This game's performance as a first-person shooter doesn't hold a candle to id's new powerhouse that has taken the nation by storm.
In this epoch of Doom-clone fanaticism, whenever a new first-person shooting game enters the market, we pose the same question: Is there life after Quake? Although some players might be held by the plot-driven action of Inscape's Assassin 2015, the game's performance as a first-person shooter doesn't hold a candle to id's new powerhouse that has taken the nation by storm.
Assassin 2015 is a Windows 95-based, first-person shooter game (uh-oh) with some hints of adventure elements. You play Jack Butcher, a renegade marine who has gone underground and is caught up in a milieu of inner-government intrigue. Big-time corporate conglomerates that have been supplying the government with mechanized troops are perfecting a droid called the Genocide 350 which is going to help them overthrow the nation. The realization of this robotic murderer relies on an indispensable scientist, Dr. Jacques Arnoud; being the assassin that you are, you promptly snipe this guy (in the intro cut-sequence). Your identity is quickly discovered and you find yourself a prisoner within MicroKomm headquarters.
Sounds like a pretty cool plot, right? It's too bad that the gameplay doesn't live up to it. Your original mission now complete (it would have been so nice to actually get to shoot the defenseless guy in the head yourself), you spend the rest of the game trying to get the hell out of MicroKomm without getting your tail shot off by various mechanical militia lurking about the building. The controls are simplified first-person commands, i.e., fire, strafe left or right, and move. You can also toggle a self-aiming crosshair which, when your energy level has regenerated, will allow you to fire a special weapon at more deadly adversaries. You're allotted a certain amount of shield points, which are automatically regenerated after they've been blasted. If your shield gets completely stripped away, your health points diminish with each hit that you take. Your path is laid out for you by an often annoying communications expert who hovers around in an evac outside the building, dispatching messages every so often in order to guide you through any traps you come across. Every time you clear a room of enemies, you're treated to a computer generated cut-sequence of the last bot you hit getting the guts seared out of him.
The glaring problem with Assassin is its sluggish performance. Your character moves and turns very slowly, and the enemy animations are choppy at best. Furthermore, the letterboxed viewing area is rather disorienting when you're trying to scope out the vicinity. On top of all this, the environments, while rendered nicely in some places, are still fairly boring and never really pull you into the sinister feel of the plot. The AVI sequences are beautiful, and they're integrated fairly well into the gameplay. But gamers are always willing to sacrifice a beautiful cut-sequence for a game that performs better. Fans of Marathon 2, or even gamers looking for a first-person game with more of an adventure feel, may get some thrills from this title, but if your first-person shooter hot list includes games like Quake or Descent, you may be disappointed that this is not one of the most visceral action games on the market.