Review by excalibran
"It runs out of steam after a while"
An okay game, but nothing to write home about.
Graphics: Very nice. Everything's smooth, the atmosphere rocks, even after a whole other game with it, and the characters appearances are memorable, even if thier faces are a little bland in the way of expressions. Oh yeah: and the proportionate Cate Archer beats Lara Croft any day.
Sound: The voice acting for the first third of the game is quite good, and very amusing. The music, while it is often the same tracks for most of the game, is affected by the action, and a good indicator on whether or not you've been caught (for those stealthy types).
Storyline/Atmosphere: Definantly the high point of the whole game. The whole game is a tongue-in-cheek take on everything in the 60s, from the Communism paranoia to the super-equipped spy to some very pointed jokes on the problems that megalomaniac madmen must face when trying to take over the world (like this sign hanging inside the guard's quarters in the underground evil hideout: "Please remember that we live in a poorly-venelated underground hideout. Unwashed clothing and poor hygene will be punished by death").
Gameplay: This is where it begins to get dissapointing. The first let-down happens as soon as you begin. As you walk through the nicely-included tutorial area, you begint o notice that some of the controls are not as conveniantly placed as one would like. You almost have to reconfigure them. After that, it's the variable gameplay. The game offers some skills that you can level up, things like stealth and weapon handleing, to best fit how you play.
Being such as it is, people who want to be pure stealth have a rather rough beginning. There are predetermined areas to hide in, indicated by a eye icon at the bottom of the screen. To hide, you must stand in these areas until the bar under the eye fills up, depending on your stealth skill. If you try not to use these areas in the early missions of the game, guards are likely to ignore certain line-of-sight rules and track you down immediatly once you've been spotted. Annoying? Oh, yes.
But this is forgiven, as this problem can be avoided by just not getting spotted a first time, which means frequent saving and loading. So you progress some more. By the time you've reached the second mission in Russia, the game's levels feel like they're the proper length. This changes during the second mission, and by the end of it, you're almost begging for them to be done so you don't have to listen to the Russian accents anymore.
After a few more super-sized missions, then they all begin to get shorter and feel more rushed. There are fewer pre-made hideing spots but fewer guards that ignore line-of-sight than at the beginning of the game. Overall, it feels like they started the game with a strong, determined design team, and slowly lost interest, and rushed the ending so they could ship. So much polish is lost in the process, really.
But the game is fine, overall. It's something good to borrow, since replay value and online play is weak. Just don't expect to worship it.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 08/15/05
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