Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games (JADG) is the sequel to the highly acclaimed Jagged Alliance. Jagged Alliance featured an infectious mix of great tactical combat, a great campaign, humor, charm, and a bit of role playing into what has usually been a very dry exerience. JA had you taking your mercs across an island to restore its former leader to power. JADG has no such storyline, but what it does have, as JA had, were the mercs.
The mercs are your arms, eyes, ears, and might in any mission in JADG. These mercs, rather than being just a collection of stats as in other games, are full of personality and charm. They have thoughts, feelings, and goals that can even get in the way of a mission. Mercs will comment on just about everything that happens during a mission, and even sometimes before it. If you have a particular merc hired to your team, for example, another merc may refuse to work with you because the two of them REALLY don't get along. It's this type of charm that really sets the Jagged Alliance games apart from the pack.
Once you've committed to a mission, you'll find some dated, yet nice graphics. The interface for using your mercs is totally mouse based, with right and left buttons both being used. The options available in using your mercs are extensive. These options help you during your fight, which is completely turn based. Each merc has a number of movement points to use during a turn, and these points are used for everything from movement, to opening doors, to picking up objects, to firing weapons. A nice option allows you to automatically save enough MP's in case of opportunity fire. This is a great feature that can mean life or death to mercs.
Mercs can carry a dizzying array of equipment, from guns, to radios, to first aid kits, and so on. Each item must be placed in the hand before use, so you'd have to take out the mercs gun before using the first aid kit or the mine sweeping metal detector. Thanks to the game's turn-based nature, the action feels much more tense than any real time game at the time.
While in combat, line of sight makes a big difference. While there's only one level to the combat (ground, nothing higher), many other factors can come into play. Obstacles such as buildings, doors, and boxes can be used for cover and stealth, and these are essential to success.
While the tactical gameplay is the core of Deadly Games, the story was also a core of the original Jagged Alliance. Deadly Games lacks such a story, but includes a couple of editors in order to roll your own. The scenario/map editor allows you to create a wide variety of scenarios over almost any type of landscape, including swamps, jungles, cities, and snowscapes. Using the editor is quite easy, and one can place tiles, buildings, NPC's, and enemy mercs. Mercs may also be customized for different levels of ability and difficulty, and may also be outfitted with equipment before hand. The editor can create many fun and interesting scenario. One scneario I saw had you kidnapping Bill Gates after being hired by the CEO of Netscape (I never knew Microsoft was so well fortified).
Once scenarios are made, they may be strung together into campaigns with the campaign editor. This editor is very easy to use, and can also set campaign briefings and events that only add to the user created story. These two tools go a long way to add a lot of life to what is a great gaming engine.
The final addition to this game comes way of multiplayer options. These include LAN and Hotseat options. This is a great way to take on your friends, and services like KALI let you play the game over the net. The multiplayer options are comprehensive enough to allow a few friends to have at it with some great mercs.
Overall, Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games is a great game. It's got lots of depth, humor, and charm that make up for its dated graphics. If you like games like X-Com or Syndicate, you should own this game as well, becuase it's as least as good, if not better, than them. One can only hope this string of games continues long after the current sequel, Jagged Alliance 2.
Graphics: The VGA, fixed resolution graphics look somewhat dated.
Sound: Fantastic voice acting and sound effects.
Enjoyment: If this is your thing, you'll love it.
Replay Value: Mission/Campaign editors and multiplayer options ensure a long life.
In Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games you take a group of mercenaries (mercs) through a series of missions. Gameplay is almost identical to the original Jagged Alliance, featuring overhead-view turn based combat taking place over an area map. The main difference between the two products is the addition of new mission types, new weapons, multiplayer (over an IPX network), as well as scenario and campaign editors. Players begin by hiring up to six mercenaries from a roster of many and equip them with necessary weapons and items. They are then assigned to a mission with particular and unique objectives. The missions are ordered but they are not geographically linked as in The original Jagged Alliance or it's sequel, Jagged Alliance 2.
People who downloaded Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games have also downloaded:
Jagged Alliance, Jagged Alliance 2, Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire, Heroes of Might and Magic 4, Heroes of Might and Magic, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, Jane's Fleet Command, Imperialism 2: The Age of Exploration
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