reviews\ Dec 10, 2002 at 7:00 pm

The Sum of All Fears - GBA - Review

Earlier this year a movie, based off a Tom Clancy book, came out in theaters. The movie was about America’s fears of another Cold war after the current President of Russia dies, and the man that succeeds him has a mysterious past. Pretty soon, it is found out that renegade Russian scientists are making nuclear bombs. People see the movie through the eyes of a CIA agent, as he tries to find out the new President's true intentions, and tries to prevent a nuclear bomb from being detonated on American soil. Can this movies’ high intensity translate well on to the GBA?

The game story is a little different from the movie. This time players lead a team of counter-terrorist experts on a series of missions around the world. The team is made up of elite FBI members; and each member will bring valuable traits to each mission. Players will lead your team into battle with different mission objects, from rescuing hostages to disabling security systems. Can you overcome your fears to play this game?

Before each mission, players will have a character selection and a mission briefing. The characters you select can have a major impact on how that mission will turn out. For instance, if you had a mission where you have to snipe someone, you would not choose characters that are not trained for these missions. One of the worst features in the game is not having the ability to split up from your main team. This means when players go into a room, they will be followed, in a straight line, the entire team for the enemies to shoot at. Another thing that is a disappointment is how easy the game is. The computer AI is not the brightest thing on the planet, but at times they do prove to be a challenge. Other than those minor complaints, the game is really fun and plays like a dream.

When first playing the game, people will think to themselves, small people running in a detailed environment, on a small screen, that will not work at all. Once they get into the game, and play for a few minutes, they will see that everything looks great, and works well with the game. Each of the places gamers will come upon is detailed really well, from the guns characters use to the desks in certain buildings. Even though each of the characters are small, they fit into the entire game, and make it easier to play. The different character animations are done well, from walking around and dying. The graphics look really nice, but the GBA is capable or more.

Ubi Soft used decent music for the game but it is only heard in the title and main menu screen. Once players get into the game, the only sounds they will hear are the different sound effects from footsteps to gunfire. The sound effects used are well done, the gunshots, footsteps, and opening doors sound realistic. The voices used in the game were done with accuracy. Ubi Soft used voice actors that portrayed military briefings with style.

The game offers a multiplayer mode where up to four players can play a cooperative game or an adversarial. Cooperative mode is where gamers play the missions and the players complete in the campaign mode. Each of the players will take control of one of the four operatives. On the other end of the spectrum, adversarial is where it is a free for all, where players compete against their friends.

The Sum of All Fears control scheme is a little difficult to master, but once players do, they will become an elite soldier. The d-pad is used to move the character around. The L button plus d-pad will let the characters strafe. A is used to fire a weapon or throw an item. B button is used to reload your weapon. A plus the R button will switch items. B plus R button will cycle between the characters. B plus the L button will let players aim manually. To perform actions players will press the L and R buttons at the same time.

The Sum of All Fears is rated T for Teen for violence and blood.

Gameplay: 8.3
This is a really fun squad-based game for the GameBoy Advance. The missions are varied, are never redundant, and will give gamers something fun to play this holiday season on the road. The only problem is that it is extremely easy to beat.

Graphics: 8.2
At first glance, players will think that the graphic style used would not work well with the GBA screen. After playing it for a while it work well, and makes it look really nice. Ubi Soft could have added more effects to make it better. Overall they did a good job in the graphics department.

Sound: 8.3
Ubi Soft exploited the GBA sound system really well. The only thing that they could have done better is having music playing the game, instead of the just sound effects.

Difficulty: Easy
The game is extremely easy. After getting used to the controls, and the viewpoint, players will be able to beat the game in less than 8 hours.

Concept: 8.0
Team based games are not the newest thing on the market, but I have not seen many of them on the GBA. This game proves that the GBA can handle it, and at the same time be fun to play.

Multiplayer: N/A
The game offers a two to four-player mode, but I do not have another Game Boy Advance to test this feature. The possibility of doing this adds greatly to the replay value of this game.

Overall: 8.3
The Sum of All Fears is a really good game for the Game Boy Advance. If you have a GBA and need a good team based game look no further!


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