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PC Review - 'Nina: Agent Chronicles'

by Chad on June 16, 2003 @ 11:52 p.m. PDT

Played by top Polish model Iza Czarnecka, Nina has been enlisted by an anti-terrorist organisation because of her paranormal ability to take over the minds of other people. Facing many puzzles and tasks, you must guide Nina on her absorbing missions which centre on a whole city hidden in the mountains of Afghanistan. Read more to find out wether 'Nina: Agent Chronicles' is as good looking as model Iza Czarnecka.

Genre: FPS
Publisher: ValuSoft
Developer: City Interactive
Release Date : April 7, 2003

Buy 'CODENAME NINA: Global Terrorism Strike Force': PC

Codename: Nina is a budget first person shooter that has you completing nine missions in exotic locales such as The Middle East, South America, and Ukraine. Aside from the standard FPS arsenal of sub machine guns and pistols, Nina has the ability to read the minds of her enemies in order to obtain information vital to her mission. Question is, is Nina the game for you?

The game opens with a monologue from Nina about how she’s the first one to get sent out by “The Agency” on dangerous missions, due to her psychic abilities. Right off the bat, you’ll wonder where exactly Nina is from, since her voice works sounds like a mish mash of several different countries, all combined to sound about as bad as humanly possible.

Your first mission has you searching for a bunker in the Middle East. However, you need to find an “officer” and read his mind in order to obtain the location of the bunker. On the way, you’ll encounter a few enemies. Enemy AI in this game is practically non-existent. Whenever one spots you, he simply just fires without any movement whatsoever. There are a few who’ll run away, in which case you can “sneak” up behind them. Heck, you can even go crazy and run right into them, because they won’t mind a bit. The bottom line is that if the AI was tweaked, even a little (enemies that at least try and chase you if you run away from them, for example), it would be a boon to the overall feel of the game.

When employing Nina’s telepathic abilities, you have to be right in front or behind of them for it to work. Unfortunately, with no key designated to shift between running and walking quietly, or a crouch key, most attempts at mind reading will get you shot to some degree. Too bad, too: mind reading could’ve been a major step towards Nina feeling like one of a kind, instead of a me-too wannabe.

Anyone familiar with first person shooters will feel right at home with the control scheme. The W, S, A, and D keys all control movement, while the mouse aims and fires your currently selected weapon. There’s an action button for opening doors, reading minds, etc., but that’s really it. You can change weapons, but since you can only choose between your pistol and whatever fully automatic weapons you have, there’s not much point to it, especially when the levels are chock full of clips for your main gun. The instruction manual hints that firing in short bursts will conserve your ammo (shocking, I know), but your gun spits out about 5 bullets per tap anyway, which is more than enough to dispatch the brain dead cronies the game sends your way.

Graphics are just okay, overall. The buildings are designed fairly well, but the reuse the same two or three to make up the whole level, making you feel as if you’re walking around in circles. Not having access to any kind of a map doesn’t help matters, either.
The sound’s pretty bad as well. The voice-overs range from bad to worse, while the sounds for the guns sound very generic (your pistol sounds suspiciously like a machine gun with a slower firing rate).

There are no extras to be found in Codename: Nina at all; once you finish the 9 missions, that’s it. No multiplayer support, but after playing through the first mission, you’ll see that as more of a blessing than anything else.

I see a lot of unmet potential in Nina, what with the mind reading and mysterious main character (exactly how did she get her psychic powers, for instance). However, I can’t recommend it to anyone except people with older computers, since Nina’s minimum operating requirements are considerably lower than most FPS these days. For everyone else, your twenty bucks is best spent on something else.

Score 4.6/10

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