Hidden & Dangerous, Talonsoft, $50; requires Pentium 166 MMX, Windows 95, 16 MB RAM, 10 MB hard-drive space, quad-speed CD-ROM and 3D video card.
Talonsoft’s Hidden & Dangerous ($50; requires Pentium 166 MMX, Windows 95, 16 MB RAM, 10 MB hard-drive space, quad-speed CD-ROM and 3D video card) takes the user for a tour of duty against the Germans in World War II. Players command a squad of Special Air Service (SAS) troops through 23 missions behind enemy lines. A historical focus drives the product concept, though the end result is still more game than history lesson.
The game allows play from first-person or third-person viewpoints, meaning the user can see the action through the eyes of a squad member or from above and behind them. The developers researched SAS history to bring realism to Hidden & Dangerous, and this effort shines in the game’s visual component. Soldiers sport distinctive uniforms and move in a convincing manner. Vehicles are well-modeled, and German trucks even sport the Mercedes Benz icon on their grilles. This graphic excellence extends to the mountains, cities or forests. Special effects like weather and night conditions, good sound effects and intriguing missions are all fine touches.
Beyond the pretty face, however, is an ailing constitution. Bugs and design oddities cause interruptions in game play certain to frustrate most users. Poor artificial intelligence leads players to use unrealistic tactics, and while proper movement and squad management is encouraged, the product tends to emphasize shooting over stealth.
Prospective players who are patient, computer literate and highly interested in the subject matter can consider Hidden & Dangerous a cautious buy. Others should wait until it is improved and more closely reaches its fine potential.