Hi everyone, it´s me Danilo and this week´s game is a very underrated game on Nintendo 64 that created important game mechanics used in 3rd person shooters today. Today I´m gonna talk about Winback Covert Operations for Nintendo 64! (Thanks to Thaís I was able to make this review, that´s because last month I was bitching in HOW AWESOME WAS WINBACK FOR N64 AND HOW COOL THE GRAPHICS WERE AND STUFF and HOW BAD IS THAT I CAN´T MAKE THIS GAME WORK IN ANY EMULATOR so she was tired of hearing me and gave it to me as a present in order to make me shut up. ♥ )
Sorry about the bad quality pictures...
Winback was released in 1999 for Nintendo 64 by Koei, later in 2001 it receives a remake on Playstation 2.
Following some of the standard stealth and infiltrating mechanics as Metal Gear Solid, Winback mix stealth gameplay with lots of shooting. So we can put Winback as a mix between Metal Gear Solid and Goldeneye. Winback also resembles Mission: Impossible, also released for N64.
Besides it´s resemblance with Metal Gear Solid, Winback has a simplified plot. You play the role of Jean-Luc Couger, a member of an elite group of soldiers called S.C.A.T. …lol that means (Strategic Covert Actions Team). A group of terrorists called Crying Lions has taken control of a satellite with a super laser weapon mounted in it and them destroyed a space research center with it. The terrorists say that they have no demands and they main agenda is only total destruction. It takes 3 hours to the laser cannon recharge and shoot another blast so it´s up to the S.C.A.T. team to stop it.
Ok, enough of small talk, let´s talk about gameplay!
Lots of people say that its gameplay inspired most third person shooter of this generation, what makes Winback’s gameplay quite revolutionary for it´s time. Let´s take a look into the controls.
Pull your weapon/Aim: R
Fire Weapon: A
Change Weapon: (C)UP
Hand to Hand Combat: A (close to an enemy)
Control Stick: Move/Aim
Cover: A (close to a wall)
Open Doors/Active/Pick up Items: A
Rotate Camera: (C)Left, (C)Right
Camera Mode: (C)Down
These are the basic actions in Winback, when you get familiar with the controls you´ll feel like a badass soldier from those 80s/90s action movies. In fact if you played Resident Evil4, or even Gears of Wars you´ll masterize Winback controls really fast. So if you´re also a modern games player you should have no problems with this one. So why I said it was revolutionary if it resembles all those games?
Well, if you remember it well, I said Winback was released in 1999, while Resident Evil and Gears of Wars are all pos-2005 games. So, Winback made use of cover system and the 3rd person aiming much earlier than both.
The stealth factor is also something very well done in this game. Let´s go back to Metal Gear Solid 1 where you basically HAVE to proceed through the game in a stealth approach, if you go insane and start shooting every single enemy an infinite army of enemies will continue to respawn and you´re pretty much fucked. In Winback you can complete missions in a stealth way or go shooting everything so, you actually have a choice. I´m not saying that Winback is better than Metal Gear Solid, don´t get me wrong. I´m just saying that to have this variety of actions in gameplay makes the game more attractive for a wide range of players.
But there´s a dark spot in Winback. The level design is boring. There are cool missions but in generally this game suffers from some problems that modern games also suffer like… Go straight… Kill some enemies… Go straight again… Winback could be an awesome game if they put some more effort in level design or mission design itself, putting some real challenge pushing into exploring the environment looking for keys, new routes and stuff but no.
This game is too linear compared, for example, to Metal Gear Solid, in which you have to think more, look for items and stuff. Here it´s just kill a bunch of enemies and proceed. Sometimes you have to look for an item but it´s easy to find and doesn´t really increase the level off challenge in this game. But as I sayed, this is the only black spot in Winback for me and the combat and boss battles are really cool. There are lots of weapons to choose and the handgun ammo is infinite so, you don´t have to save ammo, just worry about shoot bad guys, after all this is what matters in this game!
Winback has 20 stages and in some of these stages you´ll play as other S.C.A.T. members so this make the experience fresh. A downside is that you´ll need a MEMORY PAK to save your game so if you don´t have one… Sorry, pal, you´re in real trouble here.
Now let´s talk about… GRAPHICS…
Man this game´s graphics are sweet! The character models are simply amazing, take a look in this guy over here!
You can see cool details in they faces and stuff I know that their faces are actual textures but everything is very well done and detailed. They´re not like those awful blocky characters from Goldeneye. Sometimes I almost think that I´m playing some early Dreamcast game to be honest.
But… The backgrounds are blend, with some boring textures and colors. I think that the N64 cartridge also collaborated for this, maybe they´re where out of space or something like that but at the end of the day Winback looks good.
Sadly I can´t say the same about the sound department… Most part of the tunes are weak and boring, and there is NO VOICE ACTING AT ALL. I really think that this is very sad after all, Megaman 64 and Resident Evil 2 prove that the Nintendo 64 can handle voices with no problem so I didin´t get the problem… However gunshots and SFX in general are very good so at leat this will make you happy.
Well that´s all about Winback Covert Operations for N64 a very good third person shooter/stealth game for n64 and also very overseen. So take my advice and go play this awesome game!