Cold War

A different slant on the snooping genre with some well-executed shadow-hopping and you can't go far wrong

Okay, so it may be a little late in the offering, especially as the sneak 'em-up genre is somewhat monopolised by Mr Clancy these days, but Cold War is a valiant, if somewhat flawed stab at 'the sneak'.

If anything else, it's a solid, pleasingly old school storyline - it is the 1980s, and you are freelance journalist Matt Carter. Twelve hours after arriving in Moscow on a routine assignment, you get beaten up and chucked in jail - from there, you have to escape and uncover the evil conspiracy to take over the Soviet Union before it's... too late!

The most compelling thing about the game is that you're asked to believe in a character with very little training or skill, a trait that stands Cold War apart from Splinter Cell and its slew of awful wannabes. The fact that your character is pretty useless at the beginning means you've got to rely not only on pure stealth, but on makeshift weapons and environmental props. Rather than falling back on SOCOMS and tranquillisers you have to use a well-aimed catapult shot then rummage through a guard's possessions in the hope of finding a piece of rope or sedative to finish the job. It makes the game fraught with danger (only the patient need apply), but thankfully both visually and control-wise, Cold War copes well. We'd have liked to see a little more speed when darting from cover to cover, and a little less in the way of clichés (how many times can you be expected to avoid trip-lasers or hide bodies in bushes?), but the inclusion of the natty X-Ray camera makes spotting bad guys a doddle, and seeing concealed weapons on them even easier.


We weren't sure about Cold War at first, and it's fair to say there's spectacularly little that's actually new in the game, but for a different slant on the snooping genre and some well-executed shadow-hopping, you can't go far wrong.

The verdict

A little stale around the crusts, but on the whole, a taut, nasty little exercise in patient stealth gaming.

Dreamcatcher Interactive