SCI/Pivotal
Gotham Games
Adventure
1
07.23.03

The Great Escape


From the makers of Conflict Desert Storm, comes The Great Escape. The Great Escape (the movie) was released in 1963. If you have never seen the movie (like myself) then there isn't much to worry about since the game itself tells a good story.

Probably one of the most similar games to this is Prisoner of war, but this game is easier to understand, and more straight forward. There is also a lot more action in this game then in PoW.

Gameplay

The game starts off with a bang, and tapers off quickly. Then after a level or two it picks up again, and you'll find yourself shooting at an entire army of Nazi's. On the journey in this game, you will get the opportunity to control multiple characters, not by choice, however. Each prisoner has his own unique role to play. Each of the four characters all control the same.

The gameplay is very similar to Conflict Desert Storm. The one thing that is the same is that you cannot pick up weapons from the enemies that you killed. There really is no need to since you are provided with enough ammo in designated areas. It just would have been nice to be able to do that like in Frontline. Once the boredom is over, and you get a hold of some guns, the game gets moving.

The one thing that is good about The Great Escape is that there is never any confusion as to where you have to go. All the objectives are highlighted on the map, and all you have to do is press the "Back" button and it shows you exactly where you are. In another sense, this makes the game really easy with no thought involved at all. This game displays many different escapes routes and plans. Level design for the most part is simple. You might get bored and annoyed with the whole set up since the missions are rather simple. You may also feel as though the gameplay to be a little repetitive. You are constantly hiding from the guards. Don't be intimidated by the guards though. The AI goes from one extreme to the other. They either mob you, or you walk into one of them and nothing happens. If you do get caught, you have the option to restart the level, or load a saved game. One nice feature is you can save the game at any point in a level (max 3 times per level).

There are times where you have to change your uniform to match your enemy, but this ain't no Hitman 2. And a lot of times your have to sneak your way past guards, and it sure ain't no Splinter Cell. On average the bulk of levels can each probably take you under 15 minutes to complete, with the exception of some of the latter stages. As I said before, all the objectives are listed in order with no hidden surprises. If you're baffled at all, each one has a detailed overview on what you have to do. The objectives could range from finding uniforms, tools, rescuing POWs, getting maps, wire cutters, etc. If you don't succeed at first, then it's just trial and error until you do.

Graphics

The graphics are slightly above average for an Xbox game, and I mean slightly. They could have been much better. They are a few cut scenes however that looked very up to Xbox quality graphics, but that was about it. There is a terrible model of a watchdog. Throughout certain levels these huge attack dogs are fast, so you better run faster. They don't necessarily look like dogs though; they look like some big creepy animal. If this is going to be the same graphic engine used for Conflict Desert Storm II, then let me say they really updated it for Xbox. You can see far ahead of you, and there is no fog. Let's hope SCI/Pivotal will do the same for CDSII.

Sound

The sound in The Great Escape is perfect, and you even have the option to use custom soundtracks. When I put on my soundtracks they didn't really flow with the game, so the original soundtrack fits the mood of the game well. The Great Escape is also featured in Dolby Digital sound.

Replay Value

For people who like to shoot a lot: you're not always able to hold a gun, so you can't always kill anyone you want. For that reason, the gameplay may seem a bit boring, but for the same reason even more realistic. Once you play through the game, your probably not going to want to play it again right away. Either way, it's still a fun and simple game.

Bottom Line:

This game is a lot better then I thought it would be. The game follows a nice movie plot, and it will keep your interest. Even though there is not that much nonstop action, the title is still worthy of at least a rental. Also, you might want to pick up the DVD movie, it's under $10.

-Steve Melanson




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