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Spycraft - the Great Game's box


"Click and Dragger" Intrigue

The Cold War may be over, but game maker Activision is trying to ensure its memory lives on.

With its 3 disk CD-ROM cloak and dagger adventure "Spycraft: The Great Game," the company draws you into a thriller full of espionage, political intrigue, and the old sex and violence standbys that never seem to go out of style.

Spycraft is set after the fall of communism, during a heated campaign for President of Russia, and, to a non-spy, it seems very authentic. To help ensure accuracy, Activision brought in some heavy duty ordnance to act as consultants: ex-CIA Director Willam Colby and former KGB general Oleg Kalugin, who also play themselves.

The game uses custom-filmed movie segments to advance a storyline in which you’re sent to find the assassin of a Russian Presidential candidate, while ensuring the same grisly fate doesn’t befall the U.S. Commander in Chief. Before leaving on your mission, you go through training that introduces you to the high tech toys (and plain old marksmanship) you’ll need to accomplish your assignment.

You learn to use satellite photography and infrared scans to identify suspects, and you’re even dispatched to "The Farm’s" shooting range to practice gunning down your opposition. These training sessions are fun, and they’re only the beginning.

The bag of tricks with which you’re equipped would do Felix Leiter proud. Your computer Intelink network lets you collect secret information that may - or may not - be relevant to the case; you’ll also have the opportunity to make good use of toys like a computerized wonder that assembles facial features and runs them through the databanks to help you identify suspects.

Activision says Spycraft mixes its home grown movies with authentic CIA footage, in the process throwing 30 different puzzles at you that are supposedly based on real CIA covert tactics and operations. Many of the film sequences’ actors even interact with you: they look into the camera when talking to you, making you feel a part of the intrigue. In all, it’s quite intriguing…

There’s a nice feature for those of tender sensibilities: you can lock out the more graphic aspects of this particular life in the fast lane, though the "gratuitous" setting seems no worse than today’s movies.

Spycraft throws a variety of life-and-death situations and tough decisions at you, even bringing you face to face with the Russian Mafia and a network of rogue spies, and there’s an online feature that lets you continue your quest on a special Spycraft web site.

The production values are worthy of a Hollywood movie and, though you’ll probably get bogged down at times (tempting you to see how shatterproof a CD-ROM really is), Spycraft offers a delicious chance to live vicariously the life of a secret agent.

Spycraft: the Great Game is widely available.

Now, bring on Ernst Stavro Blofeld!


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January 31, 2006