Monolith Productions is garnering some highly enthusiastic attention at the moment. The team behind the warmly received No One Lives Forever has been in the press again recently following the release of the psychological shock shooter F.E.A.R. And the release of the Xbox 360 was just the excuse for a console foray after years of specialising in the PC end of the gaming scene. Teaming up with SEGA's American arm they bring you Condemned: Criminal Origins.
Continuing the developer's current penchant for the darker side of things, Condemned puts you in the well-polished brogues of FBI Agent Thomas, whose chosen field is the study, pursuit and capture of serial killers. Track these death-worshipping humans like the animals they are through their preferred habitat - mazes of broken windows, crumbling brickwork and dilapidated tenements. Your long-developed skills as a detective and a range of precision forensic tools will help you, but you'll have to rely just as much on split second reactions and brawling skills if you are to get out of your mission in one piece.
Monolith made its name showing what could be done on games running through Windows, at a time when nobody believed in a DOS-less future for PC gaming. This technical expertise is brought to bear on the latest Microsoft confection, the 360, with lighting, texture mapping and filtering techniques employed that are like nothing you'll have seen this generation. The first person viewpoint that Monolith favours is used, but this is still an adventure game where you execute melee moves on your quarries, as well as pick up and throw a variety of inanimate objects. Full compatibility with 5:1 surround sound will allow you to take advantage of your home movie set-up, and sophisticated and reactive enemy AI completes the package, making Condemned a suitable tech fest for a debut on such an able machine. You also get, as is the vogue these days, an involving plot with twists a plenty to keep you interested. If your new Xbox 360 has just joined an already impressive array of high-end entertainment technology in your front room, here's just the thing to put your new setup through its paces.