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Special Ops Stealth Patrol
"This is one of the new ultra-low-cost series of games that has been released, so you'd expect the bare minimum when it comes to playability, but it is quite complex and difficult."
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Developer  RuneCraft Game Type  Shooter
Distributor  Take 2 Preview Date  Aug 00
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      Here's where the game surprised me. This is one of the new ultra-low-cost series of games that has been released, so you'd expect the bare minimum when it comes to playability, but it is quite complex and difficult. There are areas where the shortcuts in the development make themselves known though.

The games bare bones menu has four playing options: one player quick start, two player quick start, one player game or two player game. There is an options item in the main screen where you can choose the difficulty level (private, corporal or sergeant). Frankly, I found little difference in the difficulty levels other than the amount of enemies to cut through.

You may be tempted to choose the quick start option. While it's not bad to get things moving and starting right in on the mission, you will have a lot of trouble moving to the next level with the soldiers chosen. When you select the normal game option, you will be given your mission and inside a helicopter, you will see five Rangers of which you can choose two for your mission. As each have very different strengths, its worth putting some thought into which would be the best pairing. Once chosen you can pick from a selection of weapons. I started outfitting them all with M-60 machine guns since they seem to have the best range and they're automatics.

As there are two of you, the developers have included a few commands to allow you to communicate with your partner. These include 'FOLLOW', 'HALT' and 'ATTACK'. Its worth keeping him close to you wherever possible as when you get killed, you switch over to the other Ranger. You can also opt to switch between the two at any time.

On each mission you are provided with a set of items that you can use during play. As the inventory screen is very slow and clumsy, pre-load the essential items so that they can be accesed quickly. The first things to load are the NVGs. You can spot the enemy more quickly with them, otherwise the enemy doesn't get spotted until you pan past him and a red (Kill Zone) bracket appears around him. Next ready the med kit for when your health is down, you'll need to bring it back up fast. Additional pick-ups can be found on each level, but use them sparingly if you want to get anywhere in this game.

Once both of your troops are dead you will need to send for re-inforcements. Be warned - they're dropped into the mission at the very start rather than continueing where the last group left off. Worse still, if you complete the mission, you are expected to move onto the next one with the same two guys. This can leave you very short handed untill you uncover some more supplies.

Game Options:
• Number of Disks: 1
• Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 1
• Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 1
• Multi-tap compatible (max players): No
• Link-cable compatible (max players): No
• Split screen multi-player option (max players): No
• Other accessories: None
• Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes

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Staff Opinions
Name   "If you stick with it, this can be an interesting game; but will many people stick with it? Considering this is one of those low-price titles, it may be easier for someone to give up on it and move along. It has some really good points, definitely better than first generation PSX titles, but not in the league of current titles (nor is it intended to be). This game can provide hours of work for even an experienced gamer. A novice may give up much sooner than that and never make it past the first mission.

Truly, this is not a bad game for the new low price niche that is being touted and left me pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, some of the shortcuts that were made affected playability and detract from the overall effectiveness of the game, but for a few bucks what can you really expect? The game gets easier to play and more fun as you stick with it, but the question remains of how long will you stick with it? "
Graphics  14/20
Playability  35/50
Sound  8/10
Lastability  16/20
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