You are currently viewing an archival version of GF!

Click here to return to the current GamesFirst! website.


GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

star06.gif (4104 bytes)star06.gif (4104 bytes)

by Talonsoft

Initially unique, decent graphics, interesting story.

Downs:  inconsistent gameplay, controls, and AI, flying is the worst, really short

System Reqs: P200, 32 MB RAM, 380MB HD, 4XCD

Codename Eagle is a first person shooter that claims to have brought a little innovation on the scene--mostly  through the use of vehicles like motorcycles, tanks, and aircraft, as well as the usual guns and grenades to accomplish the objectives at hand. Unfortunately, in the process of adding a little something new, the developers ignored the rest of what’s good, got lost in their ambition, and put out a highly unoriginal game with enough problems to cause much consternation on this reviewer’s part. In the end, Codname Eagle  is as predictable and linear as they come--not to mention really short. Add to this a difficulty level  so inconsistent that it seems little forethought was put into it, and Codename Eagle could more aptly be named “The Hair-Pulling Super-Linear Adventures Of Red the Really Dumb Russian-Killer.”

You play Red, a Russian born Brit-sounding leatherneck sporting a skullcap and goggles and possessing a hankering for some old-fashioned espionage. In a way, Red is sort of an early 20th century James Bond, taking on jobs alone that it should require armies to accomplish. Red’s universe is an alternate history where the Russian Empire at the turn of the century is controlled by an illegitimate Tsar with world domination as his ambition. Red, of course, is sent on suicide missions to stop the nefarious Tsar’s predacious plans. These missions are literally where the trouble begins.

The developers make a big deal about the player’s ability to use vehicles to accomplish missions in Codename Eagle. However, more often than not the transportation becomes the hardest part of the game; after all, the enemy AI is generally so poor that there is little challenge to be found in your opponents. Some of the ground vehicles like armored cars and tanks turned out to be mildly entertaining, though initially tricky to get a hang of.  The aircraft are the real misery-and this is no exaggeration. I think I bruised my foot by kicking the back of my desk after replaying one of the missions a dozen times. Though there  is a simplicity to using vehicles on the ground, aircraft are nearly impossible to control in flight. What’s worse is there are no control remedies offered anywhere--joysticks are supposedly supported in the flying portion of the game, but  I was never able to get mine to work. Ground vehicles, though easy to control, suffer from other constraints that make their use problematic. It's been a while since I’ve been so frustrated with a game; at times Codename Eagle can really have you pulling your hair out, and perversely the nearly impossible parts are often followed by missions that are laughably easy.  

Some complexity in the execution of mission goals is attempted in the game, though I was quick to find that runnin’ and gunnin’ was a lot faster and more efficient in getting the job done. As I already hinted, the AI here is rudimentary at best; most of the enemies feel the need to get down on one knee in order to take a shot at you, affording you a little bit more time to line up your own shots. Some will just dumbly run at you once shot at. Even better, some enemies can shoot through walls and rocks, others are immune to machine-gun fire if you don’t hose them down with half your ammo, and still others can manage to not notice you holding a gun to their face. If it weren’t for the sheer difficulty of some of the levels, this game would be very short, but since the player has to replay so much of it in order to get it right you can tack a few more hours onto the gameplay. I don’t really consider more than a dozen plays through one mission game-time well spent.

The graphics are simple and  unimpressive, though are carried out well enough to cause little complaint. All of the missions are primarily outdoors and offer a wide variety of scenery, but there are a few spots though that could have used a little more tweaking. If it weren’t for the more obvious problems with the game Codename Eagle might have fared pretty well as an alternative to the more traditional FPS’s, but it's the problems are severe enough to warrant a warning-you probably don’t want to play this game.

Codename Eagle fits almost all of the stereotypes and conventions that can be used to describe the sub-average video game; level based, linear, predictable and not all that much fun in the long run. For myself I draw the line when it feels that I’m playing against the game rather than some semblance of an intelligent opponent--that’s where a game stops being fun and the uninstaller becomes handy.

--Thomas Hoff