Operation Shadow Review

Developer: Torus Publisher: Nokia
Release Date: September 30, 2004 Also On: None

A game that I would have loved to see on the N-Gage would be kill.switch. It was one of the strongest 3rd person shooters on the PS2 last year, released by Namco. A solid effort was attempted on the GBA, and would have worked well on the N-Gage, but was not brought over. Operation Shadow reminds me of kill.switch, a simplified version, with the ability to ride in vehicles, and play in multi-player deathmatch.

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The character you play as is more or less a human robot. He can take hits from machine guns, tanks, etc., without dying. Of course, he is all human, likely a steroid junky along the lines of the governor of California. Shoot first, ask questions later is the motto of our dangerous hero. Some levels, however, will require you to run through the entire thing without firing a round, unless you expect to die.

Levels will vary in objective. Rescue hostage, defend building, destroy building, annihilate helicopters containing an enemy leader, etc. Accompanying you in each mission is your assault rifle with unlimited ammunition, grenades, and a rocket launcher, used for destroying tanks, helicopters, etc. Also included are several artillery equipped vehicles, varying from a tank, Humvee, helicopter, hover-craft, etc.

About the vehicles, I found in the multi-player deathmatches that you could teleport from one part of the screen to a vehicle by pressing 2, which has you enter a vehicle. One time I was feet away from a tank, pressed 2, and was teleported to a buggie. Obviously this is a glitch, but compared to the otherwise fun multi-player, it will not annoy you enough to quit.

Vehicles control with the control pad. You can move left right, forward, and backwards, depending on the position you are pressing on the pad. The tank’s turret can be turned using the number pad. Vehicles such as the helicopter have secondary weapons, aside from the primary. The helicopter, for instance, comes packed with a gun and a rocket. All vehicles require you to pick up ammo; aside from ammo, you can pick up armor, and various power-ups, such as double damage.

The graphics in Operation Shadow are sufficient for a N-Gage title, but could have been better. The frame rate remains steady, the animation is quick and smooth, but the detail in buildings, characters, etc. is low. Trees, bushes, and enemy AI are all 2D sprites. In fact, you get the impression that trees/bushes “move” as you do. Since they are 2D sprites, as you move, they will turn to face the direction that you are.

Operation Shadow does several things right, and several things wrong. The good ultimately outweighs the bad, but if this game had been given a longer development period, it could have been an easy recommendation. The controls are solid; you can strafe, shooting and navigation is easy, etc. The biggest problem is with strafing and throwing grenades at the same time, reverse in vehicles, etc. The enemy AI has precise aiming. For the most part, this is balanced by your character’s tolerance for lead and the auto-aiming system.

Bluetooth multi-player, with a skilled second player, can be more fun than the single-player missions. There are four maps to choose from, the third of which is so large that it will take a good twenty to thirty minutes to reach whatever kill count you set (unless your setting was timed). The rocket launcher feels overly powerful, but a swipe from the swift buggie vehicle can easily solve that problem. Some of the levels feel appropriate for vehicular mayhem (level 3), while others (level 2) do not implement them very well. Fighting in the trenches, while maneuvering a hover-craft is a serious task.

I fully recommend Operation Shadow for fans of all-out shooting games. There is not much of a purpose to what you are doing, other than to kill the bad guys, blow up their buildings, etc. It might seem nonsensical, but Torus managed to make it fun enough to catch my attention for several hours. The multi-player feature is definitely welcome, adding to the game’s replay value. Overall though, it depends on what kind of gamer you are as to if this is something you should purchase. If from reading this review, the game sounds interesting, you should probably pick this up.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 4
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 6.4
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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