Format: PC, PS2, Xbox (reviewed)
For those who think Rogue Trooper is just a cheesy action game title, I will take this opportunity to correct you. Rogue Trooper is in fact the legendary star of a series from British comic 2000AD (probably most famous for the Mega-City One lawman Judge Dredd).
For those of you unfamiliar with our favourite 2000AD renegade hero, you are Rogue Trooper; a G.I. (Genetic Infantryman) part of a genetically bred super-soldier program to turn the war that has ravaged Nu Earth. Long war between the Norts and the Southers has reduced the previously picturesque planet to an uninhabitable nightmare. Continual bombardment with weapons of mass destruction in every form from chemical to bacterial has made the planet completely toxic to humans. The only reason that humans still attempt to eke out an existence and the reason the war still continues is that Nu Earth is close to vital wormhole, a rift in the fabric of space that allows travel from that point to almost any other, thus making inter-stellar travel possible.
The GI’s are genetically designed to be perfect soldier, perfectly honed fighting machines designed to not only survive in the hostile NuEarth environment, but in fact to thrive in it.
Your tampered genes give the GI’s 2 major advantages over the enemy; the first is your imperviousness to the chemical saturated air which, despite leaving your skin with a blue tone, allows you to be outside without a chemical suit and breathing apparatus. This allows a freedom of movement and improved range of vision that gives you a lethal advantage against your foes. The second ‘something’ is a chip stowed in the cortex of every GI that provides a back-up of the GI’s consciousness, so that in the event of physical death the chip can be retrieved by fellow GI’s and stored in one of three special slots in a GI’s helmet, gun and backpack. The chip can then be inserted into a new body upon return to base.
So now that you have a rather extended knowledge of the basis of Rogue Trooper I can get round to the game itself… On which note I’d like to heave a great sigh of relief as Eidos have seemed to decide to go back to producing good games rather than relying on titles to carry the sales. Rogue Trooper remains true to its comic heritage and is an enjoyable game to play.
The game follows the comic’s storyline, after extensive training the entire GI battalion is finally released on its first mission into quartz canyon, but something goes horribly wrong; the Norts know you’re coming and seem to know your every move. It isn’t long before almost every GI is obliterated, leaving only you and the recovered consciousness of three of your team-mates, Gunnar, Helm and Bagman (no prizes for guess where each is stowed) and each one provides invaluable help to Rogue. Helm provides radar, can hack computer systems and has the ability to create holograms of yourself to distract enemies. Gunnar can help improve accuracy and can be left on his own to act as a sentry whilst Bagman can convert any scraps of material you find lying around, usually salvaged from the corpses of your slain foes and convert it into ammunition, upgrades and other items.
Imagine the scene: You are picking you way through a crater pocked valley are fired upon by an enemy who has just spotted you, you dive sideways out the way and slam into some debris for cover, firing sporadically overhead to subdue your opponent whilst sending out a hologram, courtesy of your friend Helm, providing you the time to lob a grenade into his hidey hole and obliterate him. This example comes to pass as easily as I’ve just described it, with the controls responding as you would expect and really portrays a similar sense to reading the comic.
What impressed me the most was the range of options available to you; there is a good combination of stealth and all out action. The extra options provided by your team mates provide a wide range of assault options from stealth kills, sniping, distraction, trap setting, bombardment or fire-fighting, and the ability to mix and match these tactics to suit every situation is quite unique. However I would recommend starting on one of the higher difficulty levels as otherwise you may find yourself losing interest as you sail through the levels and complete the game in around 6 or 7 hours.
The graphics, whilst not spectacular, are decent and certainly nothing short of what you’d expect from a high profile current-gen game these days. The attention to detail seems to be highly focused on the player models, and the contrast with the often somewhat simplistic world graphics can occasionally be somewhat off-putting, although in general I found that I barely noticed it. The scenarios are quite varied and the palette and design do a good job of conveying the vast destruction that the planet has undergone.
Similarly the audio is nothing below what you’d expect from a game of this calibre and the addition of comments from your incorporeal team-mates, each with their own distinct and quite different personality, adds some witty banter into the mix. Some of the comments made get quite repetitive over time, but should you find that distracting or annoying there is an option to limit the amount of conversation provided by your friends.
There is a multiplayer option provided although it does come across as quite lacking with only 2 modes of play, progressive and stronghold, and a paltry 5 maps available. That said the multiplayer can be a boost of hectic fun if you can find people to play with, otherwise there is also the offline 1 or 2 player mode at your disposal.
All in all this a solid action game and well worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of the comic. Whilst you may not want to play through the game over and over it’s a great one to revisit from time to time for some all guns-blazing fun.