Beyond the Law


posted 5/25/2004 by Tyler Sager
other articles by Tyler Sager
One Page Platforms: PC
Once a guard has been eliminated, the problems are not over. Other guards will notice a body lying on the ground, and will try to investigate. Well, investigate is a strong word. They’ll run up to the body, and start looking around, allowing clever players to sneak up behind and finish off the next guard. I’ve used this oh-so-clever trap to pile up as many as 8 guard corpses in one place. Kill one guard, wait for another to run to it (staying just outside that magic 15 foot line), sneak in and kill that one, rinse and repeat. If, for whatever reason you want to hide the body to keep from alerting guards, the operatives have been equipped with the latest in stealth technology—a green tarp. Yep, hiding a body means dropping a green tarp over it, and from then on no other guards will even care about the appearance of a green covering with a distinctly-corpse-shaped lump underneath. Not even the guard dogs notice anything amiss.

With all the amazing firepower these guards bring to bear, it would seem that, after a few guards are down, the characters could be walking arsenals. Unfortunately, that’s just not to be. There is no looting of bodies for equipment of any type. As said before, no character can use anything other than his or her starting weapon, even if that weapon is nothing more than a knife. Worse yet, these “crack elite” characters will only carry a very limited amount of bullets. The lowest-cost sniper carries with him 3 bullets. Three. After that, he’s completely useless for anything other than opening doors and turning off cameras.

Character AI is almost nonexistent. The operatives will do nothing without direct command from you. Each round fired from a gun requires a separate click. Characters won’t defend themselves, either by running or shooting back, when attacked by guards. There is no way I could have 2 characters attack at once, since they both require about 3 clicks to get in range and fire a single round. By the time the first character is in position and firing, the target is either dead or mowing down my entire team with frightening efficiency.

Not only does the game suffer from poor controls and even worse AI, the graphics and sound are well below par. Stuck at 800x600 resolution, the game appears very dated. I’m willing to overlook this if the rest of the game is high quality, but this is just dreadful icing on a very bad cake. The character dialogue is painful, and there is no option to turn off the character responses. They vocally respond to each and every command, every time. After the 50th time of hearing “Faster than you can say ‘Organized Crime’”, a small part of my soul shriveled up.

I just cannot recommend Beyond the Law: The Third Wave in any way. Poor AI, extremely clunky interface, lack of character upgradeability or customizability, and lackluster presentation all combine to make a truly disappointing game, even for the bargain price. Best to avoid this one.

A poorly executed squad based strategy game that is not even worthy of the bargain bin.

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