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» NINTENDO 64 » HARDWARE » PS2 » PSOne » XBOX » GAMECUBE » HANDHELDS » SEGA
Zinc Alloy August 9, 2000 Review Feedback

Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn

An advanced, high-tech, armored military train, the Blue Harvest, leaves St. Petersburg, Russia, bound for Paris. On board are the French ambassador to Russia and his family. While en route, the train is hijacked and occupied by a terrorist group who call themselves the ‘Knights of the Apocalypse’.

The Knights of the Apocalypse have demanded 20 billion dollars in return for the ambassador and his family. As negotiations commence, the single member of the train’s original security force, who somehow managed to survive the terrorist attack, despite every other soldier submitting to the gun, makes contact with the HQ. You play as that soldier, Lieutenant Jack Morton, and you must save the ambassador and his family on your own. Along the way, you also find yourself responsible for a couple of other lives aboard the train.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten a little bit of the background out of the way, on to the actual game. Imagine an entire 2-disc action game taking place on a train. At first I tried to disbelieve that fact. I kept thinking that at any second the train would pull into a town and the action would continue there. Maybe I could save a grateful Bavarian village from the arms of a ruthless tyrant, shun the military life, become a rich Baron (an honorary title, of course), and marry the ambassador's attractive female bodyguard, but that never seemed to happen.

Even filled with obstacles (don’t they make trains with straight walkways anymore?), the game play can get a bit tedious, no matter which way you batter that fish. You can pretty much guess that you are going to be traveling back and forth amongst the cars, going past the same scenery again and again while trying to dodge bullets. True, they did add a second level to the train, but still… There certainly was a lot of "go to car four, look for terrorist leader, go back to car nine to find the ambassador's aide, run to car six to get medical aid for a fallen soldier, hurry to car eleven to find the ambassador's wife".

Graphically, I think that Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn is up to the standards set by other games in the same genre. There are no groundbreaking, breathtaking visuals to “ooh” and “ahh” over, but the graphics aren’t exceptionally bad. In fact, when you walk by some of the recently deceased, you can see some of the colorful details, some of which were very nicely done. The cut scenes would have been much more impressive if the characters didn’t have such a plastic sheen to their faces. The colors and backgrounds were, for the most part, average and repetitive, and there was little or no interactivity from the background settings, or the any of the surrounding features.

The sound in the game was not spectacular in any way. The voice acting was very poor, considering Activision's track record. You would think that someone would put more effort into voice acting these days, or at least have taken some of the cheese out of the corny dialogue. The music and sound effects were okay, but nothing above average. The empty cartridges spilling on the floor was a nice touch, but that’s been done before, and in better games. Sometimes the sounds in a game, the music and effects, ice the cake on a good game, making it even better. This game isn’t going to win any awards for the way it sounds.

I found the game play very typical, if not lazily executed. It was hard to tell just what they were trying to accomplish with this game, with a targeting system similar to Siphon Filter and a quest system similar to Dino Crisis. More stealth la Metal Gear Solid would have added greater depth to the game. Running around on the top of the Blue Harvest was a bit of a treat the first time. I was actually concerned the first time I nearly fell off the train, but sadly, that effect prematurely wore thin. The boss enemies were surprisingly easy to beat, considering that Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn is billed as an action game.

The puzzles were simple and straightforward, if you don’t mind tracking down the ubiquitous key cards for doors all the way on the other side of the train, or pushing buttons in just the right sequence to open a trap door. The arsenal was just a handful of different guns and very limited amounts of ammo, but I’m not sure that a full-on lead fest is what they had in mind for the game. While you are able to combine some of the weapons, this feature seemed like more of an afterthought than an actual major feature. I would have loved to combine a scimitar, a crossbow and a cold slab of plastic explosive, but alas, it was not to be. Not even a deathmatch mode would have made the train more interesting.

The characters were not only stereotypical, but also wooden and unconvincing. The plot was cellophane-thin, and seemed to be lifted straight from an early 1980’s cold war era Atari game, and even then… I found the running back and forth from one end of the train to the other time and time again not only frustrating, but also boring and tedious. There were a lot of nitpicky things that I didn’t enjoy about the game. They make the backpack, your main tool, tiny and un-expandable. The specific locations to save your game, long a thorn in my side, were placed in weird, oddly spaced bathrooms, sometimes miles from a clash with a boss or a critical area, for some strange reason.

Page 2

Game Title Stats

 

Genre:
Action

Release Date:
Available

Publisher:
Activision

Developer:
Sugar and Rockets

ESRB:
Teen

System Requirements :








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