Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Sometimes I have to search long and hard to find a game bad enough for review, and sometimes a game falls right into my lap. Sniper is certainly one of the latter, but since I don't enjoy having putrid lumps of mediocrity dropped on my lap, that doesn't mean it gets any special treatment.

Sniper should not be confused with the similarly-named The Sniper. Nor should it be confused with Tactical Assassin, Tactical Assassin 2 or any of the Clear Vision games, all of which mine the same vein of hitmen killing people with high-powered assault rifles. The main difference between Sniper and the games I've just listed is that they're all good, while Sniper really, really isn't.

This is what you're met with as soon as you press the Play button. There's no explanation for what you're supposed to do, but I found by trial and error that killing the green guys is bad, while killing the black guys is good.

Somewhere, a bored civil rights leader is preparing a civil action.

Some of the deaths are pretty funny, such as the guy you decapitate with a single shot. What are you using, .50 calibre rounds? But the whole thing looks shoddy as all hell. I'm pretty sure the animation was drawn in MS Paint, it's so ridiculously amateurish.

The small sight is a pain in the ass, as finding all of the targets becomes a real chore. On top of that, you only have enough bullets to hit each target once, so if you miss even once you have to restart the level. This wouldn't be so bad, except the game apparently doesn't notice when you've run out of bullets. I thought at first that there must be some sort of reload button, but apparently that isn't the case. Nor is there an option to reset the first level. No, if you screw up, you have to reload the entire web page. Why, when there's a restart button on every other level, couldn't we have it on the first mission as well? That makes no sense!

Assuming you complete level one (and it shouldn't be hard, as only one of the targets moves and he's in the open the whole time), your next mission is to kill the head of the KGB and his bodyguards. Why the head of the KGB? I have no idea. Last time I checked, the KGB had been replaced with a friendlier-looking brute squad. I can hazard a guess that the game may be set in the 1970s or 80s. Yeah, that must be it.

I can't believe I have to construct the plot for this piece of crap. Ryan Croucher should thank me - I'm making his game better.

Again, this is no big deal, as none of the bodyguards or the KGB guy react in the slightest to you picking them off one by one, and indeed they stand stock still as you pump lead into their skulls. Unfortunately, in a plot twist that has been used in only every sniper game since the creation of the Internet, we learn that the man we killed wasn't the head of the KGB at all!

The third and final mission allows you another shot at that crafty Russian (literally.) However, you don't have enough bullets to shoot everyone on screen. Thankfully, we receive some information that might just be to our benefit in the mission briefing.

I don't know about you, but I have a plan.

Sure enough, there's our KGB guy, standing right next to the tank of poisonous gas. Now, one would imagine a target that size would be easy to hit. But alas, the developer decided that, rather than give you the option of shooting the tank wherever the hell you pleased, he'd only allow shots to the top of it to register. Never mind that the hole in the tank magically appears on the side, not the top.

Fortunately, my bullet found its mark, and the KGB leader, as well as his entourage, choked to death in a cloud of grey ovals. My target had been neutralised, the mission was over, and the world was a little safer!

So why do I feel like the game resents my success?

If Ryan Croucher made Sniper because he had a couple of hours to kill, that's all well and good, but that doesn't mean it should be uploaded to the Net and passed off as a decent game. There's pretty much nothing to redeem Sniper, and I don't say that about many games. With so many other similar titles of a much higher quality, there's no reason for you to play this.