|Publisher: Dreamcatcher Interactive Genre: Adventure & RPG|
|Min OS X: Not Supported CPU: 601 @ 100 MHz RAM: 32 MB Hard Disk: 100 MB 8x CD-ROM Graphics: 640x480 @ 16-bit|
Ever since I was a young boy and my parents made the mistake of letting me watch Moonraker; I have always wanted to be James Bond. What kid could not help but see that suave, debonair hero and not want to emulate that? It was the romance of it all. The cool gadgets and exotic locations were just the tip of the iceberg. I wanted to be embroiled in the midst of an international espionage ring.
Well, now I am getting my chance. Right here in the good oldí USA, I am up to my eyeballs in international intrigue. The very crown jewels of Britain are the target, no less. A high-ranking government official is missing. He is also a suspected defector thought to be after the crown jewels. I have been appointed by the agency to infiltrate the Tower of London, replace the real jewels with replicas containing radio transmitters, and exit the Tower with security none the wiser. Ultimately confident, I ask what the catch is. The catch is that the British government is not aware of this little black op, so I will be arrested, shot, and/or killed if I screw up. What is worse is that the U.S. government will disavow any knowledge of my activities. It is just like Ollie North and the Iran-Contra mess all over again. Well, I am the famous Agent Raven. I never get caught because Iím the best.
My name is Bond, James BondTraitorís Gate is a gate in the fabled Tower of London. The Tower is perhaps the most closely guarded structure in the world. Traitorís Gate is also a cool new game from Daydream Software. According to their web site, the prerendered scenes in the game are taken from thousands of stills taken on a trip to the actual Tower. Their goal was to recreate the Tower as accurately as possible. No, I do not think the Brits allowed them full access to the Tower nor made them privy to the Towerís many security layers, but the guys did do a good job of converting their photos to scenes in the game.
Actually, the graphics in Traitorís Gate are not the caliber of Unreal Tournament or Quake III, but they are good. This is, after all, a strategy, puzzle game in the same vein as Myst or the Journeyman Project games. If you have Myst, Riven, or The Journeyman Project 3, you know what the scenes in the game look like. The introduction scene where Agent Raven gets his instructions is not the best quality, but it does accomplish its task of telling you what you need to do to have a successful mission. Resolution switching does not quite function properly. The game will try to switch resolutions, but then gives you the 640x480 window in the middle of your screen. This is no way to play the game. Now, if you already have your monitor set to that resolution, you should have no problems. Prior to playing, save yourself the trouble by switching the resolution yourself. The manual insists you use Virtual Memory. I played with it on and off. I found no difference in gameplay. I even allocated 48 MB of memory to TG with no noticeable effect. If you have less than or close to the recommended 48 MB of RAM, you must use VM.
The story is much closer to home than rescuing the galaxy and that makes it much more fun to play. By setting the game in a well-known landmark such as the Tower of London, the player can feel a little more connected to the game environment. Granted, the idea of the United States government invading one of the most secure facilities in all of Great Britain without informing the British government is far fetched; however when was the last time you saw a realistic Bond movie? Point being, the experience is immersive. I found myself wishing the footstep sound effects would go away so as not to disturb any of the guards or other Tower employees. Which brings me to another interesting point, there are some non-static non-player characters in the game. You can see Tower guards walking past as you hide in another room. Other guards will wake up if you get too close or disturb them in some way. Many other titlesí characters are still as statues until you interact with them.
Your main source of information is your PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). The PDA has attachments to track time, take digital pictures, examine tools, and keep notes. I recommend you utilize the notes section to keep track of where you find things and reminders to go back to that locked door when you finally find the blasted key that opens it. The pictures that your camera takes are emailed to headquarters for examination. Shortly after you transmit the image, your PDA will buzz to let you know the boys at HQ have determined just what it was you took a picture of. The timer display will keep tack of the elapsed time. Oh, you thought you could stroll through the game? Not so. You are on a strict time budget. Make every minute count. This keeps the tempo of the game moving. There is a lot to see in Traitorís Gate. It is up to you to decide if it is worth your time investigating each room, chest and tunnel.
Other cool gear includes a device for opening combination locks. You will be able to circumvent those pesky security cameras, pick locks, shoot ice darts and cut open locks. Of course, these are not all the tools at your disposal, but you get the idea. When something interesting is about to happen (i.e. you enter the right area, someone is around the corner, or an item for you to grab is close) you will receive an audio cue.