Set in the year 2033 you play as Joanna Dark, a British Secret Agent working for the Carrington Institute. Her primary objective is to investigate the evil defence contractor dataDyne. In the process, she uncovers an alien conspiracy and must do everything within her power to save the world.
Well the game is about 10 years old, and believe me it feels it. Most modern day FPS/strategy games hold your hand and point you in the right direction with storylines, in-game dialogue and checkpoints every five minutes. While they are present in the game, the objectives are quite vague and you’re pretty much left to figure it all out for yourself.
Single player features three different difficulty settings- Agent, Special Agent, and Perfect Agent. As you increase difficulty there are more objectives to be completed, less ammo laying about, and a distinct lack of shields, The auto aim on the higher settings is also less accurate than on Agent setting.
You get 17 missions to play through in story mode, maybe more than any other XBLA title, which if you just try and mindlessly play through you will get stuck in parts wandering round aimlessly (it happened to me very early on for a very stupid reason). My advice on each mission would be to make sure you read each objective carefully and understand what equipment you may have.
Controls-wise its pretty easy to get the hang of. Theres the classic layout, “Spartan” gives a more Halo feel, and “Duty Calls” for all you CoD-heads out there. The one thing that is a bit weird to get used to is the targeting system, which kind of flails round the screen while you try and target. After a while though I soon got the hang of it and all was well. Even though its an old game the movement of the game feels very modern, although as I’ve never played the original I can’t say whether it’s something thats been tweaked for the XBLA version, or is a relic of the original.
I tried playing the multiplayer, and as none of my friends list has it yet I decided on a Live game. It was fairly easy to find a game and I ended up in a 4 player online match. And then came the problem. I spent most of my time wandering aimlessly round the map trying to find people, and so did the other 3 players judging by their kills/deaths at the end of the match. For me, the multiplayer seems more suited to getting a few mates, either online or using ‘old school’ 4 player split screen, and having a laugh with some beers- which may be a bit disappointing to the frenzied-action Call of Duty type players out there.
Visually, there seems to have been a tidy up of the graphics to make sure it looks on par with todays games. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they have completely overhauled it, but looking at screenshots of the N64 version it’s definitely had a tarting up. One thing that annoyed me is the fade in/out effect on the text which can make it a bit hard to read sometimes.
Dont play this game expecting to hear some award winning voice acting. The script and the voicing clearly come from a time when cinematics were not a major part of a games development. By no means does this render the game unplayable, but on occasion it did bring a cheeky smile to my face during cut-scenes.
If you played and loved the original N64 version of this game, then by all means buy it. Everybody I know that have played both go weepy eyed with nostalgia playing this XBLA title. If like me you never played it on the N64 reserve judgement and play the demo first. While I enjoyed playing this game overall there are one or two things that stopped me from fully getting into the game. If you dont take this title too seriously then you will get hours of fun out of it. This game really is a testament to how far we have come in the past 10 years in respect to games development and story boards, but if you want to take a trip down memory lane then this games a steal at 800MSP.