PS2 – Conspiracy: Weapons of Mass Destruction Preview
By: Andy Levine

The good people over at Kuju Entertainment are currently developing a first-person shooter for the PS2 entitled Conspiracy: Weapons of Mass Destruction. As alluded to in the game’s title, you play as Cole Justice, a secret agent working to neutralize terrorists attempting to create and distribute weapons of mass destruction. While the storyline is a little bland, the gameplay rather conventional, and the overall presentation needs improvement, Conspiracy: Weapons of Mass Destruction still has the potential to become a thoroughly decent first-person shooter.

In Conspiracy, the entire game’s plot revolves around a nefarious terrorist group known as the Hydra, and latest intelligence suggests transportation of their weapons of mass destruction is about to take place. As Cole Justice, you begin each mission outside an enemy base, and then you are required to infiltrate said base and gather as much information about the unfolding conspiracy as possible. All the missions follow a closely related linear path, which sadly doesn’t involve overcoming any major obstacles. While offering up a straightforward shooter game isn’t always a bad thing, the repetitiveness here detracts from the fun after the first few missions. The current enemy A.I. isn’t especially smart, either, so missions tend to feel more like target practice sessions than actual covert infiltrations. Once enemies are finished running away and finding cover, they will finally begin to shoot and act like real adversaries. And the resulting damage system isn’t very forgiving; so even just a few bullets will be enough to leave you dead on the floor. Once you successfully delve deeper into the enemy’s base, you’re simply charged with collecting whatever conspiracy information is needed and then you must proceed to evacuate. The same principles are involved with each mission, but the individual levels play out across different environments, which do offer a very small yet noticeable variation. Your weapons arsenal consists of the typical hardware you’d expect to see in every first-person shooter, such as pistols, rifles, grenades, and even a rocket launcher for delivering more substantial damage. Each weapon proves useful for specific situations but, for the most part, the trusty assault rifle will become your most powerful weapon of choice. Even though the final plot could still become interesting if the story develops thoroughly throughout the game’s latter missions, the present lack of genuine innovation makes Conspiracy rather uninspiring.

Conspiracy’s control scheme is also rather basic, but at least it gets the job done. Navigating around the game world is very simple, and picking off enemies, both near and far, is not much of a challenge. By quickly switching weapons you can plow through an incoming barrage of terrorists and then whip out your sniper rifle to eliminate any advancing threats. The assault rifle has very little recoil—even while shooting in the fully automatic mode—making it extremely easy to come out on top in the most challenging situations. Despite this simplistic form of gameplay there are still some moments of intense shooter enjoyment to be had as you mow down wave upon wave of terrorist scum.

At this stage, the overall audio and visual performance is nothing to boast about, but still emerges as satisfactory in some respects. The voice actors aren’t exactly at the top of their game here, and most of the sound effects are pretty bland. Even in the largest of firefights, all of the collective gunfire still isn’t quite enough to get the adrenaline surging through your body. At the climax of these battles you can expect to hear the typical swelling battle music existent in almost every FPS game, which serves to add drama to the scene. At a glance, the environments appear to be overflowing with detail, but the colorful textures aren’t enough to make up for the crude models. The muzzle flash from the assault rifle, and other weapons, looks rather lame and, to top it off, the bland battle scenes contain the same death animations, over and over again. However, all the game’s features still somehow manage to blend together sufficiently to create an adequate experience…yet there is still much left to be desired, and more to be done regarding Conspiracy’s presentation.

In conclusion, Kuju Entertainment still have some time left for honing before the retail release of Conspiracy: Weapons of Mass Destruction, and we can only hope that improvements are duly implemented. While the game certainly displays strong foundations to emerge as a successful first-person shooter, a few quirks and quibbles need ironing out if Conspiracy is to be considered worthy of playing.