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Review by: Jim Richmond
Published: September 23, 2003
You know, you’re right. If everybody just did what you told them to, it would make the world a better place. You should be in charge. Unfortunately, this type of unquestioned control would make you a dictator, and even the word dictator has a bad connotation conjuring up images of megalomaniacs surveying perfectly aligned marching troops – or at least that one boss we’ve all had. But you’d be the type of benevolent dictator like you have to become in Tropico if you don’t want to be overthrown, right? While this is probably true of your reign of terror, traditionally, dictators take on the forms of nefarious evildoers like Saddam Hussein or Idi Amin. These people and others like them make dictators so easy to hate that, as a group, they formulate an easy and convincing template for bad guys. In Rebels: Prison Escape, developer Hip Games uses this pattern of evil to create a dictator that needs to be ousted.
In an unnamed country, the dictator, Friedrich, rules with an iron fist. He has denied his people all freedom and he uses his secret police and Elite Guard to ensure that his rule of the land is total. However, an underground movement is afoot. Calling themselves the Alliance of the Rebel Movement (A.R.M.), they plot to remove Friedrich from his seat of authority. Just before A.R.M. is about to stage a spectacular coup, Friedrich finds the leaders of the movement and throws them all in separate prisons. Now you must help them escape and end Friedrich’s tyranny.
Rebels is a strategy puzzle game that fashions itself after the Commandos series. In each successive level, you ply the talents of up to three team members to make your way past guards and spies to achieve goals. Your core objective generally includes a rescue aimed at freeing a member of A.R.M. However, along the way, you uncover plots Friedrich has in place, and then with this new information, you set about the work of sabotaging his plans.
Each member of your force has unique abilities that make them a vital part of a functioning unit. Blake is a war veteran that can force doors, knock out enemies, and feign death to trick patrolling guards. Jeffery is a mechanical engineer that can pick locks, set deadly traps and is an expert marksman. Alicia is the seductress that can conceal herself in the shadows and is an expert at strangling. Jonah is a shaman who can hypnotize opponents and use a blowpipe to bring down enemies. Alexandro, a former illusionist and a master of disguises, can imitate sounds to provide distractions, and can cast blinding flashes. Working in tandem, they can achieve results that no individual could effect alone while they set about unlocking the challenges in A.R.M.’s way.
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