Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tactical Assassin 2

Tactical Assassin 2 is a very simple game. In many ways, the game it reminds me most of is Button Hunt (review here), except in this case, the button is someone's head. But other than that, they're pretty much the same: you have to find the target, occasionally solving simple puzzles to make it visible, and then click on it. That's pretty much all there is. Though in Tactical Assassin 2, your crosshairs do have a little random jitter, to reflect your natural body moving, which adds an element which I feel like I should praise for its realism but which, in practice, only adds a degree of irritation. You can counter this by taking diazepam, which for some reason is activated using the right-arrow key.

The missions are exceedingly simple -- none of them takes more than 30 seconds. I managed to horribly overthink this in my first real mission -- I had been informed that my target liked to smoke cigars outside, and looked briefly at the people inside; none of them was smoking a cigar, so I figured I just had to wait for my target to come out. I waited for a couple of minutes, and felt intrigued that the game was so accurately simulating the long periods of boredom in being a sniper. Then I waited a little more, and decided I was missing something. Turns out he just had the cigar in an ashtray in front of him. That's pretty much the level of difficulty you can expect from the game.

In between missions, you can visit the store to buy more ammunition (useful) and diazepam (also useful), as well as a variety of accessories which aren't really useful. There's a lot of detail on each of the possible sniper rifles you can buy, but none of these details really matter in the game itself, so you're kind of left wondering what the point is.

The presentation is not great. The artwork is passable (stick figures, simple backgrounds), and the music is a good complement. The music is a nice complement, and each rifle has its own distinct sound, which is also a nice touch. The interface is pretty bad, though -- the original version that I played had a horrible font problem which made nearly everything unreadable. This appears to be fixed now, but the interface is still pretty confusing and not well-organized. And while I've, alas, grown used to a certain degree of bad spelling in Flash games, the spelling in this game is simply atrocious. It stands out even among Flash games.

Overall, I can see why this game idea appeals to people, but there's simply so little substance in the puzzles that this is not a particularly great game. You might as well play it and get the badge; it's not like it'll take you that long, and you can feel moderately clever for figuring out the few small puzzles there are, but that's about all I would recommend.

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