Christmas Day celluloid classic The Great Escape will no doubt bring back memories for the more 'mature' gamer out there; and now, thanks to SCi, you can relive those post turkey-and-trimmings nostalgia-thons by taking on Jerry as the man himself: Steve McQueen! Recreating some of the film's infamous moments, including the legendary motorcycle chase, and providing a playable back-story for pivotal characters, The Great Escape is one of the most promising war movie tie-ins to grace the PS2 since, well, Escape To Victory got over-looked (What? It would be great!).
Based on the eponymous Oscar-nominated 1963 film, The Great Escape has come a long way since its vintage ZX Spectrum incarnation (who could forget that one eh?), and comes fully licensed to depict characters, likenesses and other such legally exciting wotnot. Centring on the true story of a mass breakout of a POW camp during WWII, The Great Escape follows the exploits of a plucky group of prisoners who have pulled off more daring escapes than Harry Houdini.
Holed-up in the Stalag Luft III POW camp, the Allied soldiers must use any means necessary to get the boys out, without alerting Hitler's goons to their plans. There are four playable characters, and each has their own set of challenges to complete before you can move onto the next. So, for example, you'll start out as MacDonald, the group's resident German-speaker, then progress to the resident 'Mr Fixit': Sedgwick. And fear not McQueen wannabes, your moment of glory will come soon enough, when you step into the legendary shoes of his character Virgil 'The Cooler King' Hilts for a series of Nazi-slapping escapades.
The action's largely stealth-based, with missions seeing you creep about camp attempting to secure items or glean intel, all without alerting the guards to your night-time sojourns of course. If you do happen to get spotted by one of the guards, or 'ferrets' (Nazi escape prevention specialists) there's a couple of courses of action open to you. The first, slightly less risky option is to head for cover, skulk in the shadows and hope that no one spots you. The second choice involves taking out the 'ferret' that spied you, either by strangling them, or using any (preferably silent) weaponry you have at your disposal. There's also the rather nifty 'distraction' feature, whereby other cons will help you carry out missions by creating diversions for the guards.
In addition to the stealthy element to the gameplay, there's plenty of all-out action on hand to keep the pace up, and a variety of vehicles to commandeer as you mount your daring escape, including trucks, and the customary motorbike, of course.
Using a combination of slow stealthy acts, and high-adrenaline action sequences, The Great Escape melds a variety of gameplay to create an experience which accurately reflects the pace of the film. Fans of the 60s classic will be reassured that SCi and developers Pivotal have taken their acquisition of the licence seriously, creating a polished, engaging and entertaining bit of escapism.
- Control a variety of characters with different skill-sets, including lock-picking expert Hilts, and German-speaking officer-impersonating MacDonald
- Drive a selection of vehicles, such as a truck and a motorbike
- Mix of gameplay styles which mirror the film's pace, from slow stealth sections to full-on combat