Review by ISR Gamer
"A good WWII puzzlestrategy game"
Okay, let's start with one thing: this game is a genre unto itself. It's no strategy game, with all this specialization(yes, I'll detail) involved, nor is it a puzzle per se, since it simply works differently from traditional puzzles. Therefore, it's a hybrid: puzzlestrategy.
That out of the way, let's talk turkey. This game involves you taking six(at most, usually less)commandos behind enemy lines(hence the title) in WWII, in an attempt to either rescue people (a bit) or blow stuff up(most of the time). This is actually a good premise, and man do the the explosions look great! Even in this Geforce4 - Max Payne- 3d accelerator required age, great proof that 2D works!
The missions are set up by a nice voiceover from your briefing officer, one setting up the WWII aspect of the game and one giving tactical information within the map itself. It succeeds in drawing you into WWII plotline, even for none history buffs.
Every map is unique, right down to individual buildings(except for the guards... they are the same on every level). There are three good map sets, each in a different war theater. Guards display intelligence: They see a body of their comrades or your commandos, they sound an alarm(usually), they hear gunshots and such, ditto. The level is now impossible, since guards will be pouring out of the barracks, covering every angle, and probably finding you anyway. Conclusion: be stealthy. So far, strategy. When you start playing, the puzzle aspect appears. Your commandos are completely and utterly specialized: Your Marine can swim (an ability exclusive to him...), and has a harpoon and knife for killing guards, but he needs the Green Beret to pick up bodies... Your Sapper is fairly useless for anything but end-level blowing stuff up, except for lower levels where alarm won't always sound, he can then use grenades. Etc, etc, etc. Lots more, that really stretch disbelief suspension: an elite soldier without the ability to use a machine gun... right. Uh huh. Of course. And the AI has holes so obvious you could drive a Panzer IV through them: The developers put in dead zones in some levels, areas where the general alarm won't sound: a local one will, meaning all guards in the area will be on alert, but nothing else. Finding these holes and exploiting them are vital, but they really make for ridiculous situations: ''Uh, gee, Fritz is dead. ALARM, ALARM, ALARM! Duh, guess I'll go back to work now...''. Guards not noticing they're the only ones left , simply because they didn't see their comrades die. Sometimes being distracted by a lure, and sometimes not. Etc, etc, etc.
But hey, it ain't pure strategy, it's got a hefty dose of puzzling in it too, and it bases itself on these. Figuring out how to kill these stupid guards with your glorified puzzle pieces is really, really fun! And...
REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY HARRRRRRRRRRD!!!!!!! This game is big and tough, and will whip your brain before you finish it. There's not much replay value, but that's just cause one go through can take months or even years, I am not kidding, a friend of mine needed two years of playing to finish this. This title puts every puzzle and strategy game out there to shame in difficulty terms. And you'll love every minute of it. Though masochists might also want limited saves, this game has a save-anywhere function(albeit with limited slots, which is frustrating).
Sound is a workable endeavor, sounding fairly good without being intrusive
In short, should you buy this? If you are a strategy buff tired of traditional RTSs, yes. This game will keep your attention for a loooong time(possibly even until the release of Warcraft 3...). Quakers, steer clear. Low frustration levelers with tendency to machinicide, steer clear. Aside from some disbelief problems and an insane difficulty (-1 point), this game rocks.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/27/02, Updated 06/27/02
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