Rogue Trooper

Format: PS2

5 021290 025257
Age Restrictions: 16+
21 April 2006

On the war-torn, poisoned atmosphere of Nu Earth, Rogue Trooper is a genetic infantryman, one of an elite squad of biologically-engineered clone troops, created to overcome the planet's hostile atmosphere, unhindered in their fight against the enemy, the Nort Republic. After witnessing the betrayal and annihilation of his squad at the Quartz Zone Massacre, Rogue has gone A.W.O.L., determined to hunt down the traitor who sent his brothers-in-arms to their deaths...

I want to start of by stating that I am an old 2000AD fan. I used to subscribe to it in the '80s. One of my favourite strips was Rogue Trooper, so I was a little apprehensive about reviewing this game. Usually a game based on an already established franchise (be that movie, TV series or comic strip) is an almost guaranteed turn off for most gamers. And who can blame them? We've all been badly burnt in the past.

However, I'm happy to report that this is certainly not the case with Rogue Trooper. In fact, like the Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs. Death console game, Rogue Trooper will actually please fans of the blue genetic infantryman. Hats off to Rebellion for once again ensuring that 2000AD fans are not left feeling cheated.

Those familiar with the strip will be interested to hear that you start the game without your trademark bio-chip friends. As the game opens you and your squadron are sent into the Quartz Zone. As you progress through the level your team is slowly butchered. All Rogue can do is remove their bio-chips and place them in his gun, helmet and pack back, until he can get them home and into new genetically engineered bodies.

You soon discover that your troop was betrayed by one of your own generals. As the only survivor, you go A.W.O.L, vowing to hunt down the traitor general and bring him to justice. Helping you are the digitised souls of former brothers-in-arms Gunnar (situated in Rogue's gun), Helm (in Rogue's helmet), and Bagman (in Rogue's backpack).

The opening level is used as a training tool to get you up to speed with the controls (which are complex, but once mastered are easy to use) as well as the back story to the character. You have an impressive range of weapons at your disposal. When you acquire the Gunnar bio-chip, he makes it a little easier to target your enemy. And in addition you can put him down and have him fire at anything that comes within range (while you sneak away and pick other enemies off that are distracted by Gunnar's firing).

When you collect the Bagman bio-chip you can then set him to work designing new weapons to use against your enemies, as well as manufacturing more ammo and provisions to restock your dwindling supplies. However, you'll need to keep a look out for machine parts in order to ensure that Bagman has enough material to do his job (you can also collect more things for him from dead enemies and comrades).

Your final member is Helm. He is an electronics expert and is equipped to bypass most locks and computer systems. You can also get him to cause a distraction to your enemies while you creep up behind them.

Armed with the latest experimental weapons, Rogue's arsenal offers him a critical advantage over his opponents. The game is a mix of intense 3rd person action and next generation stealth elements, with complex line-of-sight A.I. multiple game paths, full tactical use of your bio-chip operated equipment and both single- and multiplayer online gameplay.

The A.I. is worth mentioning too. The intelligence of your enemies is pretty damn hot. If they hear you sneaking around rest assured that you better find a quick hiding place, because they won't miss you if you are in their line of site. Although, they do stand around stupidly, instead of ducking for cover, if you decide to pick them off with your sniper rifle.

You can duck behind any walls for cover, and once there can either peak around (or over the top) and send out a controlled burst of fire, or just poke your gun out and fire off a few rounds blind - which occasionally will have the desired effect of killing the enemy. Also, when attacking the larger enemies that are encased in metal robot like suits, you can stun them with a special grenade and then run up to them and jump on their back (instead of spending ages using up valuable ammo) and instantly kill them. Other enemies can also be killed with hand to hand combat, or you can shoot their gas filled back packs and then watch them explode.

Another element that makes this game so impressive is the fact that the obvious path is not always the one you should take. Before you rush in, have a bit of a scout around. You may find an easier path that will take you into the enemies ranks and allow you to use their own heavy artillery guns against them.

If you always avoid games based on already established franchises, this is the game that will change how you think. Fun, addictive and visually impressive, this is a belter of a game. More action than you'll know what to do with. Go on! Be a trooper, give this a go.

Nick Smithson

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