Windows - 1998
Description of Vigilance
It's the not-too-distant future and terrorism reigns in every corner of human existence. Something has to be done. It's time to put an end to these acts of violence. For this purpose, the SION (Special Intelligence Operations Network) is created. A group consisting of eight operatives is chosen for their special skills and abilities to counteract the mushrooming acts of terrorism that seem to be part of a greater conspiracy. (It also seems the operatives are chosen for their bodies, too - see Nicki below!)
Vigilance is a first-person action game like the rest of the genre but with a few twists. First, you can choose your character from the eight available. The SION network includes five men and three women each with their own specialities. Some are better with explosives, some are "tough", some have special sniper skills. For each mission choosing the right operative will help you to meet the goals of the mission. If your character dies before completing a level you'll have to choose another character. Besides looking different, the characters also mutter lines once in a while kind of like Duke Nukem. Unfortunately, the vocabularies of the characters are limited to only a few phrases that get irritating mighty quick. Vigilance also adds a game element of mission objectives. For example, one mission prompts you to find the C4 and the blue key and blow up the satellite.
The graphics are in glorious 3D if you have a hardware accelerator. Otherwise you'll have to resort to software acceleration which is slower. In any case, you'll need a decent machine to run the game full on. My P200 with 32 megs of RAM choked on full screen so I had to play two clicks below full screen. Vigilance uses Any Channel's AnyWorld engine for some gorgeous environments. The rooms, hallways, warehouses and rooftops have textured surfaces and detailed elements such as steel staircases, marble floors, board room tables and chairs. The characters are nicely modeled with polygons to great effect. You have the option of two third-person viewpoints of your character ala Tomb Raider, in addition to the traditional first-person viewpoint, so you can watch the individually modeled head follow your gun arm as you aim it around. The environments are of the caliber you'd expect in a modern action game. There are elevators, sliding doors and all sorts of surfaces to mark with bullet holes. The levels are nothing we haven't really seen before and a few suffered from design problems of boring long hallways. There's nothing like running, and running, and running down a long hallway.
The sound effects are superb. Bullets don't just explode but they whizz and richocet off metal surfaces. The soundtrack, while not interactive with the action, sets an appropriately edgy mood. I did find it a bit loud, though, so I suggest raising the sound effects to about double the level of the music.
At your disposal are over 40 weapons (machine guns, rocket launchers, sonic lances, shock sticks) and powerups (key cards, C4 demolition packs, data cds, medical kits, armor). The weapons are scattered throughout the missions and have enough ammo for few kills. Watch your ammo because once you run out the characters do not automatically pick up the next powerful weapon. Control is handled via the keyboard for movement (running, turning, crouching, etc) and the mouse for aiming. Vigilance uses a "regional damage" system in which you are rewarded for careful aim. Go for the head shot and you'll bring the bad guys down faster. The bad guys are terriorists and not worth the lead you pump into their bodies. They exibit a fair amount of intelligence. If they see you, they'll hunt you down but you can still sneak up on a few and blow them away at close range. Snipers are another matter--hiding out and trying to pick you off. If you have a sniper rifle or a character with special sniper skills you can turn the tables on that tactic.
Up to 16 players can play at once in the multiplayer mode with up to 27 characters to choose from. Unfortunately multiplayer Vigilance boils down to a deathmatch among the players. This game would have been perfect for a cooperative type multiplayer game in which you could form a team to combat terrorism. But alas, the operatives turn on each other in the multiplayer melee. But of course there is nothing wrong with a good deathmatch and Vigilance includes free access to head to head competition on HEAT.NET. HEAT.NET even offers a method of collecting prizes through their Degrees program. Like playing Skeeball, by playing Vigilance online you can earn Degrees and spend them in HEAT's online store. I dialed up at around 5 pm and waited about twenty minutes for someone to join me for a deathmatch. Soon others joined in the melee which was a lot of fun, but I found the level chosen to be a bit large for a deathmatch. I finally found someone to shoot at ten minutes later when they transported right in front of me. All in all the Vigilante deathmatch on HEAT was rather easy to set up and fun to play. There were a few problems with being kicked out of the system. Also the load up time for the level is extremely long for both single player and multiplayer games.
Overall, Vigilance is a decent enough first person action game with enough of the basics done right and few new twists thrown in to satisfy a first-person action fan. The graphics and soundtrack/effects are excellent, as well as the character modeling. In the gameplay department nothing here is ground breaking, but it's a lot of fun. It's a refreshing break from the dungeons of Quake.
Review By GamesDomain
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