Back in the old days of computer games (meaning around 1998), Quake II had just been released, and was generally being regarded as one of the best FPS games ever. A number of other games came out, some based on the Quake II engine, that tried to build on the money-making formula.
One of those games was called Sin, released by Ritual Entertainment. It told the story of John Blade, the leader of a security company in the fictional city of Freeport, and his battle with the beautiful and deadly Elexis Sinclaire, the lead of the evil Sintek pharmaceutical corporation.
It turns out that Elexis' company has some tie to a drug wreaking havoc on the streets of Freeport, and itís up to John Blade to bring it to a halt. Sin had a lot of things going for it. Interactivity with the environment, good use of graphics, and a decent story (at least compared to some of the other games coming out). It had some bugs though, mostly involving long load times for the levels (in computer time, that means about one minute) and some other show-stopping bugs. But one of the biggest problems was the fact that it came out at the same time as another game, Half-Life, generally regarded as one of the best games ever made. So, Sin faded into obscurity, along with its mission pack (Wages of Sin).
As is so often the case these days though, Ritual went back to the past and decided to resurrect the game, this time using the same game engine that powers Half-Life 2. The result is Sin Episodes: Emergence, an episodic game designed to give the player 4 to 6 hours of game play for a reasonable 15 to 20 dollars.
For those people (like me), who tend to play in fits and starts, its a great formula. And guess what, I actually finished the game!
You start out strapped to a table in a lab, with the somewhat imposing figures of Viktor Radeck (a mobster) and Elexis Sinclaire herself looking down upon you.
They inject you with an unknown drug, and are awaiting the results when there's an explosion (you'll be seeing lots of those in this game).
Out of the smoke comes Jessica Cannon, your faithful sidekick. She accompanies you on some of the levels, providing much needed firepower. Believe me, you'll need it.
She also keeps you on your toes towards particular goals, as well as provide suitably biting commentary if you stare at her too long. So don't do that!
She rescues you from the lab and you head back to HQ, where your friend from the first game, JC, is in charge of hacking the Sintek computers.
You quickly realize that in order to find out what drug you were injected with, you'll have to find Radeck, which means that you'll have to infiltrate the Sintek office tower. That is no easy feat, as the game will throw hostile forces as well as brain-teasing puzzles at you constantly.
You'll also have to deal with boss monsters on some levels, like this fellow to the left (don't worry, he's not as tough as he looks).
One great thing about the game is the way it adjusts to your skill level, so if you're not such a great shot at first, the game gets a bit easier ... as you develop your skills, it starts throwing more stuff at you.
There were a couple of levels where I died a few times, but it never becomes frustrating to the point where you want to quit. Also, once you finish the game, there's always the "Arena" mode. You select a map, then you're transported in and the game starts sending waves of hostiles after you.
Your goal is to last as long as possible while killing as many hostiles as possible. I haven't tried but a short game, but it is fun to play.
If you like FPS games, and you don't have time to play regularly, then Sin Episodes is for you. There's a certain satisfaction to be gained by actually finishing the game, as well as being able to see all of your statistics at the end like Sin shows you.
You can even compare how you've done with the best players on the official Sin Episodes website. Anyway, I hope they actually come out with Episode 2, because I'm anxious to see how the whole thing plays out. Just a hint ... stay through the end credits, they are pretty funny.