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View Full Version : SA reviews "From Siberia With Love"



Shining Aquas
03-09-2009, 05:39 AM
"groan"

I really haven't been looking forward to this level just due to the title.
I knew almost instantly after looking at a title that goes as bold as "From Siberia with Love" with be fully prone to an endless sea of James Bond anecdotes that would forever destroy me despite my guile. This is especially painful for me because outside maybe Casino Royale, I generally can't stand James Bond.

Nevertheless, I played through the level, suffered through the 007 Russia setting, and overall the verdict pretty much came down to pretty darn good.

It's fun, well-paced, appropriately themed and designed, and while not horribly exciting is still definitely worth a playthrough.

You are secret agent 0013 (Please make an effort not to grimace) and you have been sent to a random enemy base in Russia for the purpose of gathering intel or something. I really don't know all the exact schematics of the storyline because there was enough text in the level to fill up at least 2 chapters of a Tolkien novella. For the most part the level is just cardboard (or possibly wood) topped off with a somewhat thick layer of snow styled sponge, as well as having a few random pieces of glass to represent stalactites. Although the appearance of the stage is amazingly simplistic, it's also incredibly appropriate for the purpose of having a base up in the snow covered mountains. A good portion of the stage is just simple jumping with no real threat of dying present so there isn't exactly a lot of thrill value to the whole experience, although I can say that the further in you go the more exciting the level gets even though overall the entire stage is about as exciting as watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" for the um-teenth time.

After some easy jumping you should make it to a cable car that is nonoperational, and obviously the only way across the ravine is to turn the power back on. Once you've climbed up the tower, you will see a button and a series of numbered switches. The puzzle is easily solvable and not especially challenging, but it does have a certain charm to it that makes it fairly neat to look at. Getting the whole thing squared away, you should be all ready to activate the cable car. Hitting the switch, you travel across the ravine hoping that Jaws doesn't bite the cable and lead you into certain doom, and you may notice that a chopper has found your position and alerted the station of your presence. Not that it really matters though, after all why worry when the entire power station is completely and utterly uninhabited. Seriously, where the **** is everyone? Is it a full company simultaneous lunch break or the official "everyone pretend they have the clap to avoid work today" holiday? I mean, jeez, this place is about as easily robbed as Fort Knox in "Die Hard with a Vengeance". Heck, what about security cameras, was the company too poor to afford those too?

Well whatever, you have to bring power back to the rest of the place, exploring it in the same manner of a Legend of Zelda game, by which I mean traveling back and forth a billion times before going through that one door at the beginning of the dungeon that was locked and led to the boss. Only this time there's no boss. Just a ton of puzzles.

......you know, going back to this level, I'm starting to realize now that even though the entire level is generally well constructed and organized, it's also fairly boring at the same time. Nothing truly exciting happens in the level; the entire thing is practically as uneventful as Quantum of Solace and yes I WENT THERE. The whole level is pretty much centered around a couple of puzzles and a lot of ultra casual platforming, and although that would work if the level was shorter it feels more like it's dragging it on longer than it should.

Supposedly there's a part 2 and 3 to this level, as the end of the level finishes with a cliffhanger (apparently the chopper is holding your girlfriend hostage, and she happens to be the leading doctor on nuclear physics), and I'm guessing that the sequel probably involves fighting the chopper which would hopefully make up for some much needed action that this level didn't contain nearly enough of.

Final Score:
8.0 / 10
Add some enemies. They don't even need to be tough, just add some. The level really needs adrenaline, which is what James Bond movies are supposed to be good at building before exploding all at one moment. Other than that, the appearance is solid and simple, the music is generally fine for the most part although MGS music somehow seems more fitting, and the hidden score bubbles and well designed mechanics make it a fairly good level. Just not great.

On a side note, I'm rather proud of myself. I went the entire review without making any James Bond references. Well except for the Moonraker one but that's about it.