The Great Escape
With world War II games still proving popular, and a burgeoning trend for old film licences, an adaptation of the 1963 classic might seem a salient move. However, as anyone who has managed to stay awake during the perennial Boxing Day outing will confirm, there isn't actually a great deal of action to go on. Steve 'The Cooler King' McQueen bouncing a baseball against the walls of a solitary confinement cell might make for an intense study in macho defiance, but not necessarily a thrilling interactive experience. As such, this is more a case of a game inspired by the film, and as the title sequence states, features 'certain audiovisual components,' primarily McQueen's gob and the timeless theme tune, as appropriated by a generation of England supporters.
Essentially a 3D version of Commandos, missions are split between four characters-including McQueen - each with an array of different, albeit barely discernible, skills. Escaping from places naturally plays a large part in the proceedings, as does stealthily sneaking about. As such, there's a lot of hiding in the shadows, cunningly avoiding searchlights and crawling around on your belly to avoid the 'Goons', as the Axis forces are constantly referred to as.
All the WWII movie cliches are present and correct, with Germans speaking English in absurd accents while displaying a limited degree of (artificial) intelligence in keeping with their Hollywood portrayal. As such, they can be thrown off the scent by such ploys as dressing up in a German uniform, forging documents, and in one case simply hiding in the bogs of a train (if it can foil British Rail ticket collectors, it'll do for the Gestapo).
Kill All Dogs
Not being detected is key to success, and there are some genuine moments of suspense, with guards seemingly discovering you before dismissing it as the wind. And if you are spotted, there is always the option to make a comic bid for freedom, punching armed guards in the face and running for it. You are almost always shot or caught, but it at least provides some entertainment amid the constant skulking. That said, there are a few action-oriented missions, featuring vehicles, weapons and, impressively, strangling dogs.
Interface-wise, it is a bit clunky, utilising a pseudoadventure game inventory that effectively pauses the game whenever it is opened. And only having a limited number of saves per level may irk quick-save happy PC gamers, although it does ensure that you give it your full attention rather than running in gung-ho.
But despite the game's shortcomings, there is a stiff-upper-lip charm that encourages you to continue, if only to see what happens next. And it will take you a while to get through the 18 missions, culminating in the famous motorbike scene. Providing of course that you're still awake.
Download The Great Escape
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP