Review by Lygerbusa X

"Eidos's Crowning Achievement.."

Wow. I don't normally like Eidos's games (yes, I'm one of the few who dislikes the Tomb Raider series), but I decided to pick this game up and give it a try since there was nothing better to rent at the time. I'm glad I did. This Metal Gear/Die Hard mix is a real blast to play!

Here's a quick run-down of what the game's about: Basically, there's a group of the future known as the SI-COPS, who combat corporate crime. The player, as Hawk Manson, has been sent to investigate the Knackamiche Corporation, which has been secretly planning to create the world's first clone as the perfect soldier. Cloning has been banned, so it's up to Hawk to destroy their data and wipe out all traces of the project. It's time for some destruction!

Awesome. Hawk is rather cool-looking (like a high-tech Solid Snake with an attitude) This game has wonderful atmosphere. Most missions have the player running around in dimly lit buildings, so it's sometimes a little difficult to see things (like the contents of boxes in the corners to pick up), but it won't affect things too much. Computers, weapons, enemies, and furniture all look as they should. It's a bit strange that EVERYTHING you attack blows up (I've never seen a chair explode like that), but it gets your adrenaline pumping. The opening cinema is great, though more is needed. Most cinemas (excluding the intro) are done with in-game graphics and look just fine (though the cars look a bit blocky). Overall, the look of the game has been done very well.

If you're hoping for rocking music, don't expect to find it here. The only background noise is the wind, beeps of computers, and various machinery. However, it adds to the effect, and I sometimes found myself feeling pretty paranoid. Sound effects are above average. Metal objects clang when you hit them, enemies grunt, swords swish through the air, MANY things blow up, and machine guns go off, all sounding fairly realistic. During the in-game cinemas, Manson talks to himself and bosses taunt him. Voice actors are on par with Metal Gear Solid (i.e. not cheesy). There's not much else to say.

One of the most important things about a game is how it plays. Eidos still needs some work with this. Hawk moves like Tomb Raider's Lara Croft. Personally, I don't find this type of movement easy to work with. Hawk's slow turning can be a pain at times when trying to face the enemy, and many times half of his life will be gone by the time he can get to them. He can turn 180 degrees by pressing down twice, but it doesn't help when a ninja is hacking into Agent Manson's side. Once the player gets used to the control, it's not so bad. If the game were all about close-range fisticuffs (as the name implies), it would have made a lower score. However, there are plenty of long-range weapons to fight with (more on this in the "FUN" section), so things aren't so bad. Hawk recieves mission briefings at the beginning of the level, and updates in the middle of it, but these really aren't important. The basic play of the game is "move into a room, beat up all of the bad guys, get the key to the next room, repeat." One of the most irksome things about the game is its length; most levels take a good hour to get through (if the player tries not to spend too much time looking for things). This wouldn't be so bad, but the game has no places to save, other than in between levels. If Hawk dies, he can continue from the last door he accessed (which are about 20 minutes apart from each other), but he'll lose ALL of his weaponry (a real disadvantage in most areas), and end up pretty far from where he last was. The game can be quite frustrating at times because of this. However, what redeems the game is...

This is what makes the game. The greatest thing about this game is the diversity of ways to blow stuff up. Hawk has normal punch and kick attacks (which can be comboed), "Rage" attacks (more powerful moves that can be pulled off by holding down R2 and pressing a couple of buttons once energy gathers in the bar below the life bar), plus he starts with a knife and two grenades, but he can also pick up weapons along the way. There are melee weapons, like lead pipes, axes, swords, and a "Power Glove" (no, not the Nintendo accessory) which doesn't do much besides look neat (with electricity coursing through it). However, the most fun can be gained with the firepower that's picked up. Hand guns, uzis, sniper rifles, shotguns, and rocket launchers (among other things) are all easy to find and use (which makes me wonder why the bad guys leave semi-automatic weapons in crates all over the place). Perhaps they should have named it "Shooting Force." Another thing that makes the game great is the "explode-ability" of everything. Most anything lying around in the game can be destroyed: computers, pipes, control panels, chairs, grates, and tanks, to name a few. If beating up the enemies is tiresome, take out aggression on the nearby surroundings (and pick up some weapons)! It's a blast!

Basically, the game is a mix of Dynamite Cop, a.k.a. Die Hard Arcade, with some Metal Gear Solid, and a slight amount of Tomb Raider. There are some annoyances at times, but it's still fun, and a very well-done game. Rent the game first to make sure you like it, then go out and buy a used copy. This is most definitely the best game Eidos has ever made. Good job, guys!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 12/21/99, Updated 12/21/99

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