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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Simulation / Strategy

 

Publisher

Strategy First

 

Developer

Introversion

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q1 2003

 

 

- Gameplay over flash

- Non-linear approach

- Actually easy to get into

 

 

- Can become repetitive

- Might be a niche item

- Some are sure to find it too easy

 

 

Classic: Willy Beamish (PC)

Review: Syberia (PC)

Review: Desperados (PC)

Review: Splinter Cell (XB)

 

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Uplink: Hacker Elite

Score: 7.7 / 10

 

I wager everyone, upon taking their first computer out of the box, thought briefly of a life of computer crime.  Hacking bank records, fixing your grades or manipulating the stock exchange to your own nefarious ends – those thoughts always died when you first tackled DOS, with it’s C:/> arsenal.  Now, years later comes Uplink: Hacker Elite (UHE), a computer hacker simulation that may satiate your inner hacker.

 

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Or it may not.  It all depends on your gaming style.

 

Strangely enough, I couldn’t help but think of chess while playing UHE as moves must be thought out and any “action” revolves around beating the clock.

 

You progress through UHE by acquiring information, completing hacker jobs, upgrading your hardware and software (e.g. password cracking programs), choosing another job and so on.  It sounds easy and pretty repetitive on paper.  The starting missions do nothing to allay this notion.  They are easy but they do a good job introducing you to the interface, which is of the Spartan variety – not a lot of 3D spectacle.  (The interface itself is rock-solid – and because the interface is so 

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integral high points to the developers.)  Later on the jobs become more complex and you are required to think, but presumably by then you have a better rig to work with, so the challenge is somewhat muted.  (Although, saving the world from a computer virus is never easy.)  Counterbalance to this is UHE’s (mostly) non-linear approach.  Tackling a tough job with the wrong equipment can ramp up the difficulty considerably.

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UHE is immersive right from the get-go, more so than say, Majestic (a certified disaster even though the concept was good).  I can’t say that UHE ever pulled me in so deep that it blurred the line between fact and fiction – kind of like a good book in that regard.  You enjoy yourself, but don’t close the book and have trouble figuring out what’s real and what’s not.  But UHE did hold my interest till the end; and not just because it’s the only PC game in a while that has run like a dream on my PC (after the requisite patch).

 

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UHE also comes recommended if you want to do your gaming piecemeal.  A job here, a job there – you can game at your own pace unlike linear games with a specific story to tell that might lose their “flow” if you don’t play right through. (But like I mentioned, there is a story.)

 

The fun factor is totally dependant on the player.  The developers have provided a fairly satisfying gaming experience (although there is sure to be some complaints on issues of repetitiveness) that goes for deeper strategy – actual gameplay! – rather than a flashy package.  With a $30 price tag and an interest in the subject, you’ll get your money’s worth – just throw out the idea that you’ll ever be a real-life hacker after finishing.

 

- Omni

(March 30, 2003)

 

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