Into The Eagle's Nest
Requirements: Commodore 64. Versions are planned for the Atari ST and IBM PC.
Even John Wayne wouldn't try this.
Into the Eagle's Nest puts you in the position of a single G.I. during World War II, inside a Nazi fortress simply jammed with enemy soldiers and drunken officers. All you have to do is find three prisoners and blow up the fortress.
This is no cloak-and-dagger job. The Nazis come fast and furious, shooting when they approach and hiding behind every doorway. You have your work cut out for you, and only great players will finally complete the task.
Thankfully, the Nazis are incredibly stupid. They come after you in single file, usually lining up to be shot. As long as you pick your vantage points carefully, you'll be able to polish off dozens of the bad guys while taking almost no damage yourself. As I said, even John Wayne wouldn't try this.
The game is fun, even addictive. The screen shows an overhead view of a very limited portion of the fortress. The graphics display is sharp and colorful, with the brick walls looking like bricks and the floor looking smooth and hard. All items are easily distinguishable, and the textual information is kept to a minimum. All you need is a joystick, some nerve, and a lot of ammunition.
Doors To Danger
To get from room to room, you have to go through doors. Wooden doors can be shot open, but you need a key to open metal doors. You find keys in various parts of the fortress, but since they are rare you have to choose carefully where you will use them. Sometimes a room is accessible from two directions; sometimes you need not enter it at all.
You receive points for shooting enemy soldiers and for finding treasure and various objets d'art as you travel. Unfortunately, and this is a rather strange objection, you also get points for killing drunken officers, who sit passed out at their desks. I say unfortunately because for some reason this portion of the game bothers me inordinately. I've done enough killing in computer games to make Genghis Khan seem like a pacifist, but this seems too real, too much like cold-blooded murder. After several hours of play, I found myself avoiding rather than shooting the officers, sacrificing the points for the sake of my conscience. Strange how these things affect you.
To shoot, you need ammunition, which you find scattered throughout the fortress. As you get shot, of course, you suffer wounds (expressed as Hit Points). To get rid of wounds, you must find either cold food or, much better, first aid. It's extremely easy to run out of ammunition and to find yourself being hit from all sides, so keeping an eye on the Ammunition and Hit Point totals is a must.
The castle has four floors. To get from one to the other, you must find an elevator pass. There is one on each floor, and each is indispensable (they disappear once used). Once you find a prisoner, you must lead him to the elevator and take him out the main entrance on the ground floor. The prisoners are even dumber than the Nazi soldiers, so prepare to be slightly exasperated.
Once you have rescued all three prisoners (one on each floor except the ground floor), you must find and activate the four detonators. If you succeed, and if you make it back to the entrance on the ground floor, the fortress explodes. Your mission is accomplished. At this point the game is saved to disk automatically, and you can work your way through a more difficult fortress.
Save The Prisoners, Not The Game
Here lies one of the game's problems: You are allowed to save the game to disk only after working your way through all four floors rescuing prisoners and then working through all four floors again to activate the detonators. If you quit before accomplishing this, or if you get yourself destroyed, you have to start from scratch.
There are two things wrong with this approach. First, even with experience it takes two or three hours to complete the entire mission. Second, playing Eagle's Nest for three straight hours is more than a little tedious.
Nonstop arcade action and strategy are featured in Into The Eagle's Nest.
Don't get me wrong. Into the Eagle's Nest is extremely enjoyable, and very strong in its ability to make you want to finish the job. But few people have the time required to get through an entire mission in one sitting, and fewer still would enjoy it all the way through. Allowing you to save the game after rescuing each prisoner would be a superior option, but better still would be a save option after reaching the elevator on each floor. A menu appears at that point anyway, asking you to choose the next floor, so why not allow a Save choice as well? Tackled in half-hour chunks, Into the Eagle's Nest would draw players back again and again.
Graphically attractive and well designed, Into the Eagle's Nest is a good, solid arcade game with an interesting mission. It would be nice to have smarter Nazis, a stronger sense of secrecy as you sneak your way along the corridors, and a friendlier save-game feature, but even as is the game should appeal to shoot-'em-up fans of all varieties.
Into the Eagle's Nest
3444 Dundee Rd.
Northbrook, IL 60062