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Industrial Spy: Operation Espionage
Platform:  Dreamcast
# of Players:  1
Developer:  UFO Interactive
Publisher:  NEC
Features:  VMU Compatible
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
From the moment that you pop this game into your Sega Dreamcast console, you get the feeling that it’s not your normal action-packed adventure game. I was expecting something more along the lines of a “Resident Evil” clone or a classic street-rage all-out fighting game. But, it turns out that the people at NEC created a totally new type of game.

The object of the game is to assemble a team of spies to complete missions for clients in order to make money. You must control a team of one to four spies at a time. Each spy has their very one skills. Once you complete a mission, you can improve on their skills through an AP point system, allowing you to give a spy skills they might not have had previously. The faster you complete your mission, the more AP points and money you gain from your clientele.

As for the story, the year is 2000 and the world has been overcome by corporations creating a new world alliance. Power depends on information and international secrets. You belong to a specialized organization of espionage agents. This all takes place on the world of Blitzstrahl, and you have seven agents. These agents are Archangel, a gifted child with skills of hacking, but very weak in combat; Ling, a young Chinese woman with strong skills in lock picking and evasion; Rocket, with extreme speed and stealth; Vlagimir, with the knowledge to diffuse bombs and the strength to pound through walls; Kleopatra, a young Egyptian girl who has the power of hypnosis; Saunders, the all-around American Hero (Go-Joe!); Falloux, who specializes in special weapons like knock-out gas and tear gas; and lastly, Ms. Remmy Evans, who supplies all the other seven agents with information about the mission, maps and incoming calls, kind of like your “I-Spy” receptionist.

At the beginning of each mission, you select your agents and then gather information about the objectives and dangers. If you select the wrong agents, you will be unable to complete the mission, due to lack of skills needed. For instance, if a mission highly relies on diffusing a bomb within a certain amount of time, and you do not pick Vlagimir, you will be unable to complete your goal and you will kill all your agents, causing a “game over.” Foresight is a key player in the game. Without foresight of what you might need in the mission, you are most likely to fail.

Game play. The game is based on a real time engine, but you can not move your characters manually. You must bark orders at them to tell them where to go and what to do, and simultaneously control all spies on the board at the same time. The game resembles the early 90’s release of “Mission Impossible” for Nintendo. If an agent dies, the mission is over. If time runs out, the mission is over. This game is more of a managing game or puzzle than an action game. You can not shoot your enemies; you kick them or knock them into a wall. You may also have to go against rival spies and missions to reach a similar goal.

Graphically, the game does appear to be better than most Playstation games and does appear to be very clean and crisp. But, the character models of enemies and environment is very blocky, with very little depth, mostly running around from one room to another. There are no frills here, it’s very direct and to the point. Clean, quick and over. As for sound, the game has a nice clean sound-track; not too upbeat, but not too mellow that that it would put you to sleep. And the sound effects, well, they’re there. They didn’t impress me, not turn me off.

Overall, I would say this is a good Dreamcast game for people who enjoy the idea of managing your own swat team and effectively reaching your goals. I would not recommend this game to someone looking for the next “resident evil” or “Corridor Crawl.” I am very impressed with the game but I don’t think I’ll be playing it for a long time to come, due to the extreme difficulty and frustration it causes.

Jesse Labrocca

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