Take No Prisoners is a refreshing 3D shooter that takes an interesting perspective on the genre – both literally and figuratively. True to their reputation as one of the most innovative action game companies today, Raven Software produces in Take No Prisoners a great mix of action, adventure, and even a little bit of strategy, all served with a cool post-apocalyptic plot. As the game begins, you learn that nuclear warheads and radioactive fallout have transformed San Antonio, Texas, into an irradiated hellhole, full of mutants not unlike the denizens of Wasteland. You play Slade, veteran mercenary who has been recruited by The Man to infiltrate a mysterious, center-city dome. Once inside, the goal is to retrieve a special crystal and come back alive. |
The most striking feature that sets the game apart is the perspective: all of the action in Take No Prisoners is viewed from an overhead floating camera, which follows your movement. While at first glance the game may appear to be little more than a bird's eye view version of Quake, there's a good deal of depth below the surface. Similar to Looking Glass' classic System Shock, the storyline progresses when you read personal logfiles stored on computers, and solve a few physical puzzles that are more intelligent than standard key hunts. As you go further, you travel between areas (totalling over twenty) in various vehicles, similar to the areas in Strife.
Graphics are appropriately dark and moody, and the controls very responsive. A 3D accelerator will jack up the game's the frame rate while adding (obviously) much more graphical detail, although it looks great even without one. Internet play has been implemented via the RedOrb Zone interface (which, as of this writing, has been discontinued). The game features over twenty different weapons, including assault rifles, pulse cannons, laser rifles, molotov cocktails, grenades, flame throwers, and many more. Controls are customizable, fighting is simple enough to master, but managing your other devices takes a little getting used to. Your character comes equipped with a PDD, a Personal Data Device that contains mission data, and anything else you can download into it. It's a great way to collect maps, security codes, notes, and any other useful information you run across. The top-down perspective works very well, and makes it easy to plan attack and defense strategies.
Though it has its problems here and there (mostly regarding sluggish frame rates and uninspired multiplayer options – both of which are now moot, with today's fast computers and the demise of RedOrb Zone), Take No Prisoners is different enough – and fun enough – to warrant a look by all action fans. It may not be the end-all of blast fests, but is still a welcome departure from scores of Quake clones, and offers a good and solid ride while it lasts. Two thumbs up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs