Like many releases from Krisalis, Sabre Team is a simple strategy game. Easy to play, easy to win, but best of all for the publishers, it must have been an absolute doddle to write. The reason I'm assuming this is simply because it's already been written. Sabre Team has its roots in games like Laser Squad and also shows similarities to Paragon's Twilight 2000. It has exactly the same gameplay as Laser Squad, the same choice of weapons, and an isometric viewpoint and dodgy control system that will be familiar to players of Twilight 2000. So, a number of questions need to be asked in the face of all this unimaginative malarkey. Is it any better? Is it any worse? Is it sort of the same in some bits yet completely different in others? The tension is unbearable, I know, but if you will just sit patiently on the edge of your seats for the next couple of pages, all will be revealed. Sabre Team puts you in command of a team of crack top-secret sas agents (at least they would be top-secret if they didn't go running around in broad daylight waving great big guns about). To win the game, you must successfully complete five gruelling, death-defying missions, all of which fall into one of two categories. The first mission type involves killing lots of baddies and rescuing hostages. The second mission type involves killing lots of baddies and locating and destroying machines which program missile guidance systems.
Before embarking on a mission, you must select and equip four team members from a choice of eight. If you get completely bored equipping all your team members every time (I did), you can use one of the quick-start teams that come with the game. These outfits may not be as well equipped but at least they save you from falling asleep during the equipment selection stage. Once you've kitted all your dudes out with heavy gear, all you have to do is plonk them into the playing area and get ready for action.
Tile game is played on a turn basis. During your turn you move your four bods all over the place, have a pop at the baddies when you find them and escort any hostages you've rescued to safety (or alternatively, blow up lots of machines, depending on the mission type). Everything you do in your turn takes up a proportion of your team's allotted action points.
Your team members' skills in each area determine how many action points they will use when performing various actions. It's particularly annoying when one of your team members meets an enemy player and uses all his action points just lining up the target. There's nothing you can do when this happens except sit back and watch him get bumped off during the enemy turn before he's even had a chance to fire his gun. Bloody hell! All that messing about just to watch the silly prat getting wasted while reading the instructions on how to use the target sight on his brand new mi6. During the enemy turn you just stare at a graphic still of mean looking types with gas masks on and listen to people opening and closing doors. That more or less sums up all you need to know about what goes on during the missions.
So, have the chaps at Krisalis come up with the goods and beaten themselves at their own game? No, they haven't even come close. The graphics are average and the gameplay is the same throughout, despite the changes of scenery. The whole thing lacks inspiration and, unlike its predecessors, is totally devoid of atmosphere.
Even the digitised commentary during the missions doesn't help to lift things. A digitised voice self-importantly announces any significant events like 'Teather's down' or 'Teather's been killed'. Unfortunately, it sounds like a melodramatic football commentary and, rather than adding atmosphere to the game, it only succeeds in making the whole thing even tackier.
Sabre Team isn't exactly crap (you might get a few hours or so gameplay out of it if you're prepared to be patient), but it simply doesn't have anything special to make up for the mediocre graphics and gameplay, and at thirty quid, I can't recommend it.
Download Sabre Team
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP