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Prisoner of War

Prisoner of War by Infogrames Prisoner of War
by Infogrames

Platform: Xbox
ESRB Rating: Teen
ASIN: B000067DPH

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• Take on the role of Captain Lewis Stone, a captive of the Nazis
• Explore three meticulously modeled, fully 3D prisoner-of-war camps
• Lighting, weather, and other graphical effects
• Sophisticated detection, flocking, socialization and other AI algorithms
• Easy character control, with a wide variety of capabilities Product Description: On arrival at the prisoner of war camp, circa 1941, you will be introduced to life as a prisoner in Germany, as well as a variety of interesting characters from around the world. Soon you will be devising a cunning escape plan involving the theft of German tools from the German's own living quarters. There are three meticulously modeled, fully 3-D, historically realistic prisoner of war camps, including the infamous Colditz Castle. These camps are rich, detail-packed environments, brought to life with outstanding lighting, weather, and other graphical effects.

The immersive game world is made vivid by the artificial intelligence of its population. Sophisticated detection, flocking, socialization, and other artificial life algorithms work together to create a living, breathing world of distinctively characterized inmates and guards. Your character is able to talk to anyone he meets, pick up and drop objects, climb fences and walls, crouch, crawl, mantle along ledges, peek around corners, tap on walls to distract guards, throw stones, use a telescope, and perform a wide variety of special actions with particular objects. An intelligent context-sensitive action button system ensures maximum control intuitiveness at all times. It is possible to replay any completed level and aim to beat recorded escape times in order to earn new abilities.

From the Manufacturer: Shot down behind enemy lines you've been captured and imprisoned in a POW camp, you're hearing rumors that there's more to this war than anyone thought. Through a contact on the Escape Committee, your objective is clear: find out what is going on, follow your orders and collect your intelligence, then use your cunning, wits and skill to scheme through your missions and figure out a strategy to defeat the Axis masterplan......

Customer Reviews:
this game is definitely not wut i expected, November 11, 2002
Reviewer: immatur1ty from Michigan
Ok so i went up to the movie rental place expecting to get medal of honor frontline or maybe conflict desert storm, but to my surprise they hadn't even bought them. So, I look around...I hear harry potters a good game, but thats just not me. I pick up this one and it looks fun and from things I've read about it it even sounded like it would be fun. The truth is i got bored after the first 15 minutes. No joke. I figured u might be able to like atleast jump the fence and get cut with barbed wire and maybe run for a little bit getting chased but it theres barbed wire then you're not goin over the fence. If a soldier sees u all you have to do is hide in a bush even if they're right next to u all of a sudden they have no idea where u went. The worst part of this game tho besides the fact that u cant choose what u want to do in the order you want to do it or you have to go through hundereds of roll that you cant use guns. the best you can do is stones and ive thrown hundereds of stones at the guards but you cant kill them. So u get caught and spend one night in jail or get shot and spend the night with the nurse. Ok so next morning...same routine all over again. This is a boring game unless u just like sneaking around looking for things. It could have been much better

Bad game, November 2, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from Baldwin, MD United States
This game isn't even worth renting. It is so boring. You have to try to get past the German guards and everything you try to do gets you in trouble. Don't waste your money.

STAY VERY FAR AWAY!, October 4, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from Cedar Falls, IA United States
There's not enough words to discribe how bad this game is. Many of the short-comings have been pointed out by the other reviews. I liked the premise. After that, the game went down hill fast. Graphics, voices, gameplay, ect.- all very sub-standard. If all these warnings don't deter you, rent it. For around $$$ you will play it, hate it, and move on.

Could've been sooo much better!!!, September 21, 2002
Reviewer: gothgal from Sunny California
In prisoner of war, you play as smart-talking American Airforce Captain Lewis Stone. Your objective: escape from a German prisoner of war camp without being killed by enemy soldiers.

What attracted to me to this game was the premise: a game whose entire plot, revolved around ESCAPE, not killing, not fighting. ESCAPE. If you're like me, you might think this sounded intriguing... Or at worth the risk of checking out.

If you're interested enough to do so, be warned: Prisoner of War's graphics are about two years out of date. The voice-acting is good- to embarrassingly bad (especially the voices of the enemy soldiers), and the tutorial is non-existant, which makes navigating the game at early levels a challenge.

Pros: Cool idea, some fairly decent modeling for Stone, and other characters.

Cons: German soldiers have almost embarrasingly poor accents. Clunky interface, poor console controls, repetitive cut scenes, etc...

Overall, I would consider POW only average. Gaming fans who like 'stealth' based games like "Thief" might enjoy this one.

And in the middle of the road..., September 19, 2002
Reviewer: Jack O'Diamonds from Downtown, Coolsville
... I saw "Prisoner Of War", I mildly entertaining game not quite worth the three bucks it cost to rent it.

You see, I don't demand fast-paced action and violence in all my games. Heck, I still enjoy the occasional game of "Wordtris" for the SNES. But I do appreciate a little more effort than the makers of "POW" put forth. Here's a great example of a great concept executed with astounding mediocrity. It isn't promising that the first cutscene off a game looks like it was put together by a bunch of twelve year olds. Actually, all the cutscenes look that way. The Kommandant of the first camp looks like Bobby Hill from "King of the Hill". And my god, the voice acting. One of the other prisoners talks, and looks, just like Dale from "King of the Hill".

The graphics are so weak. XBox's main bragging point has always been its graphics. And there are some truly amazing looking games out there. But they should just sweep "POW" under the rug. Or taken a year or two to work on it. This is still the XBoxs first year so I'm willing to cut 'em some slack, but still there's no excuse for products this weak. I swear I could hear my XBox console sighing with boredom. I was too, so it was a duet.

The controls are okay. The camera is fine in open spaces but if you're hiding in a corner, the best way to look around is to hold the left trigger button. But since you can't move when using that POV, sometimes you're sneaking around blind. And going through doorways is also difficult at first.

So, please, do not spend fifty dollars on this. Just wait for Metal Gear Substance is you're into sneaking games or Medal of Honor in you're into WWII games. Because they can't be any worse than this. If "POW" leaves feeling anything, it's a strong urge to watch "King of the Hill".

Worst game EVER!, September 15, 2002
Reviewer: xerses from Reno, NV
I, like many others, was suduced by all the hype surrounding this title. I invisioned a game that offered another aspect to the time frame and was as fun and exciting to play as Medal of honor. I was sadly and greatly disappointed. First off the graphics are terrible actually "terrible" doesn't even begin to describe it. And then the made my head hurt. I was reminded of old "Hogans Heroes" re-runs. The Nazis were ignorant and goofy with really bad accents and the americans were all wise cracking "cowboys". The plot was pretty lame and the flow of the game was dreadfully slow and uninteresting. I found myself spending most of my time walking arround in crouch mode and circling Nazi guards just for kicks which got tiring after a few moments as well. I'm glad i rented it instead of wasting (Money) on it. I also printed out a label and attached it to the rented case as a warning to unsuspecting renters (i know thats bad) it read "Worst Game EVER". I recommend saving your money for the Next Halo.

GREAT FOR THINKERS bad for shooters, September 2, 2002
Reviewer: An 11-year old gamer
POW is is a great game! Voice acting is terrible, but that's its only major flaw. The idea is great, but no action. You can't get a gun and kill a guard or blow up the German barracks. This game is strictly stealth and espionage. I have a lot of fun with this game but if your a "Return to Castle Wolfenstein" fan, this game is not for you. If you would rather think how to get around a 10 foot wall instead of blowing it up, you would love this game. Rent or buy it!

A lot of problems, but I still enjoyed it., August 30, 2002
Reviewer: finalform from Dallas, Oregon USA
With better production values, this could have been a truly great game. There is a lot of interesting stuff here. Unfortunately the problems with Prisoner of War are quite numerous: the graphics look like a poor Dreamcast game, the camera is troublesome, the voice acting can be terrible at times, and the enemy AI is a bit slow. However, despite all these problems, I still had a ton of fun. I must be going mad.

In Prisoner of War you play the role of an American pilot who is shot down over Germany and imprisoned in a Nazi POW camp. What starts as a simple escape attempt turns into sabotage mission when it is discovered that the Nazis are using the POW camps as a cover for a secret rocket research program.

The game-play is kind of a cross between Shenmue and Metal Gear Solid. In each camp you're sent to, (five in all, although a couple of the camps are the same; just remixed a bit.) you'll receive orders from the senior officers of the escape committee. They'll usually have you fetch an item necessary to the escape plans, but occasionally you'll have to do other jobs such as photographing a spy, or sending a radio transmission to London. You'll find that it's usually necessary to question your fellow inmates in order to learn where and when you should go sneaking about.

Like Shenmue, time passes and each NPC has a specific path they follow throughout the day. You'll have to decide the best time to go out sneaking. This is really the best aspect of POW. The missions you're given, may all be linear, but how you go about completing them is up to you. . For instance, a door might have guards posted outside it during the day, but if you wait till night you may find the door unguarded. Also, there's usually many different ways you can get to the location; you'll have to decide what route to take as well as the time.

When sneaking around though, you'll have to keep an eye on the time, as you have to be present at morning and evening role call or they'll search the camp for you. This can be kind of annoying because time passes at a minute of real-time for every hour of game-time. This means that if you leave right after the evening role call, you'll have only about 8 or 9 minutes of real-time before you have to be back for morning role call. I hate time limits and I especially can't stand being rushed when I'm sneaking. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the AI is incredibly stupid and it's not too hard to hide from the search parties.

Any time you hide under something it's virtually impossible for the Nazis to spot you. Here's an example:

Captain Stone: *sneaking through a room full of Nazis*
Nazi Guard: *spots Stone* "Halt prisoner or you will be shot!"
Captain Stone: *crawls under a table*
Nazi Guard: "Where did he go?"
Nazi Guard: "Ah, I give up." *walks away*

Yes, that's what they actually say. (Or as near as I can remember.) This is just one of many instances where the AI just made me laugh.

Much of the time the camera is probably a greater enemy than the Nazis. Usually, it can be completely rotated when you're in an outdoor environment, but when indoors you have no control over it. Also, walking through doors can be quite difficult: the camera will often switch 180 degrees and zoom in on you. Pressing in the same direction will suddenly make your character walk back out the door and things can become quite confusing.

There's really nothing good you can say about the graphics. They certainly don't even begin to take advantage of the Xbox's power. It's funny though, even with these ugly graphics, the frame-rate still stutters quite a bit. Also, the characters look and move like zombies. Watching the credits I was surprised to see that they listed people for motion capture acting, as the animation is extremely jerky and not at all life-like. And the faces all have these weird vacant stares that just made me laugh the first time I played.

The voice acting is another weak point in the game. All the Nazis speak with the most ridiculous German accents. Combine this with the poor animation and weird facial expressions, and you have some pretty funny cut-scenes.

Despite all the problems I still liked POW. However, if production values are the most important thing to you, or if you're an action gamer and must have violence, (Sorry, you never get to kill any Nazis in this game.) then look elsewhere. But if enjoy sneaking games, and originality and innovation are more important to you than production values, then give this game a try. How many other games let you live the life of a prisoner in a Nazi POW camp?

Sound: 7/10 Bad voice-acting. Music does a good job of changing to fit the occasion though.
Graphics: 5/10 Ugly. Looks like a Dreamcast game.
Controls: 6/10 Camera causes a lot of problems.
Game-play: 9/10 I love sneaking games, and despite all the problems it was still quite fun.
Originality: 8/10 Sure it borrows from Metal Gear Solid and Shenmue, but I still found it to be quite original.
Value: 7/10 There's a good 15 or 20 hours worth of game-play and you receive a grade for how efficiently you escape from each camp, so there is some replay value. If you get a good grade you can unlock some stuff. (nothing very interesting though)
Final Score: 8/10 It has a lot of problems, but it was still a very fun experience for me. I must be going mad.

Not What You Might Expect, August 29, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from Pilesgrove, NJ United States
This game got everyone's hopes up for a realistic "prisoner of war" scenario. What you get is a preset plot with no divertion. Your viewpoint is nonchangeable and rigid. When you "sneak" about the guards can see you and your character looks like he's bopping along the screen-its very funny to watch. All in all not a game I would want to buy.

Not As Good As I Thought, August 29, 2002
Reviewer: ajcar1992 from Baltimore, MD USA
Set during World War 2, Prisoner of War drops you into the role of an Allied fighter pilot. Shot down over Germany, you are captured and placed into a P.O.W. camp. Using only your wits and a little bit of stealth, you must escape from the camp. Easily the biggest problem with the game is the lack of interaction with the game's enviroment. Out of necessity you can explore the camp, yet everything you find is mere window dressing. The only items you can touch aer those apsolutely necessary to the plot. As a result the game is forced down a straight path. Another bad thing is if you pick up an item you can only use it at a certain time. In the end, Prisoner of War is a great concept that never quite delivers on its immense promise.

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