The alternate-history WW2 FPS Codename: Eagle
is another one of those games which I didn't actually buy, I just stole from my brother when I went to University and when he had long since moved past playing PC games. It's also one of the few games I have in my collection which I've never actually played, not really.
I have invested an awful amount of time in it though. I have a lot of fond memories of the game – or, rather, of the multiplayer demo that first hooked both me and my brother. It came on a PC Gamer demo disc and I only flicked it on out of boredom, jumping into what turned out to be one of the largest in-game levels I'd ever seen. I was awestruck and began a process of playing replaying the multiplayer demo for weeks.
The weird thing though is that I never actually played it with anyone. It was a multiplayer demo and all I ever did was play it solo, not even connected to a network.
The graphics were basic, but seemed beautiful back then
The demo was clearly meant to be played with as many players as possible; there were two bases, fleets of planes, artillery emplacements and motorbikes stationed all over the expansive island. When I played the game though all I did was spend ages messing around and making up fantasy battles that I played through in my head. I'd grab a flamethrower and spent ages running around the base shooting imaginary foes before jumping into a tank and gunning it across a bridge, desperately racing to the nearest hangar. Then I'd destroy the bridge, isolating myself from those fictional enemies and I'd flee in a biplane, spraying the landscape with bullets as I went.
When I got bored of that (which happened only rarely) then I'd test the limits of the game. I'd try and take the almighty zeppelin as high as I could before parachuting out and trying to land on a tank. I'd do a loop the loop in a fighter and spin blazingly into the sea, or try and wingwalk, machine gun in hand. I loved Codename: Eagle
in a weird and very lonely way. My brother had a similar experience, which eventually drove him to buy the game.
He looks confused
Unfortunately though, the reality of the game didn't quite match up with the imaginary battles we'd had. We were never able to get the multiplayer actually working and the singleplayer proved to be indomitably difficult and annoying, requiring pitch-perfect accuracy and driving skill. Levels were over-long; the campaign was an endurance contest as you worked your way through the obvious story and tried to topple the Soviet war machine.
Worst of all the balancing wasn't in line with what I'd imagined. I'd played against my own imagination for too long and was used to single headshots everytime, but in the actual game you'd need a steady stream of bullets to fell a foe. Even that happened rarely, as the early levels I got stuck on were mostly stealth-based affairs. It was said, but I'd kind-of loved the game to death, I suppose. I never managed to get past the first three or four levels and the experience soured me enough that I never even returned to the demo. Shame, really.
Trivia: Codename: Eagle
formed the framework for the Battlefield
series, with developer Refraction Games getting bought out and put on new projects by DICE.
Number of Times Completed: