Once again, Marxist guerrillas, communist dictatorships, and the mafia are threatening world security, you, and your crack squad of highly skilled rangers is charged with thwarting their twisted plans. This is Spec Ops: Covert Assault, the second Spec Ops game released for the Playstation 1 game console.
In Covert Assault, you control two rangers at a time through four different stages executing stealth attacks on enemy strongholds, rescuing hostages, disarming explosives and missiles, and fighting scores of bad guys. The game starts off in Sicily where you battle the mafia whilst trying to recover personnel and top secret documents from a downed NATO plane. From there it’s off to Kraplakistan (Is that even a real place?) to battle guerrillas, then to Longtian (I swear that they are making up these names.) to thwart the red Chinese menace, and finally, deep in the jungle (See? They ran out of silly names, they just called level 4 "jungle") to put a stop to the drug-cartel funded Marxist guerrillas.
Covert Assault, like its predecessor, looks and plays similarly to Army 3-D, except that you are controlling two rangers at a time. At the beginning of each mission you pick two rangers out of your five member squad, each member has talents best suited for different missions. When playing a mission, one ranger you have complete control over and you have limited control of the second ranger. During play, you can switch which ranger you are controlling completely. The control you have over the second ranger is limited to four self-explanatory commands, which are: Follow Me, Hold Up, Move Up, and Fire em’ Up. Hitting L2 and another button simultaneously does all these commands. There are a ton of buttons to remember. There are buttons for using scopes, rifles, grenades, inventory, and maps. There are buttons to switch rangers, sidestep, change posture, roll, and reload. These controls may seem like a lot at first, but I was pretty comfortable with them after twenty minutes of play.
The graphics of Covert Assault are about average for a Playstation 1 game. The people are a little blurry and their movements can be a little stiff. Even though this is a war game the gore is kept to a minimum. There is no blood and the bodies pretty much disappear right after they have been hit. The opening animated sequence is okay and a little bit patriotic, however much like the other Spec Ops game that I have played, the end; beat the game animated sequence is lame and unrewarding. I don’t need an elaborate, hugely orchestrated "congratulations you won!" sequence, but this one features (and I don’t feel like I’m giving anything away here) Bob Dole. Bob freakin’ Dole. Bob Dole hasn’t held public office in something like six years! This is supposed to be a new game. I know, I know, it’s a Playstation 1 game. They are not spending that much time on these Playstation 1 games anymore, but, I still need to vent.
There are plenty of good things about this game. There is a large assortment of weapons and explosives to choose from. Most of the missions are pretty exciting. But, Covert Assault has the same problems as the other Spec Ops game that I reviewed. When using a scope, you can kill a person with a shot to just about any part of their body. With the scope, a shot to the ankle or finger can be fatal. Sometimes the second ranger can pose problems. Let’s say that you tell the second ranger to "hold up", then using the first ranger you move up a road, cross a bridge, and take out a couple of enemy guards. After the area is secure, you tell the second ranger to "move up". 9 times out of 10 the second ranger will run off of the cliff next to the bridge(instead of crossing the bridge to reach ranger 1) and die. Another problem can arise when you tell ranger 2 to "follow me". He will follow a couple of feet behind ranger 1, but if a enemy soldier crosses ranger one’s path, ranger 2 will shoot straight at ranger 1 killing him with "friendly fire" while attempting to eradicate the enemy. Fortunately, you can finish the missions with one ranger.
A while ago, I reviewed another Spec Ops game and gave it 4 out of 5 gems partly because it was fun and partly because it was only $10. However, I solved it almost immediately and never played it again. Covert Assault is no different. I solved it in two quick sittings and after this review I probably won’t play it ever again. But because it is a $10 (I’m assuming it is since its predecessor was) I am giving Spec Ops: Covert Assault 3 out of 5 GiN gems.