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24: The story behind the game

24, PS2 game

Preview by Jack Foley

FANS of real-time TV thriller 24 now have the opportunity to experience a race-against-time scenario themselves thanks to the release of a video game that offers enthusiasts the chance to become Jack Bauer themselves.

Released on Friday, March 17 on PS2 format, 24: The Game is widely being credited with offering gamers thrills and experiences that are every bit as intense and thrilling as watching the television series itself.

The ‘plot’ of the game is set between the events of seasons two and three and thrusts players into a day in the life of Jack Bauer and the members of the Los Angeles Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU).

As such, it aims to fill in gaps in the story that have hitherto remained unanswered, such as how did Kim Bauer (Elisha Cuthbert) begin working at CTU, while simultaneously offering players over 100 missions, including gun fights, stealth, sniping, driving, satellite tracking, phone tracing, interrogation and more.

To add extra authenticity, all the major stars appear in virtual form, including Kiefer Sutherland, Cuthbert and James Badge Dale.

Reviews have thus far been positive, with many applauding the attention to detail in the look and characters, as well as the exhilaration it offers players. It’s certainly one for 24 enthusiasts, even though die-hard gamers might pick out some faults.

The game is largely the brainchild of Duppy Demetrius who first started writing the story based on the successful formula of the show some three years ago.

He told the BBC that his biggest challenge was coming up with something that was basically the equivalent of an entire season of 24 at one time.

“While writing the show, we worry about only five or six episodes at a time, but with the game we needed to know what was going to happen for the entire game, all 24 hours of it,” he said.

As difficult as this proved, the game did provide Demetrius with plenty of opportunity to have fun.

Mr Demetrius became involved in the project three years ago, when Sony approached 24 makers Fox with the idea of making a game based on the show.

The gaming experience of the show’s executive producer was limited to Space Invaders and Pac Man. So instead the responsibility for the script fell on Mr Demetrius, who describes himself as “somewhat of a gamer”.

“When I tackled the script for 24: The Game, I really had no game in mind to influence me,” he said.

“The biggest challenge, however, was to basically come up with the equivalent of an entire season of 24 at one time.

First and foremost, it afforded him the chance to answer some of his own questions about story arcs, while providing a wider canvas on which to place Jack Bauer and co.

Due to budgetary constraints, the television series is limited in terms of how many explosions it can include in an episode, as well as in terms of carnage.

In game form, fans are promised plenty of pyrotechnics as well as some truly earth-shattering tremors that have the capacity to reduce large parts of Los Angeles to rubble.

In production terms, the game has certainly won over plenty of admirers, although some of the game-play has been criticised as ‘amateurish’, particularly when it comes to driving.

The format is nowhere near as complex as your average episode of the real-time show, nor as long to complete.

But if you fancy stepping into the shoes of Mr Bauer, it certainly has its moments and there’s no denying the alluring thrill of being able to enter the world of 24, if only virtually.

It means that you can watch Jack Bauer one minute and try and emulate his achievements the next.

For those who just can’t get enough, the fifth season can currently be seen on Sky One on Sunday evenings at 9pm.

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