LONG ago some bright misguided spark hit on the idea of demanding things with menaces. Clearly this must have gone through some evolutionary problems, because demanding a ransom for a mother-
After a while the captors got so sick of being grilled on whether they had a clean handkerchief that they gave themselves up voluntarily.
Hostages is not so trivial. Here we have a meticulous reinaction of a siege situation. Designed with the aid of the French National Gendarmerie, it has three basic stages - deployment, entrance and neutralisation. That last one sounds pretty ominous.
Terrorists of unknown persuasion have taken hostages in an embassy. You, as the team leader, must arrange the deployment of six specialists - three marksmen and three Direct Intervention Combat (DIC) soldiers.
Your team of three marksmen must take up places which will provide covering fire for the DIC men. These positions are given on a map, which also shows where the mean are currently stationed.
Positioning the men entails running along the street past the embassy, dodging into doorways to avoid the terrorists' searchlights. A digitised "Aargh!" followed by your man falling over is a sure sign that you need some more practice.
If one or more of the team gets shot by the terrorists the game goes on, but with a greater risk of failure since the DIC men need all the backup they can get.
Once dropped off by helicopter, the commandos abseil down the building to gain entry through a window. The marksmen can provide cover at this point - a terrorist could be lurking in the same room. More digitised "Aargh!"s either mean that there was indeed a terrorist in the room, or that you have run out of rope while abseiling.
Once inside - more digitised bangs and crashes - the hostages must be taken to the sfe room in the embassy, and any extant terrorists must be remedied with your Walther PPK. Being devious types, the terrorists often hide behind hostages, making your job a little more interesting.
The embassy has three storeys, each with the possibility of hostages and terrorists. Movement is like an updated 3D maze game, with the corridors moving in byte-
The action sequences proceed in a series of freeze-
Any hostages found immediately latch on to you. They will follow wherever you go, so it is important to clear out the third storey quickly - that's where the safe room is.
Any number of DIC men can be in the building at once, all at different places. The action can be switched quickly between them, allowing them to eliminate the terrorists on all levels. Once you have either run out of DIC men or terrorists, the game finishes with either a derogatory or complimentary newspaper report.
Hostages creates an air of tension unlikely any other action game I've seen. The graphics, although competent, are fairly drab and show a definite ST ancestry. The sound is very well executed; small incidental tunes being variations on a theme, all popping up at the right moments to add to or defuse the situation.
The only real problem is the length of time spent staring at a blank screen waiting for another section to load in. Surely it would not have been too difficult to give some kind of display?
The plethora of playing levels however, along with the suspense, will keep Hostages a much-