Review by Alfred Giovetti
Price: $38 - $50
Release: August, 1996
Developer: Millennium Interactive (British)
Publisher: Vic Tokai, 22904 Lockness Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501
Requirements: 486 DX 66 MHz, VGA graphics card, DOS 6.0, 2X CD ROM drive, 8 MB RAM, 4 MB hard disk space, mouse.
Summary: Real-time, almost role-playing game with squad level overhead oblique perspective combat and strategy. To me the combination of real time and strategy makes a game difficult to play unless all the elements are balanced correctly as in Command and Conquer.
The Plot: n the 1990's, we can be sure of three things---death, taxes and rising crime. Capital cities are often the nesting grounds of armed criminals. To combat the increased threats of terrorism, Anti-Terrorist Divisions (ATD) have been formed, all ATD units share similar aims and objectives. It is vital for you to fully understand them before you proceed.
The objective of an ATD is to save all lives using no more force than is necessary. An ATD consists of a group of trained firearms officers. Selected squads are on standby 24 hours a day and are advised of incidents either by fax or by mobile phone. Once called into action, squad members will stay on duty until a crisis is over.
Gameplay: As a team leader you must consider all possible aspects of a siege during the planning stage. This means that your first task will be TO PLAN after getting intelligence reports on enemy strength and condition. Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. An ATD's objectives will be met if you have the right attitude and if you can obtain as much information as possible. The most vital aspect of planning is research. Attention to detail is crucial.
While planning and research continue, negotiations will begin. If the situation deteriorates, direct action will become necessary. This is where you'll come in with skill, knowledge, and attitude. And remember the ATD saying, "It is better to be judged by twelve than carried by six".
Combat: Equipment includes MP5 assault weapon, shotguns, rifles, explosive, stun, and gas grenades, surveillance, medical supplies, and others. Combat is resolved realtime, making it difficult to manage all eight effectively. The lack of a pause feature is a significant design flaw. A special autonomous button requires manual toggling when you are doing other tasks or your men calmly smoke cigarettes while the terrorists smoke them.
This is squad level combat with an interface similar to that of X-COM. The planning screen allows you to deploy your SAS troops (British for SWAT - Ed.). Before the action starts you can group your men. Attitude can also be set at from take prisoners to extreme prejudice.
Interface: Isometric, overhead oblique perspective us in the top three quarters of the screen with a control panel at the bottom. Control up to eight swat team members. A nice feature would have been to include on the equip member screen a display of the statistics necessary to make a decision about what equipment to carry. This would have saved a log of unnecessary menu hopping and jumping. The optional control of individual characters is difficult especially when moving past obstacles, climbing stairs or opening doors.
Artificial Intelligence: Three settings range from full to no AI
Missions and Scenarios: "17 levels of terrorist-hostage scenerios" is what the press information says, but what this means is anyone’s guess. Rescue hostages and radio stations until you tire of it. There are 17 missions that come with the game. The missions are time dependent, and you need to buy time with negotiations and other tactics. The time dependent component and other problems make the combat very difficult and divisively so.
Graphics: Primitive two dimensional graphics with small characters. Looks like the illustrations in children’s books. There is no shading, shadows, texture maps, or light sourcing. Animation is not smooth.
Voice actors: Full motion video (FMV) briefings and debriefings employ human speech and can appear at any time in your preparations. Scott feels that the FMV briefings were "cheesey." The voice overs are limited in numbers of professional voices used.
Multiplayer: No facility for multiplayer mode. This game would be great on a network with eight people playing the role of one of the team members. This multiplayer mode might overcome the design flaws in the game.
Hints: Don't kill everything in site this time through, remember the British are a subtle people. Try to finesse missions and reduce damage to enemies, innocent bystanders, personal and real property.
Use the phone often to obtain outside help from phone, computer, power, and other utilities. Negotiate with the poor terrorists for time.
Bernard Dy, Computer Player, August, 1996, volume 3, number 3, pages 66-67, rating 6 out of 10, 60% .
Barry Brenesal, PC Games, August, 1996, volume 3, Number 8, pages 76, C-, 75%.
Scott Udell, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 70, September, 1996, pg. 55.
Scott Udell, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 71, October, 1996, pg. 74, 2/5, (40%-70%)
Bill Kunkel, http://happypuppy.com/pulse/previews/pc/deadline_pre.html
Home page: http://www.victokai.com/dead.html