It’s many a gamer’s dream – to join the ranks of amazing spies the likes of James Bond and Natasha Romanoff. So what better way to achieve that fantasy than in a virtual world where you’re basically capable of anything?
These were my thoughts when I first entered Codename: Phantom from Imperia Online with a giddy feeling for what’s to come. However, after finishing the tutorial and starting on the first mission of 40 in the game, my hopes were soon dashed to nothing. Because while Codename: Phantom places you in the proverbial shoes of a spy, it’s nothing more than another stand in place shooter.
The game has you wielding your stock standard dual pistols at generic enemies who, for the most part, all look the same. The game promises “thrilling scenarios filled with tension” – however, in my playthrough it was merely amusing at times. I wouldn’t really use the word thrilling when describing this game. The whole game takes place in some sort of huge cellar (and later a warehouse) and at the start of each mission I get placed somewhere in said cellar with thugs walking around. They don’t notice me for some reason – even if they’re walking right by me – so I have time to plan my strategy. Not that a lot of strategy is needed if you just make sure you shoot everyone as fast as possible. In the first few missions at least.
A Brain Implant That Lets You See Through Objects
One of the more exciting parts of Codename: Phantom is a brain implant that allows me to temporarily see through objects and it highlights enemies and useful objects in red and green respectively. However, even this was a little disappointing because instead of making the game that much more compelling, it was simply a nifty little trick I could use to make the game a little bit easier. But not by much, because even without the extra vision ability I could still simply watch the enemies for a few moments to figure out where they all are. As for the objects, these were useless most of the time.
Sometimes I could get things done a little faster by shooting a gas can or generator, so more than one enemy could die at a time. However, shooting other “useful” objects such as steam pipes and pegs that were holding barrels up yielded no discernible results. The enemies would just ignore whatever effects these produced. Or they were too far away from them for the objects to be of use anyway.
Shoot ‘Em Up Then Move On.
There are around 40 missions in Codename: Phantom as promised, however each of them last for a few seconds only. Depending on your skill level with a gun of course. You get placed in a room and then have to bring down a storm of bullets on the three to eight goons walking around.
The missions do get progressively harder, especially when hostages and later bombs become a part of the equation. And if you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge then the game has a hardcore mode as well where even one bullet coming your way means death. Then at the end of each mission a screen comes up to show how many headshots you got an bullets you used and this then translates into a score and a ranking of either A, B, or C. But even this didn’t really incite any feelings of competitiveness in me.
Visually at least Codename: Phantom holds up well and probably the best part of this game is the voice acting. Most of the talking is done in the tutorial section by a woman taking you through the steps. She’ll then say some lines every time you win or lose a mission and that’s basically it. There’s no storyline besides that though. No reason is given for the missions and there are no NPCs and no character interaction. The whole game is just mission after short mission where you get placed in a room and then have to shoot all enemies present. And that’s it.
The Idea Shows Promise. The Execution Not So Much.
All of that being said, I could see the merit in the idea behind the game. Having to plan out who to shoot before either you or a hostage gets killed is novel and I could see the potential in creating a game where you have to plan your moves as a spy before you execute them. In practicality though, this game falls far short of that.
Check out the trailer below: