Alpha Black Zero: Intrepid Protocol

Action 2004 Windows 1C Company

Shut down the protocol

Although Alpha Black Zero sounds like a promising mix of science fiction, Rainbow Six and SOCOM, it unfortunately proves to be a bit of a dud and is only really worth investigating if you desperately need another tactical shooter in your life. The game is set in 2366 on the planet Qahira, formerly known as Mars, and which is governed by the SolGov Federation. You take the role of a lieutenant in a specialized commando unit who has been accused of assassinating members of the government. Through a series of flashback missions, you'll find out how the lieutenant has got caught up in a massive conspiracy and hopefully say his name from being tarnished forever. What follows is a squad-based shooter which features expansion outdoor environments which see you completing a series of missions as you progress the narrative. You can switch between squad members at will, while issuing orders to the others, and who can be one of three classes, standard, heavy or stealth. There's also a five-player co-op mode available so you can team up with your chums. ABZ could have been a perfectly decent addition to the genre and indeed, for a while at least, it provides some serviceable action thrills. However, you soon discover a number of elements which bring things down, such as the over-long levels, the wonky AI, the disorienting level design and so on. The storyline is actually pretty decent but the visuals are ugly as sin, so really, this is one tactical shooter that can easily be left on the shelf in favor of better games.

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