Spybot: The Nightfall Incident: A remarkably rich and highly detailed Shockwave game created for Lego by the folks at gameLab. This turn-based strategy game is a triple-A quality production set in a stunning high-tech universe. A remarkably rich and highly detailed Shockwave game created for Lego by the folks at gameLab in New York City. Spybot: The Nightfall Incident is a turn-based strategy game and a triple-A quality production that is set in a stunning high-tech universe.
Just this morning while working on a current cyberpunk project – – something dredged itself up from the depths of my memory banks. Specifically, it was while looking at various angles for a hacker story that I recalled I had (many years ago) stumbled upon a surprisingly excellent hacker game called. So I thought I’d share it with you in case you missed this gem. A little background is in order. Spybot was a set of four Lego robot sets released in 2002 that, with the aid of a CD-Rom, could be programmed to accomplish various missions. How this is done I have no idea – I never owned the sets and it’s not at all important for the game itself.
In any case, along with the sets Lego released the titular game, which is where I first played it. Sometime later when I went back to play it again, it was no longer on the Lego website. Don’t know if Spybot just wasn’t successful or what, but they killed the entire thing including the game.
Fortunately, at least in this case, once something is on the internet it never dies and today several archive-type websites host the game; I’ve included the link for the first site that pops up through a Google search. So what is S:TNI all about? I don’t want to reveal too much because when I first played it I had no real idea what it was and as a result the game was that much more fun. Note that there are, of course, websites that will break the game down in its entirety, but I really encourage you to spoil as little of it as possible, especially the story, because it is just that much fun. Also the game has a tutorial right at the start that helps you understand what is going on. Still, I feel compelled to share something about the actual game. In a nutshell, S:TNI is a turn-based Shockwave game where you play a SMART (Secret Mission Agents Robotics Team) agent whose job it is to track down crime on the internet.
You do this by engaging in databattles where you pit your programs (with names such as Hack, Slingshot, and Bug) against rogue software (Watchman, Sentinel, Sensor, etc.). As is usual in most games, you start off with limited resources – in this case the two programs Hack and Slingshot – and can upgrade along the way by winning battles and receiving a credit reward. That’s the essence right there.
Again, there’s a tutorial to take you through the actual gameplay and there is other helpful information along the way. Why I like and recommend this game: The Atmosphere: Somehow, despite its (even by the standards of 10 years ago) basic graphics and music capabilities, the game creates a really great atmosphere between the story, the music, and the gameplay – it just feels right.
I know that’s rather vague, and yet it is most appropriate. So many games I’ve played feel like, well, games. But this one, perhaps because it is so simple so your imagination goes to fill in the blanks, really allows you to become immersed, and not because you’re maxing your APMs and forgetting to blink. The Story: It’s a simple story we’ve seen before but there are some pleasant surprises along the way both in terms of the narrative and the programs that become available to you.
The Gameplay: It’s a turn-based game that’s actually much like table-top miniatures games in that you deploy your pieces, er load your programs, move them up to a certain amount and have them perform an action, then wait for your opponent to do the same. It’s easy to get the hang of but has a surprising number of options as you get more programs, including which programs to purchase and which to deploy. The Level of Difficulty: I found the game neither too easy, nor too difficult, which is to say, it gets it right.
The difficulty does ramp up as the game goes on but it never gets frustrating nor will you ever find things too easy no matter how many, or which, programs you have. If it isn’t obvious from the preceding, I really enjoyed and believe you will enjoy it as well. There’s just something about its simple graphics, basic yet deep gameplay, storyline, and atmosphere that somehow combine for a really great experience that is worth your time to check out. Michael Hammes Michael Hammes worked for six years in the RPG industry before the reality of family life and home ownership pulled him away. Now he's back, if not as a full-time practitioner, at least as an expert dabbler. Michael's work is most closely associated with Ronin Arts and Green Ronin, but he's been active with numerous other publishers and companies. Recently he's launched a little blog at gmworkbook.com and explored the world of flash fiction on Kickstarter with and.
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|13.6 MB||commercial||09 August, 2012|
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