, short for Product Number Three
, is a 2003 video game
developed by Capcom
for the Nintendo GameCube
is a third-person shooter
featuring a dexterous, cybernetically-enhanced
woman named Vanessa Z. Schneider who the player controls to destroy a series of robots
. The game was designed to have a "classic" feel through use of use things such as point combos for destroying multiple enemies in a row. It is part of Shinji Mikami
's Capcom Five
, a selection of five 2003 Capcom games intended to be exclusive for the GameCube. Eventually though, P.N.03
ended up being the only Capcom Five game not to be ported to the PlayStation 2
. In the United States, those who pre-ordered the game could either get a free T-shirt or a special pair of limited-edition sunglasses
depending on where they pre-ordered.
Origins of the name
Originally, during the planning stages, P.N.03
was a wargame known simply as 'Robot war game'. Five days after starting development, graphics were put on-screen and Shinji Mikami felt nothing from how the game was turning out. He then decided to change the direction of the game to its current form. Later during development, Mikami felt that the game's name should be 'Jaguar' to reflect Vanessa's cat-like agility. However, other staff members did not like the name; some claimed that it didn't describe the game well enough and others thought that White Jaguar
would be a better title. Mikami then forced himself to come up with the name Product Number 03
, which he shortened to P.N.03
to give it a more mysterious feel. Even after the name was changed, a staff member made Vanessa's crouch pose on her hands and knees to resemble a jaguar
, saying that the game would always be 'Jaguar' to him.
Later in the game, it is revealed that Vanessa is actually the third clone created through a secret military program, thus being the product referred to in the title.
Vanessa Z. Schneider
Vanessa Z. Schneider is the main character of P.N.03
. She is depicted as extremely lithe and agile. She wears various "Aegis
suits" which allow her to shoot energy blasts out of her palm and perform special moves called "energy drives" named after various winged creatures such as the harrier
and the tengu
. She has been hired by an anonymous person known as "the client" to destroy a group of rogue Computer Arms Management Systems robots that have been massacring innocent colonists, including Vanessa's parents.
Near the end of the game Vanessa discovers a specimen that is an identical clone of herself. It is also revealed that "the client" is also a clone of the same person Vanessa was cloned from. The revelation of Vanessa being a clone does conflict with the earlier statement of Vanessa's parents being killed by machines, though it is implied, but not actually stated, that her parents may actually have been just an implanted memory.
Shinji Mikami wanted P.N.03 to express the feeling of simple old Nintendo games and did not care about what gender the main character was. When design pictures were being created, he asked the staff member "Which one do you want to draw? Man or woman?", and the designer chose the latter. Because P.N.03 takes place on a space colony, Mikami wanted Vanessa's country of origin to be ambiguous. Thus, her name is a combination of French, German, and English names. An early teaser trailer released for P.N.03 showed a gun that Vanessa was able to materialize out of thin air, an aspect later dropped for her trademark "palm shot" due to complaints from fans that guns were "boring". All of Vanessa's movements were created freehand and without any motion capturing devices. Producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi has said, "I'm really proud of Vanessa's style and movements.
gameplay is defined by the restrictions placed on players and enemies. Players cannot attack while moving, but have a variety of evasive maneuvers such as flips and spins. Similarly, enemies' attacks and movements are restricted to specific patterns. The game encourages use of cover while enemies are attacking, followed by carefully-timed attacks. As the player becomes more skilled and listens more carefully to the enemy audio cues, it is ultimately possible to predict and evade incoming enemy fire while in the open. Enemies destroyed may drop items replenishing the player's barrier or energy. A combo counter provides cumulative bonus points for destroying enemies consecutively (a timer appears between enemies being destroyed; when it reaches zero, the current bonus points are granted to the player and the score reset). Additional bonuses are given upon clearing a room.
The game also features a variety of "energy drives", special moves which render the character indestructible during their execution and then either launch an attack or grant a temporary status for the character (e.g. invincibility and double damage). These drain the player's energy bar.
There is also an assortment of Aegis suits which may be acquired or upgraded in exchange for points earned. As each suit has pre-set restrictions on which upgrades are possible for it, and use different energy drives, they are suitable for different situations.
The game's structure uses a series of pre-set levels, each consisting of pre-fabricated rooms populated by a fixed number of enemies which do not re-appear in the level once eliminated, and may include one or more bosses. If the player dies in these levels, they may reload or use a continue to restart at the last completed room. Upon reaching the end of the level, the player receives a ranking and score based on their success in the mission.
Between missions, players can shop for upgrades, new Aegis suits, and extra continues with their points earned. There is also the option to play trial missions, an assembly of 15 randomly-selected rooms each populated by enemies. These missions provide practice and additional points for the player to use in the shop.
Though the game has received somewhat of a cult following, reviews of P.N.03
were mostly lukewarm, receiving a press average of 6.0 out of 10 on GameStats
and 64% on Game Rankings
. Many critics praised P.N.03
for its effort at being a unique game, but felt that the gameplay was flawed. The most common complaint is the inability to shoot and run at the same time. Critics felt it defeated the purpose of having a graceful character when the controls were limited in such ways. Other complaints include the poor diversity among environments, graphics not being up to par, and a lack of depth. Shinji Mikami himself was somewhat unsatisfied with the game.
To be honest, after I finished this project, my feelings were "This game doesn't have so much catchy point" "I wanted to put little more time into it" and a lot more.
― Shinji Mikami
P.N.03 sold 10,000 copies in Japan and 13,000 in North America.