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Shadow Ops: Red Mercury

Game developers don't get out much. We know this because there aren't many games about meeting up with your mates and going out for a laugh. Games with The Matrix's Bullet Time, on the other hand, are bountiful.

This is because programmers love DVDs. They love watching movies. They can do it in the dark and they get lots of ideas from them. While The Matrix was yesterday's love, Black Hawk Down seems to be their current fave. Platoons of titles have emerged in recent months all clearly inspired by the 'realism' of the action-packed movie.

Be The Best You Can Be
Shadow Ops wears its inspiration like a Purple Heart on its sleeve. It was created after the designers saw Black Hawk Down and said to themselves: 'Let's make a game just like that'. Not that we're objecting or anything.


From the opening moments it's clear that Shadow Ops is a very classy first-person shooter. The action is frantic. The locations are wonderfully detailed and the 5.1 surround sound is bone-shattering.

Shadow Ops sees you stepping into the boots of an elite Delta Force operative assigned to the CIA's Special Missions Unit, handed the task of tracking down nuclear devices before they're sold to terrorists. It's a globe-trotting bullet-fest that takes you on a tour of Syria, the African Congo, Kazakhstan and Chechnya too.

Like the best action movie, you're thrown into the middle of the action. Surprisingly, it's also very simple and straightforward. Unlike many recent shooters, although you're part of an elite squad, there are no team orders. The missions are very direct and all about you, with a Heads-Up Display indicating the direction and distance of next objectives. Fans of the Medal Of Honor series and even GoldenEye veterans should start getting excited because it looks like Shadow Ops could come very close to matching the class of those gaming goliaths.

The verdict

Shadow Ops looks and sounds brilliant. Let's hope enemy AI can match it and later levels deliver variety. If they do, Halo should start getting worried.