Previews

Parabellum

Counter-Strike with a Latin flair

Si vis pacem, para bellum. No, don't panic, we haven't gone all Latin. It actually means 'If you seek peace, prepare for war!' and it's the phrase around which fledgling developer Acony is building its strategic online team-based shooter Parabellum. Oh and if there are any gun nuts among you, yes, we know - the title is also the name of a type of gun and cartridge.

Anyway, back to the game, which sees top US anti-terrorist squad Delta attempting to foil a dastardly terrorist organisation called Black November (December, January and February had already been registered by rival rogue factions) from detonating a 20-Megaton nuclear warheard in central New York. Bearing more than a passing resemblence to hit Xbox and PC online shooter Counter-Strike, Parabellum attempts to take the mission-based template of Valve's online masterpiece and inject a new slant into the proceedings. How? By providing you with a dynamic online campaign formed from 12 distinct regions of New York, including skyscrapers, backyards, residential areas and subways - that's how.

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After each section is completed, Delta team players will be able to vote which sector to move into next in an ongoing attempt to locate the nuclear device before its constantly ticking timer reaches zero. As a riposte, members of Black November will have the option to vote for levels in which to set up ambushes, giving them a few seconds start to get into position.

Certain sectors will also provide strategic benefits, by allowing teams to call in mortar strikes and helicopter backup to aid their respective causes. We managed to sample a few levels and the slick, action-rammed gameplay, backed up by some stunning Unreal Engine 3-powered visuals and an arsenal of meaty weapons with numerous modifications, got us all watery under the arms with excitement.

With no official word as yet about Counter-Strike making an appearance on Xbox 360, Parabellum may just prove to be the strategic online shooter tonic we've all been waiting for.

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