Project IGI: I’m Going In
Huge gameplay real-estate and none of it worth a damn.
Fantastic ideas abound in computer-game design, and Project IGI held great promise with its completely dazzling terrain engine and realistic premise. Glance through the screenshots and you’d think this is the kind of game Delta Force was supposed to be.
But alas, it’s not. Once the thrill of being able to pick off an enemy from a mile away is gone, Project IGI is but a shallow, mediocre shooter. The premise hardly bears mentioning: you’re on the trail of a terrorist group that may or may not possess nuclear weapons, and you work for an anti-terrorist squad that sends you in to set things right. Mayhem ensues. But without even a multiplayer mode to extend its longevity, which seems bizarre for a sniping-based game, you’re stuck with the less-than-ideal solo campaign. The problem is that the solo campaign lacks a savegame option, which is unforgivable considering how long levels can drag on. Make one mistake, though, and you need to restart.
Enemy AI is basic. Sentries follow their appointed paths and nothing will make them vary short of directly spotting you. You can pick off one of a group of soldiers with your AK and the others will continue to walk their rounds unconcerned, stepping right over their fallen comrade’s body. And one of the most successful strategies in the game is to peek around a corner, shoot someone a couple of times, and then duck back again.
Most of the challenge of IGI, then, comes from dealing with the vast terrain, across which soldiers can spot you quite easily. Enemies can activate an alarm and bring in a train of bad guys down upon your location. To help you deal with the swarms, you’re provided with a real-time map that relays satellite information and tracks each hostile – as long as they are not indoors. The frustrating action makes it more trouble than its worth, and outside of the fun sniping, there really isn’t much point in suffering through IGI’s missions.
While it’s unquestionably just another first person shooter, Project IGI has one elusive quality that makes it worthwhile – the feel of the weapons and action is spot on, and it’s simply fun to shoot things, particularly from a distance. At various points in the game, the sniper rifle becomes an invaluable tool for survival, and it’s incredibly entertaining to take down the opposition from long-range across the open landscapes.
The game also features various other machine guns, pistols, grenades, mines, rocket launchers, and a knife, amounting to twelve different weapons altogether. The complete lack of an option to equip Jones before each mission is an annoying oversight, however. Instead, the game sticks you with a limited arsenal at the start of each of the game’s fourteen levels, and it’s up to you to scavenge for better hardware.
The missions themselves generally involve stealthy break-ins into enemy bases to locate information (and sometimes people). At times, you find yourself providing sniper cover for a Special Forces team, going in to rescue an informant, attempting to insert a virus into a base’s computer, or trying to escape from enemy patrols. The locales are cold, rocky, and sometimes green. This goes along with the plot, but the levels do take on a certain feeling of sameness after a while. In the end, the annoying lack of a savegame option, coupled with a limited though hyper-aware AI, will make IGI more annoying than fun at times.
System Requirements: Pentium II 300 MHz, 64 MB RAM, 500 MB HDD, Win95