CounterSpy: The lighter side of the Cold War

The Cold War was probably one of the more ludicrous periods of human history, thanks to the sabre-rattling and posturing that went with the very real threat of massive nuclear arsenals being built up. And it is that period, specifically, that CounterSpy pokes fun at. I guess we can do that now, after it has all pretty much subsided.

In CounterSpy, the player takes on the role of an agent working for C.O.U.N.T.E.R., an organisations that sides with neither the Imperialists (read as America) and the Socialists (read as the Soviet Union). Instead, it is up to the player to scupper the nuclear plans of both sides, and the game lightheartedly pokes fun at both super-powers.

The game makes use of procedurally generated levels, which is a great thing, because you will revisit levels time and again. Sadly the levels are a little on the small side, and each can be completed a little too quickly. Searching for weapon blueprints and other collectibles makes them more enjoyable, but ultimately CounterSpy would have benefitted from later levels.

The game divides itself into two sections. The first are typical side scrolling levels, complete with all the elements one might expect. If the player enters cover, the game takes on an over-the-shoulder cover-based shooter approach. It’s a great idea, but finicky controls and an inconsistent AI can make things more than a little frustrating.

The game also makes use of a perpetual DEFCON level the more attention the player attracts in a level, the higher the alert rating will be for the next one. It’s a great idea, once again, but CounterSpy is simply not precise enough for it to work like it should.

This is a fun game, but it would certainly have benefitted from a little more polish.

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