matter of viewing that posterior in all possible suits in all possible surroundings; discovering that certain suits, in certain lighting conditions, are nothing short of pornographic. Wankworthy, at least.
Of course, to acquire these suits you need to score points. To score points, you need to play the game. A lot. In playing the game, you have to watch Vanessa gracefully leap, run, and cartwheel about between shooting, occasionally striking a vogue-esque pose when you manage to fire off an Energy Drive. And she wiggles her arse, too.
Did I mention that Vanessa’s got a gorgeous arse?
Finally, you discover the existence of the final Aegis Suit for Vanessa’s wardrobe – the Papillon suit. Maybe you read about it on the Internet, maybe you noticed its 0.7 second appearance in the end-game movie. No matter – you now know that the Papillon suit is, essentially, a fetching pairing of a boob-tube and a G-string. There may be something covering Vanessa’s legs too but, let’s face it, if the arse is exposed you’re not going to notice.
YES! Those glorious fleshy orbs will be freed! And a rather tasty butterfly tattoo exposed, too.
And so the quest for the Papillon suit begins. More running, gunning, posing, gyrating. It’s the best kind of gaming grind imaginable, like receiving fellatio whilst leveling-up in Sword of Fargoal. Eventually, though, you are awarded the suit – basking in the post-orgasmic glow of the achievement, you see the sex-on-a-stick Papillon title screen for the first time.
You wait for your heart rate to drop to something approximating normal, and you start playing with the Papillon suit. You leap, you bound, you pirouette, you drool. The suit, by its absence, is lush. Sure, you’ve got no actual protection from being shot, but the visual feast on offer makes it more than worthwhile.
And then, you think to yourself… “I wonder if there’s anything tasty if I beat the game wearing the Papillon suit.”
And here’s where the purity of P.N.03 is revealed, for the Papillon Quest boils down to a simple matter of not being shot. And you can’t get more hard-core, more shoot-em-up, more pure, than that.
Play. Wiggle. Don’t get shot. Wiggle. Strike a pose. Wiggle. Don’t get shot.
It’s what video game dreams are made of.