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The Sniper 2

Well bugger me. The PS2 has been out now for what, around 4 years? And how many times have we said, “What the hell is this game doing on a next gen console”? Add another mark for The Sniper 2 please. There’s no point in wasting a whole page for the introduction, so lets just cut to the chase. This game is crapper than you could ever think, so don’t bother wasting a tenner on it like I did. And that’s no fanboy assumption either.

From the word go you know this is a bad idea, as clicking around the menu screens is like dragging a tanker on the end of a chain strapped to your neck. This might come over as a niggle, but when you just want to go into options and it takes you 5 seconds to get there rather than the usual 0.3 of every other title you get a tad annoyed. Even angrier do you become when you realise that the options menu consists of vibration on or off, stereo or mono sound and a music test. So much for an invert D-pad, which I’ll come to later. Clicking back to the main screen, which produces a noise rather like a cat having its face stepped on, presents you with Story Mode and Training.

Selecting the former, this is where the beauty of TS2 lies. As with most story-driven games you have to give a background account of what happened to the characters in the past, but this is meant to be gripping and interesting, not an incentive to hammer the buttons of the controller in vain to make them skip to the action, of what little there is. The FMV sequences have been taken from the original game, which was thankfully never given a release outside of the land of the rising sun. And whilst many would argue this is the way history should be, the graphics are just plain awful! Four years ago this would have been an insult to the PSOne, and to make the experience even more shocking they’ve planted a dirty white line the width of the screen to run along to make things seem as if this was an old reel of film! It’s hard to see exactly what is going on, which surely must be the reason D3 put in subtitles to give you a clue as to what all the rambling is about.

After that malarkey is out of the way, we come to the Holy Grail of FMV sequences that makes Emmerdale (below average UK soap) look like NYPD Blue. Resembling more of an unfinished title’s demo rather than the polished version, the graphics really are plain and below par. By that I mean no facial expressions, lack of movement and laughable dialogue which could have been made better had the development team made the scenes with Barbie dolls rather than computer models. Your character, Harry C. Spencer, talks like one of those actors on a no-budget channel 5 movie that takes himself far too seriously. In a low deep voice with no change of tone, it had me in stitches. Not from laughing, but from how close I was from punching the TV screen when realising what an idiot I had been to buy this heap of junk. His friend, CA, talks like a mental person trying to convince ‘those people in white’ coats to take off the straight jacket, and uses rapid eye movement instead of moving her neck when talking. And finally we come to Stanley, the ultra-cool black guy who, like his two friends, can barely move his neck and his lips move no wider than 1 centimetre. It’s as if Steven Hawkins had two twin brothers just like him and all three were starring in a film. Scary.

And just as this sequence is over, you have to sit through another load of bad acting and poorly designed backdrops. This reminded me of Big Mutha Truckers with the way every location looked to be in the middle of no-where, despite the first level taking place in the industrial suburbs in a big city. There are our three-some, having a drink at a burger van and getting to know eachother (Hawkins style) when some bad guys turn up and start shooting. Bending over like a gay man waiting for sexual pleasure, they proceed to walk away from the gunfire and behind a table made from crate wood. As they murmur away a plan, the shots from the guns of these Mafia-type guys sound like blasters from Star Wars, letting off a loud BEEYOO instead of the usual BANG. As the two guys piss around talking, CA has wandered off about a mile away from the scene and got stuck behind a dumpster whilst a big bad Mafia guy stands 30 feet away shooting his gun, without the knowledge that moving towards and around the side of the dumpster would result in the kill that he craves. At this moment, you eventually break free from the FMV and get into the action.

Having the option of shooting from two pre-set positions on the level means you end up in exactly the same place, which makes that feature redundant. Now all you do is face the direction of the threat, bring up your scope, zoom in, and move up instead of down because you forgot that you couldn’t have an invert axis. Line up your sight for the chest of the target and squeeze R2 to let off a round blob of yellow stuff that is supposed to be a bullet. The game freezes and 5 seconds later the target holds the wound, spins around twice and falls to the ground. You then learn that a kill is only established by shooting a target in the head, meaning you have to restart (but thankfully get to skip the FMVs) and line up your shot again. This time you kill the baddie, and after the screen that pops up displaying ‘HIT’, you gather that you have to have the reflexes of a badger to get a kill in a quicker time. Well give me an invert axis and I’ll do it, pillock.

That is the premise of The Sniper 2. Sit through more dialogue than MGS2 dares to offer, learn that the option of choosing a position in the level is useless and take a few seconds to shoot a bad guy. That’s it. No more, and certainly no less. But wait, there’s a training mode too. Yeah, that consists of exactly the same levels minus the comedy acting in between.

This isn’t a deliberately short review of a game that I obviously hate. This is a full, attention to detail look at what this pile of trash has to offer. Unbelievably poor graphics (surely clipping and entire objects disappearing was a thing of the past?), dire gameplay (of which there is very little, which may be a plus point as well as a down one), shocking acting and absolutely no pull to go back again after the power has been switched off makes The Sniper 2 the worst game I have ever played. Unbelievably poor, shocking and dire.

1 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in June 2002.

Gentle persuasion

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