- Stealth game
A stealth game is a
video gamein which the player needs to avoid detection. The genre was introduced in 1981 by the game " Castle Wolfenstein", but was not popularized until 1998, with the release of " Metal Gear Solid" for the PlayStation. The genre's best selling games are "Metal Gear Solid" and "", each with 7 million in sales. [cite web |url=http://sec.edgar-online.com/2004/07/22/0001193125-04-122301/section5.asp |work=Konami Corp - KNM Annual and Transition Report (foreign private issuer) (20-F) |title=Item 4. Information on the Company |date=2004-07-22 |accessdate=2008-01-14 |publisher= Konami] cite web |url=http://contactmusic.com/new/home.nsf/webpages/metalgearsolid3x21x05x03 |title=Konami of America and Sony Computer Entertainment America Announce That Metal Gear Solid 3 Will Be Available Exclusively for PlayStation 2 |accessdate=2006-11-26 |publisher=Contact Music]
"Castle Wolfenstein", originally available on the
Apple IIin 1981, is the earliest video game to employ stealth elements and have stealth as a focus of the gameplay (not to be confused with " Wolfenstein 3D", an early FPS title). Players were charged with traversing the levels of "Castle Wolfenstein", avoiding or killing the guards, stealing the secret plans and escaping. While the gameplay was primitive by today's standards, players could use the environment to sneak around guards, sneak up on or avoid guards while they were facing the other way, hold a guard at gunpoint and search him for supplies (dead guards could also be searched), or acquire uniforms to disguise themselves and walk by undetected. Having your weapon drawn while disguising yourself raised the ire of the guards, as well as firing a weapon (either to kill a guard or force open a chest as opposed to picking the lock). While not strictly a stealth-element, the game also employed the concept of limited-resources and acquiring resources from the environment. A player might be able to run-and-gun his way through the game , but would have a much better chance of success employing a deliberate, stealthy mode of gameplay.
sequelto "Castle Wolfenstein", " Beyond Castle Wolfenstein", released in 1984for the Apple II, expanded on some of the stealth elements by including a dagger to silently kill guards, allowing the player to bribe guards or acquire passes so the guards would grant access to certain areas, expanding the lock-picking mechanic, and even allowed the dragging of bodies to secluded areas to avoid rousing the suspicion of the guards.
Another early game to be primarily stealth based was
Sega's " 005", an arcade game released in December 1981. "005" was based on the spy theme popularized by the fictional character James Bondand his secret agent code 007. The game consisted of many stages, the main one involving stealing a briefcase and exiting a warehouse while avoiding the armed guards. The main character is armed only with a gas canister, which can be used to temporarily disable guards, and must avoid the guard's flashlight beams while navigating a maze to the exit.
Stealth elements were only rarely used again until
Hideo Kojima's " Metal Gear", released in 1987 by Konamifor the MSX2, and shortly thereafter for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
"Metal Gear" was followed by two independently-produced sequels that were both released in 1990: "
Snake's Revenge" in North Americaand Europefor the NES; and "" in Japanfor the MSX2 (the latter being recognized as the canonical sequel, being produced by Kojima himself). While the early "Metal Gear" games were moderately successful, the concept did not develop beyond those few games for almost a decade.
The genre didn't expand much further until the release of "
Goldeneye 007" on the " Nintendo 64" in 1997, which involved various areas where either a brute force or stealth approach could be used, with stealth often being safer. Other times stealth was essential for survival- particularly in escape situations. Next came ' (February), closely followed by " Metal Gear Solid" (September), both released on the PlayStation, and ' (November) on the PC, all released in 1998. " System Shock 2" also encouraged the player to use stealth through use of respawning enemies, severely limited ammunition and weapons that wear down with repeated firing.
Stealth games did not gain mass popularity until the release of "Metal Gear Solid". Since then, it was followed by a sequel ', a prequel ', and ' along with many more games in this genre, most notably the "
Splinter Cell", " No One Lives Forever", "Manhunt" and "Hitman" series. Other games incorporated a stealth approach as an option to players, notably " Deus Ex", ' and Bungie's "Oni". Many action games, such as "Medal of Honor" and " Syphon Filter", include stealth-based levels. Some survival horror games ("Siren" being one example) implement aspects of this genre. " Fatal Frame 3" has a character ( Kei Amakura) that must use stealth instead of combat, due to his limited camera capabilities. Some platform games as well such as " Sly Cooper" use stealth as a main component of gameplay. The "Legend of Zelda" series often has one or two stealth missions, most notably the first visit to the Forbidden Fortress in "". Also in " Paper Mario", at some points you had to control Peach and had to stay hidden from guards in the castle when it was controlled by Bowser.
Stealth games are typically designed to stack the odds against the player in situations involving multiple hostile enemies, and players who neglect to utilize a game's stealth mechanics in such situations are usually killed very quickly. Stealth games generally emphasize accuracy, planning, keen observation, and puzzle-solving skills. In stealth games, a player cannot simply walk into multiple enemies pathways. Stealth based games require that the player eliminates targets silently and without detection.
The enjoyment in a stealth game is usually (but not always) cerebral in nature. The ability to silently stalk an opponent or be within arm's reach of a potentially dangerous enemy and yet be completely unseen appeals to many gamers. These games also tend to have more emphasis on story, as part of a stealth game's impact comes from the ambiance that the game has, emphasizing urgency and the need to remain hidden. Likewise, stealth games also tend to contain more visual and sound cues than other games, again to heighten the experience. Fans of stealth games often find great excitement in the high-risk, high-tension gameplay and cinematic experience that is typical of the genre, whereas other gamers may find stealth games not enjoyable due to the lack of frantic action and occasional frustration at the high finesse that is often required.
There are several different kinds of stealth used in this genre. For example, the "Hitman" series uses disguises as the main way of avoiding attention, while in the "
Splinter Cell" and " Manhunt" series, hiding in shadows or behind objects is the best way to go. In the game " Assassin's Creed", the player has to blend in with the civilians to remain undetected by the many guards, and, in "Metal Gear Solid 3" and "Metal Gear Solid 4", using camouflage and the environment is one of the best ways to hide from enemies. In the game "Second Sight" you can make a hologramof your character that can run around for a while without being seen.
* [http://www.gamingtarget.com/article.php?artid=6786 The Unseen History of the Stealth Game]
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