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Developer:Blue 52
Publisher:Hip Games
Platform:PC; PS2; Xbox
Genre:Stealth Action
Release Date:April 2005
PC System Requirements

A cross between Tomb RaiderTM and ThiefTM, Stolen is set to be a classic! The basic premise for the game is stunning in its simplicity, yet breath-taking in its ability to deliver continuous game play to the end of the final sequence.

You play Anya Romanov who, according to the blurb on the box, "is one of the greatest thieves alive." Your newest mission is to steal a fabulous jewel from the local museum, but part way through it becomes clear that something else is going on, something that Anya can’t help but become mixed up in (well, there would be no story otherwise, would there?) The voice in your ear, guiding you through the pitfalls and traps of Forge City is Louis Palmer, war veteran and communications expert, lately guide and confidante.

If you like the genre you will love Stolen; if you prefer a “shoot ‘em up” then this is probably not for you, silence is vital and shooting guards only draws attention to you, something no self-respecting thief wants, right?

Between travelling through a seemingly labyrinthine environment and alternately hiding from or sabotaging the museum security staff, all manner of puzzles will test your ingenuity as well as your patience. Safe-cracking, lock-picking and computer-hacking abound with only the sometimes odd camera angles detracting from game play.

The ‘real-time volumetric shadows’ mean you can hide from cameras or guards who are standing only a few feet from you. This and the ability to scale some seemingly vertical walls, soon becomes an intrinsic part of your psyche as you stalk through the various locations using Anya’s many gadgets to circumvent the local security systems.

The graphics are very smooth, avoiding that ‘blocky’ appearance of only a short while ago whilst not sacrificing anything in the storyline. Game play can be difficult though, as those odd camera angles can play havoc with a well timed manoeuvre, though it beats some rivals by having a ‘persistence of movement’ feature, (for the uninitiated this means that, if you are holding a key to move Anya forwards when the camera angle changes, you can keep holding that key and she will continue to move forwards until you release the key or she hits an obstacle... very handy!)

Though ideally suited to the Pentium 4 this will play easily on Pentium 3 (1Ghz) or equivalent. It is a realistic stealth-based game, set in almost cinematic locations. The pace changes from one moment to the next, sometimes you are scamming for every second, other times you can just ‘hang around’ and catch your breath…

I have loved playing this game, the in-game training of the first short section is enough to set you up for the whole game, finesse comes with practice and there is no doubt the situations get more difficult as you progress through the story. I know I keep mentioning game play, but here it comes again - I get so tired of playing games that are so lacking in innovation you can leave them for months and not miss them! Stolen is not like that, it gripped me from the start and I abandoned family, house and work until it had been completed! Game play like that does not come along too often, and it needs to be grabbed and held onto when it does!

All in all an excellent game, and one that I, at least, expect to see on game store shelves for a long time to come. I thoroughly recommend this title to any serious gamer.

PC System Requirements:
Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
Pentium 1 GHz
64 MB RAM (Win 98/ME)
128 MB RAM(Win 2K, XP)
GeForce 2 equivalent video card
900MB free space