by Virgin Interactive
The lads at GSC certainly have been working their socks off. Not content with having created the superb Cossacks and progressing with its soon to arrive data disk, they have also managed to create a stealth shoot 'em up game as well. Will their journey into FPS territory be as hugely successful as their one into the strategy genre? Let's take a look at Codename Outbreak.
The story behind the game is one of an unusual alien invasion. A comet narrowly missed the earth but nevertheless it scorched the earth's atmosphere causing hundreds of meteorites. The meteorites brought alien spores with them. These spores hatched into parasite organisms and these attached themselves to as many humans (on the back of the human's heads) as they could. The infected humans became out of control and as a result have to treated as enemies.
You are part of an S.A.S. type operation that has to eliminate these alien parasites. Unlike most FPS games you can choose a partner to accompany you on your mission. Some missions also enable you to choose whether you perform them at night or in the day. The nature of the missions vary but it has to said that missions that require you to collect information are usually tedious as you comb the entire map for a disk or some other object.
The game has multiple difficulty settings but even on easy you will find the game difficult in later missions. The enemy soldiers have the ability to hit you with every shot (and they do) and in instances when you cannot see the enemy you are often a sitting duck. Your partner can be controlled somewhat by simple commands that are bound to a handful of hotkeys. Mostly it is fairly easy to control your partner but on some occasions he tends to dash in and spoil your sneak attack.
Graphically the game is OK with the immediate surroundings being nice and sharp whilst the terrain in the distance blurs a little (to lessen the stress on the CPU). Some of the textures used in the game are of a very high quality such as the rust on the lookout towers. The water effects have been nicely done too but this is balanced against rather pointy looking mountains and other terrain. It is also a major plus that some missions have the graphics prepared to allow you to attack at either night or day. How many FPS games include this option?
How does Codename Outbreak shape up for the deaf gamer then? Well it's not too bad really would have to be the answer. The introduction is not subtitled. The verbal introductions to missions are not subtitled and some character conversation (although mostly trivial) are not subtitled. The mission objectives are subtitled as is any mid-level information you receive from your HQ. The game is not too bad for the deaf gamer but in some situations it will put you at a disadvantage. An example of this is the approach of enemies. Some times you will receive a message from HQ that there are enemies ahead of your current location and this message will be subtitled but on other occasions music will play to signify an enemy encounter and there is no indication of this for deaf gamers.
If you are a FPS nut then you'll probably get something from Codename Outbreak. It tries to be a cross between Project IGI and Rainbow Six but it's difficulty and lack of subtitles, for some verbal messages, make it an awkward customer to get along with.
Overall Game Rating: 6.4/10 An FPS game that is not for beginners.
Quality of text: 5.5/10 Good in parts, bad in others.
Graphics: 7/10 As good as most FPS games.
Interface:7/10 The usual FPS interface.
Gameplay:6/10 Very difficult at times.