20th SENTRY FOXED It's the Interactive Version of the Great Escape, with More Than a Dash of Hogan's Heroes; PRISONER OF WAR PC

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), January 4, 2002 | Go to article overview

20th SENTRY FOXED It's the Interactive Version of the Great Escape, with More Than a Dash of Hogan's Heroes; PRISONER OF WAR PC


Byline: Bob Low

IF you managed to catch TV's Hogan's Heroes, or just watched The Great Escape one more time this year, you'll love this.

Just picture yourself as Steve McQueen and you get something of the idea.

In fact, Jim McMorrow, who produced this for Codemasters, confesses that they almost made the main character look like McQueen, but fell foul of the licence.

It gives you control of Capt Jones, US special ops soldier during World War II.

The mission-based game's objectives are to help prisoners escape and collect information on the Axis Powers. It stands currently at five missions - though early code had more.

There are eight camps, set in places like Colditz Castle and Stalags I and III and, during the course of the game, you may find yourself revisiting earlier camps - and trying to break IN.

That's because Capt Jones is collecting info on dastardly Nazi plots, such as building V2s inside PoW camps but, apart from that Hollywood premise, things are based on the real thing.

You can creep around, explore the camp and talk to others, but if you aren't there for roll call or meals, guards immediately look for you. Get caught and you are slammed in the cooler. Get shot and, if you survive at all, you are sent to the hospital. The second phase, allows you to prepare and escape and includes a few sub-games, such as gambling for "prison currency," - cigarettes and chocolates.

You can also knock down lined cans by throwing stones, which helps your aim when you need to distract guards, or knock out lights.

It's excellently done and graphically spot-on - you can see for yourselves soon, when this game escapes on to the shelves.

Barbies with attitude

BALDUR'S GATE: DARK ALLIANCE PS2

THE Baldur's Gate series was a smash-hit on PC and now the PS2 gets its own version.

Hack-and-slash combat is the name of the game with magic and scantily-clad babes thrown in.

Set in the Forgotten Realms and based loosely on the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game rules, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance makes use of the sword and sorcery background that so many players have become intimately familiar with and which are now back in vogue thanks to Lord Of The Rings.

So, what does the PS2 bring to it? Pure gameplay experience. Every button and feature of the PS2 controller is used in a manner that is both intuitive and functional. Smooth analogue movement controls your character's stride or run, and proper facing is key to success.

Working your way through the world is a cinch from the slightly angled top-down perspective and in open areas you can control the camera's position using the right analogue stick.

If navigating sewers or forests unguided becomes difficult, a full-screen transparent map overlay is available, as is a minimap.

It offers a moderate challenge for the manually dexterous and provides many save points to make progress through the adventure relatively painless.

The small number of puzzles encountered may be frustrating to some, but once solved, they need not be repeated. If there is one major flaw in Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, it is that, unlike LOTR, you can complete all three "movies" in well under a dozen hours.

There are secrets to unlock upon defeating the game, and the opportunity for another trip through as one of the other characters offers considerable replay value, but no doubt most will find that a single venture through this is enough.

Having said that, it is the beginning of a wonderful story and a better PS2 copy of the original than most - better than Kessen was of Shogun, that's for sure.

Anyone who played it on the PC will find this a different challenge entirely.

CYCLING MANAGER

PC

CYCLING is a recognised sport - yer Europeans love it and Sky chucks it in Eurosport regularly. …

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