Central Intelligence is a detailed role-playing game covering revolution in South America. Despite the great espionage / strategy premise, the game is marred by a very "dry" presentation. |
The game is set in the Caribbeans. A fictional island of Sao Madrigal, near the coast of Brazil, has fallen under the control of a fascist dictator following a bloody military coup. Recent discoveries made the island the area's largest producer of oil and chemical products. After the coup, all western assets were seized and any agreements revoked; the new president denounced western involvement as imperialism, and is currently negotiating new trade agreements with China, who are believed to have aided the new president in the coup. An overt operation to restore democracy and to recover our interests is politically dangerous as the new president seems to be enjoying a lot of public support for standing up to the west. An undercover operation has been sanctioned to remove the new military junta from power. In this we will be working with the leader of the previous democratic government who is currently trying to coordinate and raise support for a counter revolution. You may use propaganda, political or direct military action to bring this about - you will have to decide the most suitable approach in relation to developing conditions. Public support for the democratic faction will be vital if the opposition leader is to succeed.
Gameplay will be familiar to fans of Mike Singleton's early espionage classics Midwinter and Ashes of Empire, except that it's not a mixture of cross-genre elements, but a straightforward strategy game in the vein of Shadow President. Your main tasks are to recruit spies, allocate them in strategic locations across the island, and give them both subversive (propaganda) and politically correct (e.g. diplomacy) orders. Although you can plan military invasions, they are not central to winning the game, and only serve as an added option.
Despite the great premise and a variety of options, Central Intelligence unfortunately is a lesson in wasted potential Full of mostly static screens filled with rows after rows of statistics, Central Intelligence, is strictly for those who like stats-based, slow-paced gaming. Action screens, such as those in Paragon's classic Twilight 2000 and Sid Meier's Covert Action are few and far between, and reading about the outcome of your orders as opposed to seeing it happen makes a big difference in fun factor. The game would definitely not win new fans of espionage games, although anyone who can look past this weakness to the deeper gameplay itself will find it a pleasant surprise lurking underneath. Good concept, poor execution.
Reviewed by: Underdogs