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Touted by publisher Eidos as The First Person Shooter of 2005, Project: Snowblind has been conceived and developed by Crystal Dynamics. The adjective in the title refers not to the disorientating visual and psychological phenomenon experienced by polar explorers, but apparently to 'a complete system shutdown of all internal electrical and bio-mechanical systems, created by an EMP blast in the local vicinity'.
Set in the far future of 2065, the story follows the experiences of 2nd Lieutentant Nathan Frost, a rank and file soldier of no importance in the global Liberty Coalition. Nathan is blown half to bits by an explosion on the battlefield, and, Robocop-like, is saved only by highly experimental bio-mechanical surgery. Just like in Robocop, the operation of fusing man and machine is a resounding success, and the now more-than-human Frost is left with tactical and assault capabilities which far surpass anything he could do whilst he was a mere human.
For example, the uber-Frost now can use infra red vision to see in the dark and even through walls. Another ability is his 'Electrical Storm' power. Described as a 'virtual Vandergraph (sic) generator'. Frost can use this to send an arc of lightning at his nearest foe. But in an exciting twist on the standard 'smart bomb' mechanic, the electricity then jumps from enemy to enemy until none are left standing. On top of these impressive gifts, Frost can cloak himself, summon a ballistic weapons shield and boost his reflexes, greatly improving his speed and co-ordination.
And these are just the feats that he can perform with his enhanced human body! The lucky lieutenant also has access to a massive arsenal, as you'd expect from a science fiction third-person shooter, and all the old favourites - rocket launcher, shotgun, sniper rifle - feature, along with outlandish new gizmos like the Riot Wall and Kicker physics gun. As in Halo, players can also take control of a range vehicles: tanks, helicopters, 'mech' style walkers, along with remote control scout robots.
All this hardware's up for grabs, and usable across 11 missions in 16 maps, featuring diverse locations in South East Asian settings including the Ta-Shih-Chi Buddhist temple (which constitutes the Liberty Coalition HQ!). Valour also comes into play as Frost can hear the cries for help of his wounded comrades. Help them using your abilities - or not - if you can bear the shame of seeing their names appear in the lists of war casualties.
And it's not just lone gamers who are in for a treat either. Project: Snowblind has been put together very much with the concerns of multiplayer gamers in mind, and the results are impressive to say the least. PC, PS2 and XBOX offer support for 16 players, with the online system tailored for the needs of each console, as well as the voice over IP support that has come to be expected. Clearly a lot of work has gone into this game, and it certainly lives up to its touted position as the 'next big thing' in First Person Shooters.