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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: October 23, 2002
The first-person shooter genre is by far the most competitive on the personal computer. Fans of 3D action titles have little tolerance for products that lag behind current trends. Always pushing the technological envelope, this category serves as a showcase for the very best that game programmers have to offer. So when a new developer enters the fray, it had better produce a quality product. Polish studio Mirage Interactive – whose past accomplishments include Mortyr – has created Sniper: Path of Vengeance for Xicat Interactive. Does it make the grade?
Sniper takes place in a decadent city where corruption and crime are rampant. You play Dominick Trulione, a deadly hitman who’s caught in the midst of a crime war that’s erupting on the streets. You’re betrayed by your employers, framed, drugged and thrown into prison. After shooting your way out of jail, you undertake a maniacal mission of vengeance against those who deceived you. You roam alone through the city, killing those associated with the instigators – including prison guards, corrupt police, Chinese crime lords and the mob – until you take revenge on everyone. Sound exciting? Perhaps, but the story is inadequately developed and not tightly intertwined with the game’s action.
There are over 25 levels in Sniper. Most take place in urban streets, mansions and narrow underground tunnels. None of the maps are particularly inspired in appearance or design, while the locations of the various criminal gangs make little sense. (Some levels are set in physically tiny spaces, for example.) You move from one level to the next at illogical times, and are even returned to your Windows desktop during the seemingly endless load times. The net result is that the geographical transitions are as jarring and unnatural as could be, and you end up dreading advancing to the next area.
You’ll find a lot to interact with while roaming through the game. Some items can be moved or exploded, while you can collect health, medicine, weapons, ammunition and special equipment. Similar to other first-person shooters, switches, doors and elevators are activated when you get close to them and press the action key. Medpacks, food, power-ups and painkillers can be found to provide at least a temporary respite from danger. Medpacks and food restore your health, while power-ups and painkillers temporarily decrease the damage when you get shot. Among the more colorful food pickups are a burger, an apple, a “schnickers” chocolate bar, a bottle of whisky, wine or vodka, a can of cola or beer, beef steak and a chicken drumstick.
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