Mantel Corp.: healing minds and quashing
Haze begs you to question your conscience
every time you pull the trigger.
PUBLISHER: Ubisoft DEVELOPER: Free Radical GENRE: Shooter RELEASE DATE: Spring 2007
IN A GENRE DOMINATED BY WORLD
War II grunts and biomechanical alienin vaders, sometimes all it takes is a mysterious plot device to stand out in the FPS crowd. It worked for F.E.A.R., so why not Haze, developer Free Radical’s shrouded-ininscrutability shooter? Haze drops you into the head of Jake Carpenter, a soldier in the world-dominating Mantel drug conglomerate’s private army, hopped up on the company’s famous (and fun!) supersoldier drug so you can kick ass against freedom-hating enemy insurgents in a steamy South American jungle. Haze seeks to push the glowy-effects processor in your graphics card to 11, bathing the fertile tropical scenery in a strangely soothing hyperreal glare. Pause for a moment, and a radiant white butterfl y alights on your superheated
gun barrel. Obviously, all is not what it seems in this rose-colored corporatocracy.
Soon, the computer voice inside your ear issues an “administration error.” The world drains in color, and time seems to freeze stock-still as your companions callously shoot what appears to be an innocent civilian desperately trying to surrender. When asked what it all means, the Free Radical folks shift, shrug, and smile—but we can safely speculate that Mantel’s miracle drug cocktail does a wee bit more than initially advertised.
Whether or not your variable internal reality actually has some sort of gameplay repercussions—at this point, only omniscient superbeings know. This isn’t the fi rst time Free Radical has tried to guide us up Jacob’s Ladder with an arsenal on our back. 2004’s Second Sight bounced between protagonist John Vattic’s time as an amnesia patient with latent psychic powers and his stint a few months earlier as a covert op investigating Russian science gone mad. And fragging monkeys
and gingerbread men in the developer’s signature TimeSplitters series? That’s just f***ed
up right there.