The Great Escape

August 29, 2003

The Great Escape is based on the 1963 movie starring Steve McQueen. According to the IMDB the plot of the movie is:

Several hundred Allied POWs plan a mass escape from a German POW camp.

In the game, it’s you and a couple other guys. No biggie. It would have been difficult and annoying to have a “couple hundred” NPCs just hanging around being in the way anyway.

As a general rule, I have high hopes for most games that end up in my lap. I am fully aware that crappy games do come out and in fact outnumber the quality ones, but I am an optimist so I like to give games the benefit of the doubt. I try to give them a chance to prove to me that they can be good before I write them off as Bargain Bin games. Unfortunately for The Great Escape, that challenge seemed a little too daunting.

I don’t want to spend the entire review ripping on the game because you and I both know that this is a fully subjective topic and somewhere out there is a huge Steve McQueen fan that has been dying for a game based on this very movie. This review might have carried a more positive tone if that person had been me, but it wasn’t.

The beginning of the game is where you are captured by the Germans and placed in the POW camp. You start out in a plane where you have to fight off enemy planes with a mounted machine gun. Quite frankly, my frustration started this early in the game. It was almost immediately that I noticed the controls just seemed “sluggish”. Everyone has had one of those dreams where you don’t feel like you can run fast enough to get away from the “bad guy”. Yeah, the controls feel like that. I felt like I was in slow motion and it got very annoying.

My frustration was extended to the fact that I had to play that intro part a whopping 4 times before I found the stupid parachute and got to move on to the next level.

The game itself is very linear. As your progress thru each mission you basically run around talking to different people to complete tasks. Once you complete one task, you are given the next task. For what I played of the game, you never have more than one active task at a time; hence what I feel is a very guided and linear story. Some people prefer very linear gameplay, but I don’t personally care for it.

I may have some big problems with the game, but I can’t rip on the graphics too much. They weren’t awe inspiring, and I felt they were on par with what I had expected. However, the music in the game was just awful. I felt like I was listening to some generic 30 second track repeated over and over again.

To make matters worse, I got a hold of this game in the middle of my Knights of the Old Republic addiction. I set aside some time to pla
it hoping I would get into the story but it just didn’t happen. I got bored with the game after a very short time and just couldn’t play anymore.

I don’t know what kind of hand Gotham Games had in Serious Sam, but that game was loads of fun so I know they are capable of good material. The Great Escape just fell short in several key areas and fun happened to be one of them. It doesn’t happen very often, but I have to recommend that you let The Great Escape do exactly that.. escape right off the shelf and into the bargain bin.

Score: 1/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.