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Rogue Ops: Phoenix Unleashed (Hands On) (GameCube) Preview

Rocked from normality by an explosion that claimed her daughter and husband, ex-Green Beret Nikki Conners exploits her military training and her new role as leading lady in a covert government agency to further her personal quest for vengeance. After receiving two years of gruelling instruction, she is unleashed upon Omega 19, a terrorist organization recognized as the most ominous in the world. With a host of engaging missions, Rogue Ops tests your ability as Nikki to survive in any situation as you work with team members and fight enemies throughout intense gameplay!

That was the official company line that filled our ears when we pulled up to enjoy a demonstration of this very promising looking title.

You the player takes control of the very chest-heavy (yes, she has large breasts) Nikki who is, rather unsurprisingly: ex-military, damaged by loss of family and in search of the truth type person. However, it is not the plot in this game that is of great importance, and when we got to see it being played we were much more impressed.

Stealth is the key word, and pulling of snazzy moved is what you will have to master if you are to become good at this game. If you get detected it is good as game over, to you have to creep about breaking necks and knocking people out like it is going out of fashion. Creeping up behind one of the guards you are given the option to do some severe damage, breaking his arm and neck like matchsticks a approving 'oooh' rose from the assembled crowd as the demonstrator added jokily 'Why kill them once when you can do it three times?'

Screenshot for Rogue Ops: Phoenix Unleashed (Hands On) on GameCube

This is very much moving on from the stealth games of today, everything is so much better than you are used it, and perhaps the most ingenious thing is enemy AI, they are very clever. Shoot a body this time, not only do you have to make sure nobody else is about, but you also have to hide the body fast before someone comes to check what is up, but you also have to take into account where you shoot them to avoid blood pooling onto the floor, if another guard notices this, they will alert everyone and you only have one option, death, or run about like an idiot until you die.

As all stealth games should be Rogue Ops has a fair emphasis on technology. You can dig out a retina scanner, V.I.S.E.R, fly cam (this one is genius and very useful for getting a good look ahead of you), thermal optical camouflage, adrenaline boost, communication system and grapple hook (the animation on which is lovely). However you can't just go using things willy-nilly, most are powered by batteries, and as we all know these have a habit of running out, adding to the strategy and 'make me think' aspect of the game.

Screenshot for Rogue Ops: Phoenix Unleashed (Hands On) on GameCube

The game takes place in a fictional world slightly more advanced than ours. One part that we liked very much were her goggles. These allow Nikki to see through walls and see people as well as laser grids and underground power lines. As an added bit of graphical flair when you look at people you see everything in green and heat trails ripple off character outlines.

Screenshot for Rogue Ops: Phoenix Unleashed (Hands On) on GameCube

Weapons wise it is all very impressive. We were shown a vast arsenal of weaponry. Nikki's weapons include pistol, shocker, sniper rifle, crossbow, shuriken, smoke bomb, frag grenade, jamming grenade, remote proximity and mine. And in keeping with the way the game works, you have to really think about what weapons you use in which situation. Using a frag grenade in a heavily guarded area that you have to quietly infiltrate is not a good idea at all.

Graphics wise it is all very accomplished. Some very smart animations accompany neck-breaking moves. Shadows and lighting might not be such a major part as they are in Splinter Cell but this game uses different methods to make you feel all sneaky.

Screenshot for Rogue Ops: Phoenix Unleashed (Hands On) on GameCube

Worth waiting for?

Finally, this game has a very pleasing emphasis on choice. Even though it is meant to all be about stealth, you can simply have it as an all guns blazing affair, so long as you don't muck it up. On the other hand you can pick people off one by one with a killing-stick, or tip-toe about breaking their necks. We came away very excited about this games prospects, and it is more certainly one to look out for...

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i've been having problems getting in since monday. tonight seems to be really bad for some reason, took me about 10mins and several hundred refreshs to get in.

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We'll be back and running full steam soon enough! :Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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