Today we are looking at Jagged Alliance: Crossfire. The game is a stand alone expansion from a game that was remade in 1999. The original game takes place on the fictional south Atlantic island of Metavira, a former nuclear testing site. The nuclear tests altered some trees on the island, and several years later it was discovered by a scientist, Brenda Richards, that those trees, known as Fallow trees, produce unique sap that prove to be a medical marvel. However, Brenda also discovered that the trees could not reproduce.
Her assistant, Lucas Santino, realized how profitable this sap would be. He managed to convince Jack Richards, the leader of the scientific mission, that it would be beneficial to have two independent science teams. Santino consequently established a new base on the other side of the island. He immediately began to recruit new people and gradually took over the island by force.
When the game begins, the player is contacted by Jack Richards and is invited to the island. There, Brenda and her father request that the player hires mercenaries through the Association of International Mercenaries to reclaim the island from Santino’s forces sector by sector. While the original game gained quite some popularity, the remakes never quite made it. Maybe this new Jagged Alliance game will be a little more popular, although I have my doubts about it.
In Jagged Alliance: Crossfire the plot is not as complicated. The (once) peaceful nation of Khanpaa has been disturbed by ultra religious rebels who have taken over the country. The leader of them goes by the name of Ostensibly, an insane dictator who could probably get along well with Stalin. You’re job is to free the country with a bunch of inexperienced mercenaries who are terribly armed and seem rather clumsy at first sight, but eventually they should be able to get the job done, assuming you can master the controls and keep an eye on the map at all times.
For some unknown reason the citizens of Khanpaa are unable to fight back and silently obey to a life of slavery, working for the religious group that invaded the country. Due to old agreements and bureaucracy, the United Nations and the NATO can’t take action, which basically means they allow the religious dictator to do as he pleases.
The game is a tactical squad shooter. Basically the idea is to solve missions with a few hired mercenaries. You can stop the game at any time to give commands to one of your units, allowing the player to plan in advance. Unlike in the previous titles you are unable to create your own mercenary, which is a little disappointing.
In the missions screen you can approach various mercenaries by phone. In the beginning most will reject you, but as your reputation starts to build you are able to choose from more units, assuming you can afford them. The hired mercenaries only have one religion and that is money, so as long as you provide the coin they are willing to die for you.
Basically the game has two key components. The command menu, where you give orders, plan tactics and check on unit stats, and the live action part, where you can take on the enemy in realtime, which kind of reminded me of a standard real-time strategy game.
In every mission there are additional quests you can complete, areas you can liberate, hidden items to discover and stores to buy and sell items for, which you can equip one of your mercenaries with so they don’t have a loadout that will get them killed in a flash. That being said, most of the time you will be shooting tiny little puppets to pieces, which generally come in a large quantity.
The game does not provide the same amount of fun like previous released Jagged Alliance titles. Crossfire lacks strategic depth, because alot of things are done automatically. For example when you liberate a town it recruits mercenaries automatically. If it is recaptured there is no decent reward for freeing it again. On top of that the contracts expire too soon, meaning you constantly have to hire new people.
The graphics are okay, but are nothing special. The textures of the game look decent and the options menu allows some customization, meaning V-sync can be allowed and the game can be played in various resolutions. The sound is well done, as the game comes with some ingame voices that can bring a smile on your face, as some of them can sound quite enjoyable. However, the game tends to get a little repetitive because of the limited animations and can become quite boring, because the gameplay isn’t that great.
If you’re a die hard fan of Jagged Alliance I would recommend the game. If this is not the case this game is probably not right for you.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.