"Spec Ops: Stealth Patrol isn't exactly one of the more highly-rated titles to have hit the Playstation. It (and it's sequels) in fact are generally thought of as being downright bad. And I'm not afraid to say that when this game was first popped into my grey box and played, I thought the same thing. I soon changed my mind, though, and here I'll try to explain why. "
Spec Ops: Stealth Patrol isn't exactly one of the more highly-rated titles to have hit the Playstation. It (and it's sequels) in fact are generally thought of as being downright bad. And I'm not afraid to say that when this game was first popped into my grey box and played, I thought the same thing. I soon changed my mind, though, and here I'll try to explain why.
The game features a squad of five members of the Ranger Elite undertaking several missions that general involve shooting and blowing things up. You control two of these rangers per mission, switching between them at the touch of a button. If one dies, he's gone for the whole game. It's similar to Commandos for the PC, only from a Tomb Raideresque behind the character viewpoint. Before each mission you select your two soldiers, equip them (keeping an eye on the gauge that shows how much weight they can handle), and read the mission briefing. Preparing for a mission takes up to five minutes play time. Getting killed takes less than two. You see, this game is difficult. Very difficult, even. The fact that missions generally take place at night means that enemies can sneak up on you quite easily, and when you have two separate characters to keep an eye on this makes proceedings very slow - you'll need to quit the game each time a character dies, otherwise when you restart the mission the dead soldier is gone for good. Although the finality of death makes the game quite authentic, the fact that it is so difficult FROM THE VERY FIRST LEVEL means that many gamers won't even last long enough to create a save file for this game! However, I'm a stubborn man, and I was determined to make my way through this game. I don't mind admitting that I have yet to see the end credits of this game, but I'm at least halfway there, and each mission I complete gives me such a sense of satisfaction in the knowledge that hours, perhaps even days of planning has gone to good use. You see, after dying yet AGAIN on level one (which it turns out is actually quite gentle compared to later missions) I decided to really get to the heart of things to get through this game. So I spent about half an hour exploring every hidden depth of the level, and making a map while I did so, pointing out where I met enemies, where my targets were etc. Then I turned my Playstation off, and started to form a plan. It is a rare occasion for a game to require you to do homework (in fact this is the only game that I have had to put in more effort and time without the game turned on than with!), but this helped me to enjoy the game more. As I mentioned before - the satisfaction of beating a level is enormous.
The graphics in this game are really quite shoddy. The game has been out for roughly eighteen months, but it looks like it could have been a launch title (although the fact that in many stores this game is at a budget price should be an indication that it isn't going to rival Final Fantasy IX in the looks department). Sounds too are little above adequate, the usual bangs and cries, with nothing to really make you take notice. However, this game seems to be directed at a different crowd than those who favour presentation over gameplay, so this isn't really much of a complaint - if you like the game then the graphics won't matter, and if you don't then it'll be for more reasons than just the presentation!
Ultimately, I imagine that the majority of you will hate this game due to the level of extracurricular commitment required, but if, like me, you're ready to push yourself that little bit further, then I suggest you join the Ranger Elite as soon as possible.
Community review by tomclark (March 06, 2004)
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