Take No Prisoners Preview

Take No Prisoners will boast very sophisticated multiplayer options, an intriguing nonlinear level design, and - wait for it - a top-down perspective.

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The corridor is lined with trash. Your gun is hot from repeated fire. You are running, running, running, blowing away mutants and guards, leaving little pieces of intestine and spinal cord splattered on the pavement. It sounds like every other first-person shooter ever made - and this fall there will be at least five of them jockeying for shelf space - but Take No Prisoners will be a very different sort of blood fest. This game will boast very sophisticated multiplayer options, an intriguing nonlinear level design, and - wait for it - a top-down perspective.

Top-down games are few and far between, though MGM Interactive will release its overhead shooter Machine Hunter any time now, and PlayStation and Saturn fans have Loaded. The angle isn't thought to be as intuitive or immersive as the conventional eye-level splatter fest. It does take a bit of getting used to, but after a few minutes with an early build of the game, the familiar rush kicks in. "There are a lot of things that you do if you can see what's above, below, and around you," says producer Steve Schreck. "For example, when a pack of growlers swarm around you, you can watch them closing in from all sides as you try to take them out." You can also toss Mototov cocktails off a catwalk and watch sewer rats writhe in agony below you.

Take No Prisoners is set in the bombed-out rubble of a post-apocolyptic Austin, Texas. A lucky few have developed and used a crystal technology that creates a dome within the burned-out city, a safe haven from the radioactive contamination. You are Slade, a reluctant mercenary pressed into service to penetrate the dome and steal the energy crystal so that another dome can be created. The gameplay unfolds across 20 territories connected via sewer boat, truck, and subway. Slade has firepower galore - including a flame-thrower and a savage tachyon pulse cannon, but his most useful tool is a PDD (personal data device). The PDD serves as a critical source of information on enemies, strategies, profiles of the 22 enemies, and also contains extensive territory maps. To travel between levels, simply walk up to a vehicle, hit action, and boom - down pops a map. Clicking on a destination will take you there. As Slade advances through and between levels, he picks up codes and other vital information from computer terminals and liquidated enemies. You need to find a quiet corner to catch up on your reading, but you shouldn't browse for long - a zoner might sneak up and blast you while your attention is elsewhere.

Take No Prisoners shows great promise on the multiplayer front - six multiplayer-only levels can support eight players over an IPX network. Aside from the traditional deathmatch mode (called "kill at will"), cooperative ("strikeforce"), and capture the flag ("capture the crystal,"), the game will feature four additional multiplayer scenarios. Arsenel mode is a weapons-grab and stockpile involves gathering different value crystals, while assassin mode sounds like a ruthless and complex game of picking off assigned targets, then assuming the assignments of your victims. Trust no one. Internet play was still being optimized at time of writing.

Based on the early build played here at GameSpot, Take No Prisoners is a compelling, fairly addictive game, once you adjust to the perspective. The nonlinear storyline and intelligence-gathering elements - combined with solid action - may well help Take No Prisoners stand out on the shelf come mid-October.

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