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It is the near future or it could very well be present time. The United States of America and the People’s Republic of China are on the verge of war. MI6, the British Secret Service, sends agent John Cord to Volgia, a small former republic of the USSR, at the request of the CIA, to help track down a missing agent.
What should be a straightforward assignment turns out to be anything but simple. Trapped in a hostile country, forced to rely on uncertain friendships, Cord has to depend on his own reserves of courage and ingenuity, but with millions of lives in danger will they be enough?
The first thing you can’t help but to notice is that the load time is a bit long. The reason becomes clear when you are greeted with Resident Evil style pre-rendered background graphics for each location - check out the screenshots to see just how beautiful the game looks. Nice little atmospheric effects like wisps of steam coming out of a smokestack and flickering lights liven up these scenes, making them look more three-dimensional. The characters are all rendered in polygons and have decent modeling. Each scene you work in has a fixed camera angle and is fixed at random areas in the room. Sometimes it’s behind Cord, other times at the side, and so on. The polygons are noticeable more when Cord is at a far distance from the camera, as he moves closer, he is rendered better. Each area has its own different lighting scheme and you can move in and out of the shadows. One nice feature is when you fire the pistol; the spent shell pops out and bounces around very realistically.
Playability is simple, yet the game is complex. Movement is always in relation to the camera angle when using the analog stick (do yourself a favor and use the analog stick as the d-pad movement always seems hard to figure out and you end up going or turning the wrong way). The problem with this approach is that when your character moves into a different area and the camera angle changes, forwards can become backwards and vice versa. To prevent instant insanity, just back off the controller as the camera angle changes, then resume.
Its very important to gather information from each location as it will help you progress through the game. Cord has a small wrist device that has a communicator to send and receive messages, but more importantly he also carries a device that will interface with certain computer terminals. Also available is a map that shows the area around you – including the position of other people. What it doesn’t tell you is if it is friend or foe, so if you see movement in the next room, it’s best to advance in stealth mode; which means crouching and moving very carefully until you see whom it is. Some locations are just plain boring with nothing going on, while others have items and clues that you need to pick up to continue successfully in your mission.
Another part of the gameplay is character interaction. As you play through the game, speaking with the local denizens helps to progress the storyline and of course give you important information pertaining to your mission or regarding certain items. As an example, you are able to interact with the workers in the factory and other protagonists. Merely press the X button to speak to them, then a small menu of topics (icon of Kiefer’s head) to choose from to ask the workers and begin your dialogue. After a while you notice that the workers are all normally colored, but the guards have a slight green glow. You can’t talk to them… just shoot or run. You will get killed often, just make the restart less painful by saving at various points along the game. You don’t want to start over from the beginning.
As far as sound goes, it’s all just sound effects and character voices. There is no background music. Cord moves silently through the building, with only the hum of equipment in the background. Unlike other adventure games, the characters all speak to each other, there aren’t any text subtitles to read. Overall the sound effects are excellent.
· Nine missions with approximately 60 total hours of gameplay
· The latest in spy equipment including highly-advanced communication computers, electromagnetic pulse-mines, hacking units, and motion detectors
· More than one hundred environments to explore and survive
· Suspenseful gameplay requiring stealth for mission success
· A captivating plot delivered through in-game action and FMV
1 Block required on Memory card per save (min)
Up to 1 Players (without Multi-tap)
Uses Dual Shock Pad Buttons
Uses Dual Shock Pad Analog Sticks
Uses Dual Shock Pad Vibration facility
REVIEW SCORE GUIDE:
We promise that we have fully played 'In Cold Blood' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
SUMMARY OF FINAL RATING (%)
00 - 59 This makes your console seem like an older machine. It utilises little or none of the PSone power.
60 - 69 This game is little more than average and we advise renting or play-testing before considering a purchase.
70 - 79 This is a good solid title that should still appeal to those who like this type of game.
80 - 89 This is a fantastic game that we think you will enjoy playing for quite some time.
90 - 100 This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:
It is very important that you are aware that the criteria we use to obtain review scores on the PS2 is very different to that used for games on the original Playstation (PSone). The Processing and Graphical power of the two consoles are vastly different and as our reviews are graded against what we estimate is the achievable potential of each system, it does not mean in any way that a game scoring 80 percent on PS2 is worse than a Playstation (PSone) equivalent which scores 95.
A more detailed breakdown of this guide can be read here.
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