Published Date
01 - Aug - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Aug - 2006
SiN was probably the unluckiest game ever. It had so much going for it, notably its protagonist John Blade-the John Wayne-meets-Clint Eastwood-type drawling, wisecracking head of HardCorps, a private security firm in the otherwise lawless Freeport City. It also brought to the FPS genre the ability to drive a number of vehicles, and the concept of the head shot doing more damage to the enemy (yes, before Counter-Strike). Critics praised it, but just as its sales were picking up, the strong, silent Gordon Freeman made his debut and everyone forgot SiN forever. 

Out Of The Shadows
SiN Episodes: Emergence opens with a captured John Blade (you) lying in a lab of sorts, with the evil I-want-to-make-humans-better-by-mutating-them head of SinTEK, Elexis Sinclair, waving her rather large bosom in your face while drug lord Victor Radek injects you with some mystery goo. You are soon rescued by Jessica Cannon-your apprentice and the most competent digital desirable since Alyx Vance (HL2)-and must now go on a quest to find out what that slop was. You'll be fighting your way through docks, into the overturned tanker that houses the lab where the deadly U4 mutagen is manufactured, finally ending in Victor Radek's Supremacy Tower. The game offers you about five hours of play-not unexpected in these episodic times, but still too short.

The Enemy
One of the biggest hypes about SiN E was the adaptive AI system, which tracks your abilities and adjusts the game's difficulty level accordingly, thus assuring everyone five full hours of gameplay no matter what skill level. It records detailed  statistics about your gaming style-from your accuracy to how often you use which weapon and how many times you died during the game. Testing this system was quite simple-I went through the game once shooting enemies only in the head (dying a few times while I aimed, too), and once with two shots to the chest. Sure enough, when you score enough headshots, they start coming at you with helmets on quite early in the game, while in the latter case, they just padded up on armour, making it three shots to the chest to kill them. When you seem to be dying too often, the game even drops extra health packs and ammo to help you along.

While the game is intelligent enough to offer you this challenge, the enemies themselves disappoint in the brain department-they're not much more intelligent than most pumpkins I know. Nonetheless, they come in droves and jump from side to side, which makes them harder to kill, and they're generally very entertaining when you kill them: "{bang!} Ack! My knee! I'm down! Send for ba…{bang!}..ungh". There isn't much variety in the arsenal-the M90 Magnum, the X380 Scattergun and the M590 Assault Rifle-but just saying that does their abilities injustice. All weapons are ferociously deadly and the Scattergun can even shoot shrapnel which can bounce off walls and clear nasty corners in a jiffy.

Back Into The Shadows
It's odd that Ritual choose to release SiN E at the same time as Half-Life 2: Episode One-have they learnt nothing from SiN's fate? Comparisons to HL2 are inevitable, mostly because they're in your face. Female sidekick with slight crush on you? Check. Physics-oriented puzzles? Check. Battle with helicopter/airplane hybrid? Check!

Rating : 7/10;
Developer :
Publisher :
Price :
$19.95 (Rs 895) download via Steam, includes the original SiN (yes, we get the pun)
Minimum System Requirements : 1.2 GHz processor, 256 MB RAM, DirectX 7 capable graphics card, Internet connection   

Even John Blade seems to have been hanging out with Freeman too much-he's to have given up his wisecracks and fallen silent.

In all fairness, there's nothing glaringly bad about SiN E. The voice acting and soundtrack is top-notch, the action is non-stop and loads of fun, and it's using the Source engine so it looks good without making your graphics card see the end of the road. There are even a good number of Easter Eggs ("The Dopefish Lives!"). The story is a standard campy B-movie script and thankfully doesn't take itself too seriously, but it's enough to make you come back to it out of curiosity. There's even the element of gratuitous near-nudity-you decide whether that's good or not. The only trouble with this one is that there's nothing that stands out as remarkably great, either.

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