Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39520)
Written on  :  Jan 11, 2006
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars

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Spy on your own comrades and get away with it

The Good

KGB (or Conspiracy as the CD-ROM version is known as) is based on a series of events that took place in August 1991, a time when Mikhail Gorbachev was president of Russia and the USSR had only a few days left before it's tremendous collapse. In the game, you play Maksim Rukov, a former soviet officer who is transferred to Department P in KGB headquarters after his parents were blown to pieces in a booby-trapped car. Department P's objective is to investigate and prevent corruption within the KGB itself.

Rukov's first mission for Department P is to investigate the mysterious death of a private detective. This involves searching his apartment for clues as to how and why he died, Like the story so far? Well, it gets even better. As the investigation progresses, Rukov discovers double agents are working against him and he uncovers a much, deeper plot concerning the importing and exporting of snuff videos.

One of the most interesting parts of the game is recording conversations between a group of characters using a tape recorder that is supplied to you earlier.. It is even interesting to hear what the characters have said as the plot thickens. Speaking of the snuff video, the game tells you what happens in the video in great detail. I pictured the whole scene in my mind, and what took place was pretty barbaric.

KGB uses an interface that is easy to learn straight away. Actions are performed by right-clicking the mouse to activate a verb bar which includes commands such as Look, Move, Talk, and Fight. At the bottom of the screen are icons that let you access the options, map, inventory, and back-track options. The back-track option is there so that you can go back to a previous moment, and this is useful if you made a mistake that gets you killed or jeopardizes your investigation in any way.

The game is rather difficult, as more often than not, you need to remember what characters told you earlier to assist you in uncovering evidence of corruption. Furthermore, you can't afford of doing things at the last minute. When you are dealing with the KGB, you need to be careful what you say, because saying the wrong things may compromise your investigation.

The graphics are almost cartoon-like, and the game makes you have the feeling that you are walking in offices, whether or not you are invited, and it is nice to see little gadgets around the room. The characters that you meet are drawn nicely, and they are so Russian-like even though they all have red faces. When you are speaking to them, the game provides a close-up of them as well as the backgrounds behind them. While they are finished speaking, I enjoyed them making faces as you – eyebrows raised, smiles and frowns, etc. (while still at close-up)

The sound effects are non-existent. This is reasonable considering that KGB uses a similar interface as Dune, and that Dune has no sound effects at all. There are six pieces of music in the game, and they are a pleasure to listen to while you are playing the game. I enjoyed listen to the sixth piece, and because of this, I plan to re-create that piece in the near future.

The CD-ROM version of the game has an intro that gives you some info on Rukov's background, and covers his relationship with his parents, how they died, and how Rukov is transferred to Department P. The game also features Donald Sutherland who plays his dead father. Sutherland does nothing but give you blatant hints on how to get through dangerous situations, as long as you enable this in the game's options. He can be accessed by going into the inventory. I enjoyed it as he says “If you need any help, my son, just think of me”. The default option enables Sutherland provides little help, where he says such lines as “Act with confidence, Maks. You are a Rukov.” and “Stop bothering me, Maks. You know what must be done.” and provides little hints.

The Bad

In my opinion, the CD-ROM version could have done with more work. It was nice for Cryo to add Sutherland as a secondary character who helps you along the way, but the game would have more depth to it if full speech support had been added. Because of this, I provided the narration for the game. I did an excellent job at it, too, although it was hard to say several people's names. About 210MB was wasted on the CD, so there was no reason why Cryo was against full speech.

The dialogue was sometimes hard to follow, with characters sometimes giving too much information away at once that it goes in one ear and out the other.

There are only four save game slots, which is not very useful if you want to save at a specific moment where you know some event will happen. Nor are you able to give a meaningful description about the game. On the plus side, however, KGB tells you how close you are in completing the game.

The Bottom Line

KGB is rated 15+ by ELSPA, and understandably so. There are four chapters in the game, and in the first two, you have to deal with your closest enemies with violence. An example of this is when you attack one of the vicious thugs and put him in a trash can in a street. Another example is killing someone inside your hotel room, put him in a wheelchair, and toss him into the canal.

The game has an interesting storyline, and throughout the game, you are required to tape conversations, break into offices of your fellow comrades for incriminating evidence and use it against them, and report to your boss. If you make a mistake, it may cost you your career or your life. There are four chapters in the game. The first two are much longer, but you will do some rather interesting things in these chapters.