Conan! Indiana jones! bond, James Bond! Hardcastle and McCormick! Indisputable heroes one and all. And why? Not because of their deeds, their adventures, their derring-do, but because of their names. What could be more macho than strolling into a room "mpanied by a theme tune which lares, "Who's the private dick that's a sex machine to all the icks? Shaft! Damn pght," and basking in the owledge that you are deed the aforementioned John Shaft ensed sex machine and hero? So if being a hero is all about having a cool name, why did Cryo christen the freelance pilot and psychic warrior hero of their new all-action adventure game Ted? I mean to say - Ted? He's a pilot, so why not Blades McMurphy or something? Instead it sounds like he should be playing darts for a living rather than blowing up bad guy-infested warehouses. I dunno...
Anyway, back to Ted
But that's exactly your plan of action in Hardline. Think of a hybrid mutated from Virtua Cop and Gabriel Knight 2, only with full video throughout, and you'll get an idea of what it's all about. The near future has seen the rise of a strange and violent cult which worships some evil guy called The Deck. Your mission Ted, should you decide to accept it (see, it just doesn't sound right), is to infiltrate the gang, uncover The Deck's true identity and scupper his nefarious schemes.
Due to the entirely filmed nature of Hardline, it all looks and feels like a close relative of Terminator 2, with moody lighting, shiny sets (most of which were real), lots of impressive stunts and very lifelike special effects (helicopters crashing through office windows, things exploding all over the place etc) and some pretty good acting talent too. Perhaps this is because the lead designers both hail from Hollywood and are well versed in just about every trick in the professional filmmaker's library. At times the game looks more professional than some prime-time TV fodder (Bugs immediately springs to mind), except it's a darn sight more entertaining.
The designers have pretty much succeeded in seamlessly tying all these filmic attributes into the game elements, and because everything is filmed, there are no breaks in the reality, no jumps from fmv to polygons. Hardline sets out to tell a story, create an atmosphere and then steadfastly blocks out any distractions.
Virgin are keen to stress however that Hardline is not a proper 'interactive movie' thingy. Perhaps as a response to the bad press received by such ventures of late, they are instead marketing it as a 'fun' product. Yes, it has film bits, yes it has actors, sets, props and everything else you'd see on a Film '96 Set Report, but this is strictly an action blaster with adventure elements thrown in.
Personally I'd say their fears are unjustified. At this stage Hardline looks closer to being the true definition of an interactive movie than anything I've seen to date. Perhaps they should throw caution to the wind and go with it? We'll have the full gen on whether the game lives up to its promising start in the very near future.
Processor: PC compatible, P-100
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode