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Cold War - Preview PC CD-ROM

Published by Dreamcatcher
Developed by Mindware Studios
Release Date: 21st October 2005

Cold War is a Splinter Cell style action/stealth game set (as the title suggests) during the Cold War where you play as Matt Carter, a freelance journalist who on arriving in the USSR to investigate a conspiracy, becomes unwittingly entangled in it. Framed by the KGB, he is wrongly labelled as an assassin and thrown into the KGB prison. Carter manages to escape the prison but he still needs to figure out exactly what's going on. Using only the weapons he can get his hands on and improvised gadgets that he creates it's going to be a tough task to say the least, especially as he's now branded as an assassin.

The big difference between Cold War and titles such as Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid is that Carter isn't a trained killer. He doesn't have the expertise of Sam Fisher or Solid Snake and as such it's not in his nature to kill enemies that get in his way. Carter may not be a trained killer but he's certainly very good at inventing gadgets to get him out of a tight spot. Throughout the game you'll find blueprints that will enable you to create more sophisticated items. Early on in the game for instance he creates some rubber bullets to temporarily take out a guard instead of simply shooting him dead. Of course this more subtle approach calls for a heavy reliance on stealth and you'll be sneaking around quite a lot in Cold War and for most of the time not actually killing anyone. Carter doesn't have the agility of Snake or Fisher, so he'll have to rely more on cunning than fancy moves. Of course Carter has his creativity to help him out with this and his x-ray camera which proves to be very useful.

The controls in Cold War will be familiar to anyone who has played this kind of game before. You can move Carter using the traditional 'WASD' keys. Holding the shift key down will make him crouch whilst pressing the caps lock key will toggle the crouch on or off. The mouse wheel controls your speed of movement whilst actions are performed by holding down the right mouse button, scrolling to the preferred option and then releasing the right mouse button. The tab key shows a map that, in our version at least, shows the location of key items and enemies. All in all we have no complaints with the control system.

Graphically Cold War is looking good. The game doesn't quite match Splinter Cell in terms of how good it looks (at least not in our preview build) but it's certainly good enough. The game plays from a third person perspective, just like Splinter Cell, which is absolutely fine. Animations appear to need a bit of work in the version we played and we hope they are improved in the final version of the game. The game contains several real Russian locations such as Lenin's Mausoleum, Chernobyl and the Lubyanka prison that belonged to the KGB, which adds some authenticity to the atmosphere. The cutscenes in the game are comic book in style and actually work quite well.

Cold War seems like it will be OK for deaf gamers. The cutscenes in the preview version weren't subtitled but that was the only real problem. Tutorial messages and important in-game dialogue are subtitled with text being clear and easy to read. Comments that your enemies make when in close proximity to you (that are not essentially part of the plot) are not subtitled though. In the first mission when you sneak upon the guard, he will make comments such as 'What's that noise?' and 'I can hear something.' and these kind of comments would be very useful to subtitle.

All things considered, Cold War is looking promising and is a slight departure from the usual stealth/action games that we're used to seeing. There's only a few weeks to go now before the game is released and we're hoping that the rough edges in this preview version are ironed out along with the unsubtitled areas being subtitled for the finished version.