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Project: Snowblind: Stealthy Shooter Nearing Completion

I first saw Crystal Dynamic?s Project: Snowblind at E3 in 2004 and was impressed then. Now that I have had the opportunity to get some hands-on time with it, I see my first impressions were accurate. Project: Snowblind is a first person shooter along the lines of Deus Ex. The year is 2065. The place: Hong Kong. You are 2nd. Lt. Nathan Frost, an unfortunate guy who gets blown to almost bits and is put back together, only better. You are the latest and greatest bio-augmented soldier and it?s up to you to lead the pack and save the day.

While the straight-up FPS aspect of the game is easy to pick up and play, the interface took a bit of getting use to as far as the ?augs? (or augmentations) were concerned. You can cycle through the different augs as they are made available to you and you?ll use the triangle to activate them. They use up bio-energy and are limited, so you have to exercise caution so you don?t get stranded with any augs. There?s enhanced vision, which gives you the ability to spot enemies, even through walls. There?s ballistic shield, a handy little aug that protects you from enemy fire for a short amount of time. This is great if you step into a hornet?s nest of enemies. Reflex boost slows things down, a la Matrix and Max Payne. Electrical boost sends out a charge, while Cloak, well, it cloaks you. A vast array of weapons are at your disposal, whether you swipe them from the armory, pick them up along the way, or kill someone to get them. Grenades include frags, EMP for those pesky bots, flash, gas, and spiderbots, which track down enemies. Guns include sniper rifles, pistols, rocket launchers, shotguns, and on and on. Other than gunfire, obviously, Nathan?s Achilles heel is the EMP attack, which disrupts his bio-augs and the ensuing static he sees is where the term snowblind comes from.

While playing, you?ll be required to hack into computers and such to help the team progress. You?ll always see your primary objective flashing on the well-done radar screen, but secondary objectives will be hurled your way continuously by your ever-nagging superiors. There are vehicles to commandeer, whether by yourself or in the Co-Op two-player mode, and you can interact with your environment by picking up objects and either utilizing them in your quests or throwing them at enemies. Gritty urban areas abound and have a nice, post-apocalyptic Asian flair to them. There is a multiplayer mode, accessible either by LAN or online -- up to 16 players can join in. The headset is used as there is voice-over IP support.

All in all, Project: Snowblind is shaping up to be an impressive FPS that is sure to please both players who love to run and gun, and those who prefer a stealthy approach. Check back soon for the full review.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins
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