The stealth FPS you’ll love and hate
Project I.G.I. is a tactical first-person action-shooter video game wherein you play as a secret agent tasked with retrieving information about a stolen nuclear warhead. Developed by Innerloop Studios and published by Eidos Interactive back in 2000, this game is also known as Project I.G.I.: I'm Going In and featured stealth missions reminiscent of the Metal Gear Solid series. It spawned a sequel titled I.G.I.-2: Covert Strike.
The dangerous life of a secret agent
Project I.G.I. follows the story of Agent Jones, who has been tasked with capturing Josef Priboi for information about a missing nuclear warhead. You play through mission levels of different locations where you have to complete objectives in order to get closer to Priboi’s current whereabouts. These will unlock once you complete the previous mission. Accompanying Jones via earpiece is Anya, who gives him his objectives by pointing out areas of interest.
You start off with 4 weapons: a combat knife and three different guns. You also have binoculars and a map that contains your progress log and objectives. To get more items like ammo, grenades, and medkits, you need to explore the current location—but guns and their ammo can easily be looted off eliminated enemies as they won’t despawn. Thus, it pays to be patient and eliminate all hostile NPCs to keep yourself well-stock.
The game places emphasis on being stealthy, as there are also cameras and alarms. You can hack into security buildings to disable cameras for a few minutes but this has a hidden timer so it’s recommended to destroy them when you can. The alarms can also be disabled with buttons scattered over the place but they will sound off again if an enemy gets alerted enough. Unfortunately, they tend to miss your presence a lot.
Prepare your disappointment
The poor enemy AI is one of the chief drawbacks of the game. They have a limited range of sight and sound—even if you fire at one with a non-silenced gun, they usually won’t hear it and may not even see a dead body if they’re far enough. Alarms also won’t affect all enemies—although, in a way, this limit may be due to the game’s lack of a non-lethal method of elimination that won’t make any sound.
Another issue in the game is the complete absence of a save system. There are no checkpoints to load you in the middle of a mission. Once you die, the mission fails and you’ll be brought back to the start, all progress lost—and most missions are long. It doesn’t help that you have no way of taking down enemies without them making noise so this just makes the game frustrating to complete.
The last problem is the lack of a multiplayer mode, although this isn’t too important in a game. However, it’s still disappointing to see a shooter game implement stealth tactical mechanics and not give players the opportunity to team up or go against each other like other shooter games of its generation. I.G.I.-2: Covert Strike was given this mode—and the ability to save—just because of how much the fans wanted it.
A benchmark for future stealth games
Project I.G.I. was actually a much-anticipated game during its time, as it had a different gameplay style compared to the other FPS games back then. However, the severe lack of vital features and the overall dull AI programming in response to the player’s actions made for an unsatisfactory experience. Surprisingly, however, it still became popular and is now a nostalgic piece in stealth shooter fans’ childhoods.