I'd Like To think you've all heard of this game, but let's be honest, it's unlikely a good percentage of you will have played this one. Maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps ruthlessly difficult adventures about the crumbling end of the Soviet Union did float your boat 17 years ago. Published by Virgin and developed by ever-reliable kooky French devs Cryo in 1992, KGB was a first-person adventure where you take the role of Maksim Rukov, a man whose parents were killed by an Afghan terrorist back in 1983. The game was set in 1991, just before the Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik fell to bits.
You're given the task of investigating the murder of Pyotr Golitsin, an ex-KGB agent turned private detective, who'd been looking into the case of a load of snuff films and the selling of crack cocaine. There's all sorts of conspiracies going on that blur the facts and make the game a bit confusing, but it's all good stuff. What you get is a sense of the grimness and certainly the danger faced by anyone who crossed the authorities (and, indeed, the criminals) in Russia at that time. The whole game is infused with a grey bleakness that, although perhaps not appealing in an eye candy way, certainly sucks you into the experience.
The problem was that it was just too obtuse, just like so many of Cryo's games. The old mistake of including events and puzzles that had to be triggered or solved at exactly the right time was made when putting this game together. Make a game challenging by all means, but don't make it literally impossible to complete if you miss one tiny little detail hours before.
Having said that, it's still a pleasure to play KGB again after all these years. There's certainly a constant feeling of impending doom and dread when playing. Just like another game I've eulogised in these pages, Waxworks, the first-person perspective drags you into the adventure more than if it'd been a LucasArts sprite on the screen. It's a pity so few games nowadays opt for strength of story and atmosphere over balls out action. There are so many interesting stories and time periods we're missing out on as gamers because everyone's obsessed with gunning down hundreds of terrorists or zombies, or even terrorist zombies, in shooters.