Released after Jagged Alliance, Deadly Games is more appropriately called a "stand-alone add-on" rather than a true sequel to that classic (similar to X-COM 2). The addictive tactical turn-based gameplay remains intact, but Deadly Games is not as compelling as the original due to the lack of an overall plot and strategic elements that made the first game a classic. |
MobyGames' review describes the shortcomings best: "...Unlike the original game, the missions in Deadly Games weren't linked geographically. So you didn't have the "island" view where you could decide which sector of the island your mercs would tackle next. You simply went from one mission to the next, and had no choice of which mission you'd like to take.
The other step backwards was the fact that the missions had turn limits on them. You had to achieve the objective in the prescribed number of turns, which severely curtailed your tactical options. If you are (like me) the kind of player who will leisurely and carefully scout out a sector before initiating combat, the artificial restriction of turn limits will really crimp your style. You won't have the luxury of scouting out the sector thoroughly and cautiously. You'll have to hurry along in order to meet the objective by the deadline."
To be fair, Deadly Games is not just old liquor in a new bottle: Sir-Tech adds quite a lot more variety to gameplay, including new mission types, weapons, multiplayer, and scenario/campaign editors. However, since the strategic element (such as managing the sectors you won and monitoring mercs' personal conflicts and romances) and interesting plot (which was full of surprises) are what make Jagged Alliance a classic, their absence in Deadly Games dulls the experience somewhat. The game often feel like a training ground for the real thing: you just go through mission after mission without a sense of overall purpose. Still, with the same excellent underlying engine as the original and a wider variety of missions, Deadly Games is a must-play for fans of the original. The scenario and campaign editors and multiplayer support (modems or IPX network) make the replayability virtually limitless, and there is plenty of user-created scenarios to keep armchair mercs happy for months on end. Two thumbs up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs