Click on image to visit site
So you've thought about being a mercenary huh? Let me guess your profile: You're between the ages of 16 and 30, have American Citizenship, own 3.4 hand guns and 2.3 semi-automatics, hate your government, and think everyone is out to get you. Not only that, you got fired from your job pumping gas, and are in bad need for a quick buck. The problem is that physically you're a wimp, you have really bad acne and no one will ever take you seriously, even staring down the barrel of a gun. So what do you do? Go out and buy Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games.
Deadly Games is the sequel to the popular Jagged Alliance game released by Sir-Tech about a year ago. The essential thrust of the game is to perform different types of missions as successfully and profitably as possible. You control a group of mercenaries, each of whom has certain skills and abilities. These skills range from lock picking, explosives handling to sniper shooting. As the group leader, you chose your group from a large list available thanks to an organization called the Association of International Mercenaries (AIM). The list is quite large - there are seventy different mercenaries to choose from, and each has his/her own distinct personality. The profiles of each merc are pretty funny, and on occasion you will hear a "quote" from one of them. The profile lists the merc's attributes which are broken down into the following: Salary, Health, Agility, Dexterity, Wisdom, Skills, and Experience. The skills category is further broken down into: medical, explosives, mechanical, and marksmanship. This aspect of the game is borrowed from the Wizardry setup, and it works fine. The attributes are pretty detailed and serve to provide the player with an "in depth" view of his character. After each mission, it's nice to see which characters get attribute increases. That way the player has a benchmark in knowing how his mercs stand up.
The missions in and of themselves are quite interesting. They range from recon, blowing up bridges, to assassination. The choices in the games are very wide open. Almost anything in the game can be manipulated and while this may initially sound very neat, it can be overwhelming at times. In fact, just learning the basics of the game can be overwhelming and even frustrating at the beginning. Fortunately, Sir-Tech foresaw this and included seven tutorial missions to get the beginner moving. Each tutorial focuses on a different aspect of a merc's life: Firing a gun, Line of Sight, Locks and Keys, Explosives, Mines, Mortars, and Stealth. Rather comprehensive list wouldn't you say? It's a good thing there aren't real schools offering these courses (well I haven't checked the latest issue of Guns an' Ammo...). In any case, at the end of the tutorials (which can be challenging themselves), the player is ready to go out into the "real" world of mercenary work.
In terms of graphics, Deadly Games had a very nice intro. It was a small fully rendered film of two mercs in action. If you've been following Sierra's products lately you know that the 3D rendering is in vogue with them, and this latest little flic shows improvement. While the two characters still seemed a little stunted in their movements, they are far more "natural" than those in previous Sir-Tech releases.
The game play is presented on a slanted 3D view similar to the ones used in the Ultima series. The playing area can be zoomed in or out to get a view of the full region. The characters are large enough to be seen without difficulty, but the detail level was a bit disappointing. Unfortunately the graphics were in VGA rather than in SVGA and the game suffers for it. It would have been much more pleasing to the eye at the higher resolution.
The sound in the game wasn't bad, but it wasn't awe inspiring either. The music was the typical synth that accompanies most games, and it's a shame. We have seen from other games that the right type of music can enhance game play dramatically (i.e. Red Alert), and it would have made a difference here. It seemed that the music was more of an afterthought than anything else.
The sound effects were well done. They were crisp and clear and included "environmental sounds", such as birds chirping in the forest. Once again though, more could have been done. One would imagine that in a jungle, one would hear more than just birds chirping. Maybe a roaring lion or two before eating you would have been a nice addition.
The game play followed a turn based system. Each merc is moved one at a time, using "action points". The more action points your character has, the more they can do per turn. The computer moves once all player turns are finished. Some players might find the action drags out a little this way, especially after playing Command and Conquer. However, it is important to note that this game requires turn based movement. With all the different actions possible, one needs to be able to have the time to choose. So be warned! If you don't like drawn out gaming this is not for you.
Included in Deadly Games is a comprehensive scenario editor. If you've gone through all the missions and think you could design some of your own, you can. The scenario editor is very complete, with full documentation. Also included with the game is a "Multi-player" CD, for your buddy. Most games today include some kind of multi-player format if the game can support it. Deadly Games certainly fits the bill. Have fun blowing up your friends.
Written by Anil Chhabra
P.O. BOX 245,
Ogdenburg, NY 13669.
|Technical Support:||315-393-6644 Monday to Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm EST|
|Game hints:||315-393-6633 Monday to Friday 4:00pm - 8:00pm EST|
Web site: Sirtech Software
Internet support: Sirtech Software Technical Support
All content Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 Coming Soon Magazine, Inc.