Chrome is a 2003 first-person shooter video game developed by Techland and published by Gathering of Developers in Europe and Strategy First in North America. It was re-released with additional levels in 2004 as Advanced Battlegrounds: The Future of Combat (in some countries called Chrome: Gold Edition). A prequel, Chrome SpecForce, was released in 2005. In March 2006, Techland announced a sequel, which would feature the latest version of the Chrome Engine, but was reported to be \"on hold\" soon after.
Chrome is a first-person shooter, and most of the gameplay involves traversing 3D environments by foot and fighting human enemies with an array of ranged weapons. Occasionally, the player has to solve simple puzzles and find keys that allow to enter new areas. What made Chrome stand out upon its release was that a large part of the game's action takes place in vast open areas, providing some tactical freedom to the player. The player is also able to utilize six different kinds of vehicles that allow for fast movement and provide protection as well as heavy weaponry in some cases. Another feature that was not common at the time was the ability to slightly zoom in with every kind of weapon.
Despite being a rather classical linear FPS game the developers included several features atypical for this kind of game, some of which were inspired by System Shock 2 and Deus Ex that utilize more RPG mechanics. There is a wide array of items that the player can pick up, this not only includes weapons, ammo and health packs but also food or even CD players which have no practical purpose (but can be used to play short music loops). Inventory space is limited and the items are being managed on an inventory screen similar to those seen in System Shock 2 and Deus Ex. The player sometimes has to rearrange items and has to decide which weapons to take with him. Before all missions, aside from the first one, the player has the ability to customize his weapons loadout.
Another feature inspired by Deus Ex is the ability to use implants. Over the course of the campaign Logan automatically receives implants which give him superhuman abilities such as increased accuracy, movement speed, jump height, zoom level or even reaction time which is simulated by introducing slow motion (generally known as Bullet Time among gamers). The use of these implants, however, causes a physical strain that may hurt Logan if they are not deactivated in time. This strain is symbolized by an additional energy bar which automatically refills over time but can also be replenished by using special items. All implants can be managed separately but it is also possible to create four groups of implants that will be activated or deactivated at once. For example, the player is able to create one group consisting of increased accuracy and a higher zoom level which could be utilized for long-distance combat and another one consisting of slow motion and increased movement speed for close combat. At first the efficiency of the implants is rather low and the strain very high but over the course of the campaign Logan gets used to them which results in him being able to use them for longer and gain higher bonuses.
The game takes place in the distant future and the player assumes the role of bounty hunter Bolt Logan. On the first assignment in the game he is betrayed by his partner and gets ambushed. He survives and while trying to escape the complex he meets a woman named Carrie. He does not know her motivations but as they are both trying to escape the guards they decide to work together. After successfully leaving the planet she becomes his new partner who will support him via radio on all future assignments. As the game progresses the two discover a great conspiracy involving the discovery of the most valuable resource known to mankind: \"chrome\". They make contact with several factions and on the final mission it is up to the player to decide which faction Logan will stick with.
The game utilizes an engine that was specifically developed for this project. It is the first version of the Chrome Engine and would be used in all of Techland's major future releases and also licensed to several third-party developers. The engine is notable for being able to handle vast open areas as well as detailed interiors. It also allowed the implementation of simple vehicle physics as well as a ragdoll effect for dead characters.
Chrome is known as the first action game developed in Poland to get a major international release and receive \"average\" reviews beyond the country's borders, according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.
Chrome SpecForce is a strike force unit of the Federal Expeditionary Corps (FEC). They are tasked with maintaining the Federation's stability and keeping order. They are used for missions such as high-profile assassination, espionage, infiltration, and sabotage of enemy territory. The protagonist of the game is Logan, a member of SpecForce. The main goal of the game is to fight a corporation engaged in criminal activity on a planet called Estrella. SpecForce's members are given the latest equipment, such as Power Armor. The game has elements of strategy, large maps, and multiplayer.
The gameplay in Chrome SpecForce is largely identical to that of Chrome, although it has been streamlined, while the overall difficulty has also been lowered. The player can survive significantly more damage (ostensibly due to wearing Power Armor), healing and ammo items are more common-place, and the control scheme has been condensed so as to require fewer separate commands.
The plot is also simpler; cutscenes are minimal, with most of the story told in the mission briefings. The game serves as a prequel to Chrome, featuring Bolt Logan and Ron \"Pointer\" Hertz in their days as members of the military special forces. The two are sent to the planet Estrella to perform sabotage on the LoreGen corporation, who have been producing an illegal performance-enhancing stimulant derived from the planet's native dinosaur-like predators, and selling it to the mafia. However, the mission goes awry and the two are stranded on the planet when LoreGen succeeds in destroying their ship and killing the rest of their squad, including their commanding officer. The two meet Cartwright, a member of a local resistance movement fighting against LoreGen, and ally with the resistance to battle LoreGen. Cartwright is killed in a later mission, but Logan succeeds in disabling LoreGen's computer network with a computer virus, allowing the rebels to storm LoreGen's headquarters. Logan assists Weber, the leader of the resistance, in assaulting the LoreGen HQ. In the process, Logan succeeds in destroying LoreGen's stockpile of the stimulant as well as eliminating their prototype SW4 super-soldiers, Power Armor units boosted to superhuman levels with the stimulant. Logan finally defeats LoreGen's head of security, \"General\" Stanton, allowing the rebels to take the planet. Logan and Pointer contact the authorities to clean up the situation. Afterwards, a mysterious faction discusses their own operations, and states that they will succeed where LoreGen failed.
Like sci-fi movies, futuristic shooters tend to be hit or miss. For every Total Recall there's a Battlefield Earth, and for every Halo there's a Starship Troopers. Chrome SpecForce is neither a hit nor a miss, because while it manages to avoid going terribly awry, it also avoids any sort of fun or excitement. SpecForce falls smack in the middle of mediocrity, and it seems that every good idea or interesting gameplay mechanic is countered by an underwhelming or annoying design flaw.
As cliché as the missions are, they're at least somewhat varied. While you spend most of the game on foot, running around and shooting enemies, there are times when you have to hop on a speeder bike, pilot a huge mech, or man a turret to fend off aerial attacks. The vehicles are generic, but they work well to break up the monotony of the rest of the game. In addition to piloting vehicles and shooting, you occasionally have to hack a computer system to unlock a door, upload a crippling virus, or retrieve some information. This whole hacking thing plays out like a simple game of memory, where you reveal tiles and match like shapes to eventually clear the board. These sections are laughably easy, to the point that it makes the minigame seem like pointless busy work.
The rest of the game is spent on foot, engaging in firefights with the same few enemies over and over. And while there's nothing especially wrong with that, the shooting in SpecForce is just boring and tedious. For one thing, the weapons are all so weak that they just aren't fun to use. They are all pretty standard: there's a 9mm pistol, an assault rifle, shotgun, rocket launcher, grenades, and a few others. The guns all feel completely anemic in terms of firepower. The weapon sounds are thin and lack some much-needed kick, they don't look particularly menacing, and it often takes an inordinate amount of shots to take down an enemy. Another problem is that there's no sense of range with any of the guns. You can snipe enemies from hundreds of yards away just using your assault rifle. As a result, you can just about play through the entire game without ever bothering to pick up any other weapons.
And, you won't want to bother with other weapons because the inventory system is so annoying and cumbersome. SpecForce uses the same inventory system as the previous Chrome game. You can search the corpses of the people you kill to get items, and when you do so it brings up your inventory screen. The inventory screen looks a lot like one from a role-playing game, with a grid that you have to fit all of your equipment into. Your inventory space isn't very large, so it isn't practical to carry more than one gun. But, as we mentioned previously, it isn't a problem, because the standard assault rifle is abou