At a Glance: Of all the games I’ve reviewed, this is the first one that couldn’t get its own name right. The box, the CD and the publisher’s website call it “Codename Nina: Global Terrorism Strike Force”, but the installer, the main menu and the developer’s website call it “Nina Agent Chronicles.” The game window hedges its bets and just calls it “Nina.” Was there a miscommunication between the Polish developers and the illegal immigrants who work at Valu-Soft? Was the word “chronicles” dubbed too complex for American audiences to digest? I would email Valu-Soft some suggestions on how to fix this problem, but I’m sure they’d ignore me, just like they ignored me when I told them to get cancer and go bankrupt.
Developer: City Interactive
Codename Nina is a first-person shooter from some Polish company called City Interactive, and rather than specialize in one area like many of the games featured on SA, it is equally bad in just about every category. It tells the story of Nina, a psychic secret agent who is either named after the crappy character from Tekken or the popular anti-Irish slogan. The game appears to take place on Jupiter, or at least that’s the only explanation I can think of for why the gravity is so high that you can barely jump a foot off the ground and a fall from the top of a building takes half a second.
The first and possibly only thing you’ll notice is that Fran Drescher hopped up on caffeine pills and paint thinner fumes would have a hard time producing worse voice work than the nonstop aural sodomy featured in Codename Nina. At the beginning of each level, Nina will start rambling about her job, her feelings and god knows what else, using an incredibly obnoxious fake accent that makes her sound like a drunk British lobotomy patient doing an impression of the lead singer of System of a Down.
In the opening level she informs you that “Oi cawnt sai thot oi’m naw flataahd boi this sawtimes, bah oi’m hahdly deloited when ah haff ta face hohds o’ fanatics oll boi moiself” before magically appearing at the end of an empty hallway in some random middle eastern village. Your commander tells you that you have to act quietly, which is great advice when your mission is to race into a village and gun down a bunch of screaming terrorists with AK-47’s. After shooting a lone enemy while running down the first of a dozen identical hallways you’ll have to navigate through, you come face to face with the game’s first “special” enemy.
This might be a good time to explain the gimmick this game uses to distinguish itself from the masses, other than not knowing what its own name is. Nina has magical psychic powers that let her hypnotize certain “special” enemies to gain information. You have to run up to these enemies and hit the use key, at which point Nina will raise her hands and a bunch of floating green radioactive sperm will materialize and fly into the guy’s head. Of course Nina doesn’t use this opportunity to ask the terrorist something useful, like “Where is Osama hiding?” or “Please explain, in chemistry terms, why a muslim detonates when he comes into contact with a jew.” All you do is get a flyby shot of what part of the level you need to get to, then the game fades back in with the enemy you hypnotized lying dead on the ground. It took me a few tries to figure this out, since the special enemies look exactly like all the other ones and killing one of them before hypnotizing him makes you instantly die.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
Cons: causes bad nightmares. I used to have to eat beef until I passed out to have these kind of terrors, but this machine does it for me every time I fall asleep inside it.
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