Hidden & Dangerous 2: Sabre Squadron
WWII stealth with horrid inventory management.
Here’s Sabre Squadron, a belated expansion pack for Hidden & Dangerous 2 that redresses one wrong but ignores all the others. While Illusion has at least provided the ability to play through every mission in co-op, it hasnâ€™t done much about the screwy AI or addressed a control system so complicated that you’d half expect it on an RPG.
You still take part in British SAS commando operations, and the teamâ€™s nine new missions are standard WWII fare. Jobs take place around Sicily, France and North Africa, and they boast objectives like defending a large bridge, detonating gun emplacements, freeing POWs, and dynamiting submarines.
Possibly the best part of Sabre Squadron are the wonderfully complex levels, a tradition that got passed down from the original game – usually you have more than one route to an objective, and have to deal with various security obstacles along the way. It’s only a shame that so many of the levels take place at night or dusk, making the world look dull and featureless. Though some assignments are undeniably fun – especially the bridge defense in Sicily, where you have to fend off Fritzâ€™s troops and tanks – it’s still not enough to suffer through some of the less interesting (and poorly lit) levels.
The gameplay still has its share of flaws as well. The badly designed interface, which utilizes the entire keyboard and is a nightmare to reconfigure, is back unchanged. Moving and shooting around with your character feels bulky, and the addition of your lame-brained AI squadmates – however versatile they may be to command – are still cause for massive frustrations. At least the enemy AI is equally dumb. Sometimes they might ignore you altogether, other times they zero in on you in the shadows at midnigh, during a thunderstorm, with pinpoint precision.
Co-op saves the day, however. As with the original H&D, online and LAN co-op adds a great deal to the tactical gameplay. Thereâ€™s nothing like partnering with other human players, especially when you get to do cool things like asking a buddy to lay down suppressing fire on a German position while you flank them. Then again you’ll likely need human players to get away from the awful AI.
If you didnâ€™t like H&D 2, Sabre Squadron isnâ€™t about to change your mind. But if you were on the fence, or are one of the many co-op fans dying for a fix, this might be a good gaming venture.
System Requirements: Pentium III 1Ghz, 128 MB RAM, 32 MB Video, Win98 SE