Covert Action, created by Sid Meier, is a game that focuses on a topic that, for some reason, isn't covered very thoroughly in the gaming industry. I'm talking about spying. Why hasn't wanted to step into James Bond's shoes and chase down a criminal to their lair? Well, Covert Action lets you do that and a whole lot more.
When you begin the game, you're given a choice of which sex your spy will be, male or female. Whether you choose Max or Maxine matters little in the game itself, but it's a nice touch. Things start off right away as you're given your first assignment. The nice thing about this game is that the assignments and their challanges are never the same. One assignment might have you chasing down a local terrorist while another might have you traveling to exotic locales to spy on some kingpin.
This game is all about variety, and not only are the missions quite varied, but what needs to be accomplished within each mission is also varied. There are times when you'll need to chase a car in order to place a tracer on it, ala Batman. There are times when some fancy wiring will be needed in order to either tap the phone or bypass the security system. There are also times when buldings will need to be entered in order to gain information.
The game is lovingly unscripted and random, and never plays out the same way twice. This seems to be a main feature of many of Sid's games, as they can be played for years with little repetition. Overall, this is one fantastic game if you're into the subject matter. The graphics and sound may be a bit behind (to put it nicely), but the gameplay is top notch.
Graphics: For its day, pretty good, now rather dated
Sound: Lots of bleeps and beeps
Enjoyment: Tons of fun if you're into spying...and who isn't?
Replay Value: Incredibly random and replayable.
As special agent Maximilian (or Maxine) "Max" Remington, you are the premier anti-terror agent in the world. CIA have received tips and clues about some suspicious activities of some known bad guys... Gather enough evidence through house search, wiretaps, etc. Decode any messages you discover to unravel additional clues. Each operation will be handled by multiple people. Figure out the crime BEFORE it happens and get enough evidence to find the true mastermind behind the whole thing... Then chase down and arrest the suspects via car chases or go into the house arrest the suspect yourself. Can you arrest all the masterminds?
Covert Action is best described as a secret agent simulator, with a heavy dose of puzzle and some top-down shooter action. You'll follow the hints all over the world, surveil suspect safehouses, apply wiretaps (which is a puzzle sequence), even go inside and check each and every drawer without arousing suspicion (by keeping VERY quiet). If you're discovered, you'll need to AVOID car chases or you'll end up shooting it out with the bad guys. You can also "tail" a suspect (with multiple cars) and see if you can find another safehouse or more headquarters to search for clues. You have silenced pistol (or Uzi) and three different types of grenades, plus other high-tech toys. As you get closer to the mastermind, the plot gets more intricate, timeline gets shorter, code breaking is tougher, and enemy harder to take out.
Another game from the master Sid Meier! This time he directs his attention to the world of special agents. In Covert Action you are an agent working for the American government. Your job is to eliminate threats from terrorist groups, criminal cartels and other organizations that are bent on making the world a warzone. You are given full authorization to do what you feel is best. So the game can be attacked from different angles every time.
Since most of your jobs are hidden from the public, it is your duty to do all the dirty work yourself. This includes espionage, car-shases, phone-tapping, decoding messages and so on. Every part of the game is challenging and will keep you on your toes. This game is far from easy, and still it offers an easy-to-use console and a great gameplay. Not a game to miss.
As for troubleshooting... You may find it difficult to understand how to tap a phone or how to decode a message the first time you try this, but don't worry. You will soon find it out, and when you do... you'll be amazed as to how easy it actually is.
I do not want to give away too much in this review, since being an agent is all about finding information... So if you feel you have what it takes, then start playing. You will see that there is a lot more to the game than what I have included in my review.
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Civilization 2, Cuban Missile Crisis: The Aftermath, D-Day, Deadlock: Planetary Conquest, Counter Action, Pirates 2, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
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