Somewhere in Europe there is a school. Not just any old school but one where the elite forces of NATO go to train. The skills learned here are designed to strengthen both mental and physical reflexes until the trainee is allowed to leave the academy - a perfect fighting machine.
Up to twelve different players can compete at any given time and there are five different courses to test their skills. The first of these is a purely physical course - leaping over obstacles, clambering through tunnels, scrambling over walls and hanging from ladders and the like. Then there is Rex, the not so friendly German Shepherd dog intent on hindering your progress. All the time, your instructors are shouting at you to get a move on, do ten press ups or take evasive action when there is an air raid.
The risk route requires you to learn all about handling grenades, explosives and the like whilst avoiding the unwelcome attention of mines and rubber bullets. Close combat mode includes much of the above together with a few real live opponents that you need to kick, punch, blow up or otherwise dispose of. The combination route includes elements from all the above three courses.
As if that wasn't enough, you can also design your own course, using the included screen editor. Here you can devise the nastiest, meanest tricks in any combination you desire. A few tips are included to help you on your way - obviously, it would be all too easy to indulge in overkill. There is a prize to be awarded for the best designed course which will be included in Action Service II which will involve an actual mission rather than just training exercises.
What action your man performs depends on whether he is standing, kneeling, lying down or in combat mode. All very confusing at first but you soon get the hang of it.
If you find your performances are still not up to scratch, you can always watch the instant replay. Every move that you make is recorded on video and you can play the tape back speeded up, normally, in slow motion or even freeze frame if you really want to analyse your performance that deeply.
The display is bright and colourful and adds considerably to the game's appeal. The one area of weakness is the instructions which could be a lot clearer having been translated from the French. Altogether, an enjoyable effort.
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