This game did for modern first-person shooters what Thief did for fantasy roleplaying games. Stealth is the key, not shooting anything that moves, and the missions reward good use of terrain, shadows, and cover. Sneaking up behind a guard and knocking him out, then sticking his unconscious body under a dark staircase is so much more satisfying than even the best long-range headshot.

Single-player missions are tense and challenging. Supposedly, it is possible to get through the game without shooting anyone, but I haven’t been able to do it. A number of special moves are available that allow excellent use of terrain and cover. Sneaking along walls, mantling up onto ledges, shimmying down pipes, and shooting while rappelling or hanging are all options.

In multiplayer, the game runs a bit differently, as one team plays the heavily-armed mercenary guards looking for intruders while the other plays the stealthy infiltrators. The spies are unarmed, since that would make them practically invulnerable. The guards’ main job is to try to find them, then to kill them before they can complete their missions. It’s a different type of multiplayer game from typical fragfests – the slower pace heightens the tension and emphasizes the occasional combats.

The numbers:

  • Historical Authenticity: 3 out of 10
  • Graphical Realism: 8 out of 10
  • Audio Realism: 9 out of 10
  • User Interface: 9 out of 10
  • Tactical Gameplay: 10 out of 10
  • Mission Design: 9 out of 10
  • Mission Replayability: 8 out of 10
  • Single-Player: 9 out of 10
  • Multiplayer: 6 out of 10
  • AI: 8 out of 10

Overall: 79 out of 100 – A fantastic game, well worth the few dollars it now costs in the used game bin.

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