FIRST: This article is not in ANY way associated with SEGA at all. This is my personal and awfully written opinion. I value my employment. KAPEESH?
Now we've got the professional jiggery-pokery out of the way; buy more Sonic games.
Confidential Mission has everything I could ever want in a Secret Agent shooter – appalling voice acting, infinite pistol ammo, a plot arc that is so flat it would be deemed an insult to arcs. This game is the most linear and predictable experience imaginable, and it's my favourite Dreamcast game ever.
Here's a taster of the balls-to-the-wall gameplay and scintillating voicework which meant that it got nearly completely ignored upon launch. The storyline, as I can gather it, goes like this: Confidential Mission Force begins the game by having lead characters Agent Gibson and...the other one...attempting to hack into a computer owned by a member of a nefarious terrorist alliance who have stolen a satellite. Or something. The computer (and by proxy one of the terrorist strongholds) is in a museum, of all places. A museum! Why are they in a fucking museum? Ah who even knows, I just want to shoot stuff.
Your two secret agents download the data onto what appears to be a Minidisc, only to have it stolen by midget John Candy on acid. Dressed in a smart suit, Candy is flanked by two mean soldiers holding guns...so obviously it makes sense for the also-armed secret agents to let him escape after spouting a mean threat or two. Once you begin chasing Mr Goblin through the museum, you're assaulted by all number of baddie stereotypes.
Only in Confidential Mission they all appear at the bloody same time. Why are there policemen, soldiers, special forces guys and ninjas all in one place? Also, if this museum is their stronghold, why are they insistent on catapulting themselves through windows and kicking down doors? There seems to be very little survival instinct or respect for people's property in the average goon.
“Look at all the people!” says ladyface. “Yeah, and they are not here for the exhibits.” quips Gibson, after a few minutes of murdering nameless chaps in cold blood. Logical thinking Gibson; the people who are shooting big shooty guns at your face are not there to wander around appreciating all the modern art you just blew up. This script is FANTASTIC. Anyway, after a bit more shoot shot bang bang, midget John Candy after a lobotomy gets killed by our heroes and the level ends. I think the museum takes about 12 minutes to complete, if you're slow. Not bad!
However, it's not just the thrilling thrill-ride of the museum players have to look forward to in Confidential Mission. You next have to fight through a train packed with foes before assaulting a missile base/submarine where you have to leverage a satellite to fry the final boss and clai...wait.
Yeah, so Confidential Mission has 3 levels. That's right. 3 levels. This game lasts around half an hour. Half an hour of my favourite Dreamcast nonsense is still only half an hour though; at full price this shit shouldn't really have been able to hit the shelves without at least a disclaimer on the front of box that read 'WARNING: THIS GAME IS INCREDIBLY SHORT AND UNAMUSING AND A BIT CRAP'. Although, at the end you are treated to an out-take reel. Skip to 11.26 in the video below to see it in all it's glory.
What utterly baffles me about this is: why did they not put the time they spent into making these outtakes into making, I don't know, say, another fucking level? Seriously? While the outtakes are pretty amusing, I know what I'd like more. Another level. Bringing the total up to 4 levels. 4. There's also a 'Justice' score at the end of the game. You don't collect justice, or earn it from combos. There is NO indication of how you do justice, aside murdering several hundred innocents.
Now, you may be asking yourselves “Hey Sean, while I buy a new Sonic game, can I ask why you're being so negative about your favourite game ever?” This would of course be a very good question. Why did I pick this game over Shenmue, a title I poured hours into, just visiting arcades and buying drinks and toys? What makes it better than Jet Grind Radio, an amazing example of the fusion of art and music in the framework of a top-quality videogame. How about Phantasy Star ONLINE?
I'll level with you. When I said Confidential Mission was my favourite game, I didn't actually mean it was the best. God no; I've got more taste then that. Confidential Mission is utter garbage. It's junk. Awful, hackneyed tripe that probably sold 5 times the amount of units it deserved to sell. That number is, by the way, zero.
Confidential Mission is so utterly despicable that it's managed to cross over in my mind – it registered so far on my mental shit-richter scale that it blew a fuse somewhere in my brain. Now, whenever someone mentions the Dreamcast to me, all I can think about is one game – Confidential Mission.
I still know it's bad, mark my words. It's just inescapably bad, and for that reason alone I can't recommend it enough. For anyone tired of the endless parade of Call of Duty clones, pick this game up with a used Dreamcast; I give you about half an hour before you rush back to your nukes and killstreaks crying like a baby and begging for forgiveness.
You can find Sean Bamberger on Twitter, where he does talk about things that aren't Sega related! Amazing!