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IGI 2: Covert Strike Preview

publisher: Codemasters
developer: Innerloop Studios
genre: Shooters

PIII 700, 128MB RAM, 32MB Video Card, 1.9GB HD
ESRB rating: M

release date: Mar 03, 03
» All About IGI 2: Covert Strike on ActionTrip

In a rather competitive game market, where we see tons of FPS titles released, Innerloop Studios achieved considerable success back in 2001 with its addictive first-person sneaker Project IGI. Those who enjoyed the previous game can now look forward to a refreshed sequel offering 19 new individual single-player missions, which all feature intense action and suspense. Also, you can expect a deeply involving plot with a lot of surprising twists and turns.

Following the success of their previous game, Innerloop shares with us their plans for the approaching sequel. We talk to Henning Rokling, Innerloop Managing Director to find out more saucy details about the game.

Action Trip: As far as we know you plan to release the game by the end of this September, so it must be in the final stages of development. What s your team working on right now?

Henning Rokling: Our team is fixing bugs in the single-player levels, adjusting weapons, AI, and difficulty parameters, as well as making general artwork and 3D-model improvements. We're also fixing bugs in the multiplayer-game and adding a few features we feel are necessary to make the MP-game work better. In addition to all of that, we are currently trying to raise the standard of our cinematic sequences in the single-player storyline. We're also working on code-optimization and graphic card compatibility. Also, we have a few visual special effects we'd like to improve and some new ones we'd like to add.

AT: What s the storyline in IGI 2? Except Anya and Jones, will we perhaps see any characters from the original game?

HR: The Russian arms dealer Priboi will re-appear as a supporting character in IGI 2. The plot centers around advanced technology that has been stolen, which brings Jones from Ukraine to Libya and finally the South China Sea.

AT: In terms of mission diversity, what has your development team prepared in IGI 2?

HR: Players will get to ride on a train, while being chased by another train that's packed with enemy soldiers. Also, while riding a helicopter, players have to take out several enemy bases. There are many more things happening, but we cannot give them all away just yet. Let's just say we have a very "explosive" ending in mind!

AT: Can the players expect IGI 2 to be as challenging as the first game? Explain a bit more about the AI and various tactics the enemies may use during combat.

HR: One of the things in Project IGI we got complaints about was the fact that it was a bit too hard for some gamers. We've made efforts to greatly improve the AI, making the enemy's resistance affected by light conditions and sound. Now the enemy will effectively take cover and will also use squad-based tactics. In short, they are now a lot more advanced. When it comes to challenges, we are using the difficulty level to a greater degree now: easy will basically be dead easy - that doesn't mean the AI is stupid, it's just that they will have a harder time hitting you, detecting you, and they will move a bit slower. They will also be a bit sloppier when it comes to examining suspicious things around the base. The 'hard' mode denotes the same difficulties as in IGI1, with intelligent soldiers, lightning-quick reactions, and no save game options. This is only for the hard-core fans though!

AT: In your opinion, which of new weapons will players be most excited about?

HR: The Jackhammer, the G-36, and the Barrett sniper-rifle. Also, the Chinese Type-64 SMG is a very, very nice weapon - you get to use it at the very end of the game.

AT: Next to various weaponry, will we get to use any other items?

HR: Obviously, you still get to use the Map Computer and the Binoculars. This time around, Jones also has a Thermal Imaging Device that enables him to detect human body heat through walls. In addition to that, you plant explosives and designate targets for air-strikes with a Laser Designator.

AT: Many gamers have complained about the fact that the first game lacks a save game option. The levels were somewhat lengthy, which was too much for some players to handle. Are you planning to remedy this in IGI 2?

HR: This is definitely something we took to heart, and have included in IGI2 Covert Strike. It's regulated by difficulty-level and done with the Map Computer. You have enough battery for 3 saves in Easy, 2 saves in Medium, and none in Hard mode.

AT: Name some of the new visual delicacies you plan to incorporate in the sequel. What are the crucial changes you made in contrast to Project IGI?

HR: The increased number of polygons on the terrain and on the 3D-models in general really takes the game's visuals to a new level. We have worked very hard on improving our the forests and vegetation. Also, the number of polygons used on the characters and weapons will increase in-game realism more so. Some of the weapons in the game use more polygons than a full Counter-strike scene in total! In terms of visual effects, we have improved muzzle-flashes, character lighting, some excellent looking light-maps, reflection mapping, lip-sync, etc.

AT: The previous game had an unusual and pretty annoying snag. The character could jump too high (i.e. the Moon-gravity syndrome). Have you guys managed to fix that?

HR: The jumping-height has been tweaked to work in both the single-player and multi-player mode. It's definitely not moon-like anymore, but at the same time Jones is well trained and can jump fairly high. Normally, you can jump about a meter up, but we have crouch jumping which enables you to leap a bit higher - which is a nice skill for multi-player.

AT: You mentioned that you worked hard to include a multiplayer mode in IGI 2. Tell us a little bit more about that.

HR: Well, it's certainly something different compared to other games we've seen. First of all, it is team-based. It has several objectives (at least 3) that have to be completed. The other team must stop the "attacking" team. It is somewhat slow paced compared to other games - a round usually takes 10-15 minutes to play. Different teams have access to different weapons, and you get to hack computers, pick safe locks, slide down wires, camp, and snipe. All of this takes place in huge outdoor landscapes. There are a lot of interesting tactics, which are completely different from other multiplayer-games. For instance, you also get to use the Map Computer in the multiplayer-game, adding the element of hiding from over flying satellites for campers/snipers. It also gives defenders an advantage so you can see where the attackers are coming from - putting more pressure on both teams to act in an organized manner.

AT: Is there a chance you can reveal the game s system requirements.

HR: Minimum requirements are: PII 450MHz, 128MB RAM, and 16MB Graphics card (for Single Player); PIII 650MHz, 128MB RAM, and 32MB Graphics card (for Multiplayer).



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