By Renat Batraev (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Earth... New era... Surfing the cyberspace is the essencial part of people's lives. All movements are controlled by a powerful system known as Central Computer.
The beginning of millennium turned the world into a disasterous situation: ecological destruction, overpopulation, constant catastrophes and wars threatened to destroy the life completely. As the situation grew worse the leading scientists created CyberBrain - a supercomputer that solved all the global problems. The life was concentrated in large megapolises where the Central Computer maintained a normal way of life.
To let people have a rest the CyberBrain creates a virtual paradise where everyone can leave all their problems. The cyber network wrapped up the whole city like a cocoon, so, nobody could imagine living outside it. Crises and militant mood vanished away, and the mankind rocked on the sweet waves of the virtual world.
But good life stopped the progress: birth-rate was going down to catastrophic levels and I.Q. was constantly decreasing.
But there is a man in that megapolis who spends most of his time in the Net where he is a God. His name is Hacker. Once, while in cyberspace he managed to break into a secured area and came across a series of strange data packets. Having copied them to disk, he noticed some agents who were already knocking on his door.
Hacker gets his gun lying under a thick layer of dust on a shelf and runs out of the house a second before his door breaks down. He doesn't know yet that everything he believes in is going to be a part of the past. If earlier he was a God now he is just a homeless guy kicking his heels around a dirty trash bin outdoors. The only thing he is able to do professionally is to crack computer protection and get into encoded areas of cyberspace. And now, with a small handgun, he is to survive. Survive and get information on those strange data packets he caught in the Net.
So, Hacker is you! This is how the life kicks off in the new project of MistLand "Paradise Cracked". The game is a turnbased strategy that accumulates the best features of such games as UFO and Jagged Alliance with combats taking the most part of time and widely used RPG elements.
Keep on killing enemies to find out answers to all the questions and to save the world and finally to save your life. You will notice that there are not many ordinary people out there; all districts are taken over by fighting criminal organizations, gun is what controls everything, betrayal and robbery became typical in the slums. Even police patrols feel no desire to get in the criminal den.
When walking on the different levels the first thing your eye catches is dirty streets, armed mobsters and small private shops. Apart from trams and sell-robots there is nothing that could give a hint of the tremendous progress of the mankind. In a word, the slums with the dregs of society run their dirty business and constantly break the law.
The megapolis consists of several gigantic levels, and the higher - the more expensive and beautiful the houses are, the streets are cleaner and the cops work better. Each level (floor) consists of several maps and you can freely move from one map to another. The number of such maps on one level is kept in secret. Not all levels can be simply walked in, some open only when you fulfill certain tasks. Once you climbed a higher level you will never return to lower ones.
The game comes with a great heap of additional missions you get from passers-by. You can ignore all the tasks but if you fulfill them you will get something precious and experience. There is no a strict sequence of missions - a player determines himself the direction the game develops in. Besides, you can determine your behavior, i.e. you can be a merciless killer (approach the target any way possible), or you can stick to your moral principles and spare lives of peaceful population, help weak people and kill only rogues.
From time to time you will meet people wishing to join your team. Each person, either a cop or a tramp, has a set of parameters that determine its nature. They are Strength, Dexterity, Reaction, Accuracy, Wisdom, Mechanics, and Marksmanship.
All parameters are interconnected, that is why with a certain number of points you can improve your hero, but do it carefully. For example, Hacker doesn't have much strength and reaction from the very beginning and it's useless to make a good warrior of him. You'd better spend resources for his other abilities as there is, for example, a sniper to engage in combats...
It's impossible to train universal soldiers. Besides, usage of some gun types requires much strength hackers and snipers are deprived of, and others types, devastating guns, require quite a high IQ level. All the same concerns ammo as well. There won't be types left aside - each has its advantages and disadvantages and you will have to make a team of at least two personages. Hacker can gather up to 5 people around him.
You can get points when you fulfill tasks of inhabitants of the megapolis. In this case each team-mate gets equal number of scores (as tasks are fulfilled by the whole team). If an enemy is killed 80% of the scores go to that who strikes the last blow; the rest are divided between the others. If a hacker manages to crack a computer he gets all owing scores.
Another way to improve heroes is to use implants which increase levels of certain abilities. They can make one stronger or regenerate damaged tissues (which is very useful;) or even raise an IQ. But once you have inserted an implant you can take it off only in a special lab; the megapolis doesn't have any.
So, with a right team you have a chance to get on top of the world, i.e. onto the elite floors where all answers can be found. Try not to lose you team-mates as they guarantee you life and your moving up.
It's not easy to fight against government forces and elite divisions. You shouldn't always boast of you bravery - sometimes it's better to manage by ruse or simply escape or run behind your enemies. It's vital to know how to use the relief and hide under cover.
You should accurately choose guns for your personages. Do not overload them. Everyone should be given a gun he or she copes with best of all: for example, a sniper must go with a high-precision weapon. There is abundance of weapons: pistols and sub-machine guns, rifles, machine guns, exotic weapons like hi-tech sniper rifles and rocket launchers. In addition to various weapons, there are different types of ammo for them. There are also several types of grenades which are powerful and absolutely devastating which can easily put an end to any combat. But be careful, do not explode yourself.
Try to save lives of peaceful people during the fights. Even if you hit one of inhabitants occasionally he will be marked as an enemy and if you kill him - some experience points will be withdrawn and the moral level of your people will get lower.
Guns can be taken from dead enemies or purchased from merchants, you can also sell trophies to them or get implants and special devices which cost a lot of credits. Each merchant has its own prices for weapons; quite often they buy guns below the "official" cost and sell at a higher one, but there are some loyal sellers who are ready to pay through the nose for each gun. As soon as you meet them - get the occasion to stuff you pockets with credits.
At higher levels enemies get more dangerous and it's a real problem to kill them. Cyborgs are real devastators, but sometimes you can make them work for you. But you must have a sufficient IQ level and good luck as you must approach everyone. Walking Death is another disaster to be dealt with.
Both personages and levels are carefully developed, they are all three-dimensional. Animation of the heroes is excellent, as well as special effects; the physical model of the game looks realistic. Blow-ups, shots, breaking glass and shop windows, energy fields and huge scientific centers, models of weapons and equipment, correct shadows and lighting are of top quality. The scenery changes often so that I don't get tired of it.
Sound in the Paradise looks decent as well. Shots and explosions and conversations are top notch. Sometimes your heroes speak really ridiculous and funny things. They can have their own opinion on what's happening in the game. They can voice it and it can even contradict to yours :)
Summary: if you have spent a great deal of time playing UFO and Fallout this game may take even more. The Paradise carries you away for hours, especially when you get used to the interface and learn the tactics. In any spare minute you start up the Paradise and look forward to a chance to drive a fruity burst of fire into your enemies. I spent two weeks playing this game and I'm sure that the Paradise will hit the top marks.
And finally, let me give you some advice so that you don't make silly mistakes as sometimes realization of wrong movements comes hours later. If you want to develop your own tactics do no read them.
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