Name: Project IGI
Developer: Innerloop
Price: £29.99
Min System Spec: P200 64mb Ram 3-D Card
Recommended System Spec: PIII400 128Ram 16mb 3-D card
Official Web Site
Reviewed By: Fugue

For sometime now PC games about special forces have been dominated by the Rainbow Six, Delta Force and Special Ops series, Project IGI has just been released in Europe and the US by Eidos and breathes new life into tactical first person shooters. Unlike all the above you are on your own, no team mates to worry about just a voice in you ear giving you updates as you progress through the levels.

You play the part of David Jones, an ex SAS soldier specialised in Russian and European tactics who is on the trail of a nuclear warhead, its fairly formulaic as story lines go but it's the presentation that sets this apart from the competition. The most innovative feature in I.G.I is the terrain, instead of small maps the developers opted to use vast rolling hills and mountains, the sense of space in the game is second to none. Doted in amongst the hills are your objectives, most of which are military bases heavily guarded by sharp-eyed troops.
I.G.I is not about rushing in with guns blazing, in fact using such tactics will almost always result in a swift death, the object of the game is stealth and you usually have weapons available to enable you to sneak about undetected. Starting a small distance from your target to help you have binoculars that pick out enemy positions and a satellite map that displays objectives and logs any communications.

Unlike many FPS the weapons are all useful in their own way, A silenced HK MP5 is the standard weapon for most missions, with a secondary fire action that allows you to slightly zoom in on your target. For increased firepower there is the M16 with grenade launcher, AK-47's and Minimi that can be picked up from dead guards, they do however have the drawback of alerting every guard around to your presence so have to be used carefully. Pistols include Glock 17, Colt Anaconda and Desert Eagle, there is of course the inevitable hunting knife and UZI machine pistol which can be sometimes be found in pairs for increased firepower (very handy for clearing rooms full of guards).

The sniper rifle is essential in most missions and has a very good zoom but ammo is extremely limited so picking targets carefully is essential. Two shotguns are also available as pick ups during missions; these become invaluable in the interior locations as do grenades and flashbangs. All the weapons are very detailed and have excellent distinctive sounds, they are modelled on the real thing so will pull up or off to one side when firing, very noticeable with AK-47 which is far more accurate firing in short bursts. The weapons physics are the biggest surprise in this game, whilst you may feel safe crouched behind a fence or crate you soon discover the bullets are not bouncing harmlessly off but passing straight through. Fire up at the underneath of a guard tower and you will hear the unsighted guard fall, bullets also ricochet off metal and break glass. This is not a gory game; no flying limbs just blood splats on walls from well-placed headshots!

As well as numerous foot soldiers you also come up against tanks, APC's, helicopter gunships and mounted machine guns. A shoulder mounted rocket launcher with a well placed shot to the side or rear will take care of most armoured vehicles but many can be avoided by using stealth tactics. Guards that spot you will often rush to set off the base alarm and all hell breaks loose, security cameras will also betray your presence but these can be deactivated or disabled with either a bullet or by hacking into the security system. Wires can be used to slide and crawl you way into bases, most locations have water and guard towers that can be climbed to get a better view. All actions take place in 3rd person view allowing you to pan round as you climb/slide which is very useful and looks excellent, a very nice touch allows you to quickly slide down ladders.

One major drawback in some missions is the base alarm triggering an endless stream of guards from the barrack buildings. Unfortunately the developers added the dreaded Respawn! Its only apparent in a few of the fourteen missions but with NO in game save option it can become very frustrating. Missions are only saved on completion, something that will not appeal to many. It does however force you to carefully plan each objective, watching guard patrol routes and searching for alternatives to walking in through the main gates is vital, it also adds an incredible amount of tension. That said you will find yourself going over the same ground time and time again only to die in the last section, however getting on board the helicopter and flying away to safety after twenty or so attempts is very satisfying.

As for faults well the locations are very similar, all the barracks and warehouses are virtually identical in every mission, the enemy AI is hardly groundbreaking and at times pretty awful. The terrain looks stunning because of its scale but again is very similar, green hills or snow covered mountains.

On a plus side the gameplay is excellent, sound effects add to the realism, (footsteps crunching on snow, rainfall on buildings, breaking glass, ricocheting bullets etc etc). All in all it's a great game with a few problems that will probably be rectified (hopefully a save game and a "turn off the respawn!" option in a patch). If you are looking for a truly challenging game with an emphasis on realism and stealth you will not be disappointed. At the moment there is no multiplayer option and no official word whether this will ever be added at a later date.



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Reviewed on
Windows 98
PentiumIII 450
128mb Ram
Voodoo3 3000 AGP DirectX 8.0

How it Performed
Game ran perfectly at resolutions up to 1024x768,16 bit colour with detail set at highest, no slow down on large maps, higher resolutions had some jerkiness. No crashes or major problems found.


Reviewers Comment
If you like H&D this will probably appeal to you, I love it! It does have some major drawbacks, no in-game save and the respawn, but it is probably the most impressive looking tactical shooter I've seen in a long time and the stealth aspect of the game is excellent. Its hard, very hard in places but has so many good points it's worth the money. A bit on the short side with only 14 missions but many of the missions are very re-playable.



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