Tony Crowther‘s 1993 sequel to the classic Captive, Liberation: Captive 2 is a first-person action/RPG where you control a team of robots trying to rescue prisoners by looking for clues to their whereabouts, and by following leads to their location.
Liberation was designed with the CD32 in mind, so features lots of cut scenes, voice acting, and CD audio music.
The 2D graphics and cut scenes are beautifully drawn and coloured. The 3D first-person scenes are weird to say the least… You move around in a Hired Guns (tile-based) style and can enter buildings and talk to characters. You can buy stuff; sell stuff; steal stuff, and otherwise interact with the world. You can also fire whatever guns your robots are carrying at whatever’s in front of you. If you’re in combat: that’s good, but if you’re not it is quite easy to shoot a friendly NPC by accident and get the law all agitated… So you have to be careful who you shoot.
Picking up and manipulating items is strangely un-intuitive, and the movable, on-screen information windows are a little confusing. There’s a map; status panels for your four robots; a dialogue window; and a strip showing some computer chips that I never managed to activate.
I didn’t enjoy Liberation as much as Captive. Probably because the first-person sections look so rough… Also: exploring the huge city looking for clues didn’t really appeal to me either, because there were few landmarks and everything looked the same. I also got tired of being bumped off platforms by moving cars. At times Liberation can be utterly frustrating.
Not that Liberation is a bad game – it’s actually very good. The only people who are going to get anything out of it though are those who are prepared to focus and put in the time to learn where everything is. Because detective work is what this game is all about.
See also: Tony Crowther Week on The King of Grabs