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January 31, 2005
Stolen - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
26/4/2005Hip GamesBlue 521$99.95

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Real-time hacking mini-game.
Stolen is a surprising game in that the developers Blue 52 opted to go with a much smaller publishing house in Hip Games rather then a larger more prominent publisher. Needless to say this game not only includes and interesting concept and solid technology driving the game but also seems to have all the right ingredients to make it a very enjoyable, and quite interesting title. With over 2 1/2 years development time Stolen is nearing completion and is just about to be released around the globe. So what's the story associated with this stealthy title...

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Anya hiding in the shadows.
Forge City is plagued by crime and corruption, heroes are found on the wrong side of the law. Anya Romanov is a sexy high-tech thief; Louie Palmer is the voice in her ear - advisor, confidant, friend. When an everyday job turns sour, they find themselves drawn into a web of conspiracy that will shake the entire city to the ground.

Stolen takes place across four rather large levels. The first is set in a museum which is only guarded by some pretty low rate cops. Your object there is to steal a diamond. The second level is a prison, the third a high rise building and the final mission is set inside a mountain base. These missions will be pretty large, however, with several hours required to complete each so there should be well over 10 hours of gameplay. As well as the main missions Anya also has side missions which can be completed which should waste a bit more time.

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Just hanging around.
While Anya has a wide range of high tech weapons and gadgets include tracking devices, nullifier, sonic visor and traversal equipment at her disposal she won't kill the enemies, only avoid or incapacitate them. In an interesting move Blue 52 have designed the game so that enemies will only show up in the radar when you have shot them with a small tracking device. This will keep the game very stealthy and stop gamers charging through levels as you never know what may be around the next corner. An interesting concept, and one which could work very well indeed. The sonic visor should also provide some interesting moments as it allows Anya to peer through doors (but not walls) to see objects or guards in the next room in a wire frame mode as a sound reflects of objects. It's not too dissimilar to the way in which Daredevil sees in the comic books and (poor) movie. If there is no sound Anya can whistle to create the reflections, but you have to be careful not to attract the attention of surrounding guards.

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It looks safe...
Littered through the levels are four mini-type-games. These include lock picking, hacking, steel cutting (where Anya must use a blowtorch) and safe cracking. Each of these "Gadget Games" occurs in real-time meaning that while you are opening locks etc the guards will still be patrolling. Of course being a stealth based title it is possible to hide in the shadows to remain undetected, which is not a bad way of performing these mini-games at times either.

Stolen looks like a very good game. The graphics are sharp, the stealth elements look tight and the overall atmosphere impressive. If you're interested in this sort of game then you may want to check out Stolen in a couple of months.