Beyond the Law: The Third Wave
The basic gameplay in Beyond the Law: The Third Wave is similar to Commandos or any one of its numerous clones, minus an actual artificial intelligence, sound tactics and fun factor. You control several operatives (selected from a pool of 50) and lead them in various missions to stop a rampaging criminal gang from crippling the United States. There are 20 missions in all, with various covert ops objectives like finding documents, planting bombs or rescuing hostages. As good as all of it sounds, Beyond the Law fails in all of the right places.
It’s a shame too, because there are some decent ideas thrown in, like the simplified Jagged Alliance-style hiring system. You earn money and use it to higher operatives specialized in various fields. Some of these guys cost a lot because they pack heavier weapons, others attempt to throw in a tactical element into gameplay, like a sniper for long shots (slightly longer shots than with rifles, in all honesty), a stealthy hand-to-hand fighter (meh) or a security guy who can disable cameras. As in Commandos or Desperados games, the goal is to sneak around and methodically take out each enemy.
One major issue is the AI. When enemy sentries aren’t picking you off instantly beyond their visual detection radius, they do really odd things. Once I had two of my guys attack one guard. The guard took out one, but was completely oblivious of my other guy standing inches next to him, and everyone just stood their in awkward silence. The characters within the game, both friendly and hostile, hardly exhibit anything close to human behavior.
Even as a bargain release, the graphics in the game are dated – the first Commandos game looked somewhat better, and also played much better. The game is riddled with perplexing design issues, like how you can’t simultaneously attack a single target as a team. Or why you have to view each guard’s individual detection radius, and not turn them all on for the entire level. Or how you can’t drag bodies, or pick up ammunition from dead bodies, or why enemy guards frequently outgun you with pistols when you’re packing heavy rifles and SMGs. These faults all add up to a frustrating and ultimately pointing experience.
System Requirements: Pentium II 233 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win2000
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