by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
We previewed Screencheat some time ago, when the game was still in early development. At that stage there were only a couple of maps, a couple of game modes and a handful of weapons. But even then, the premise of the game was interesting. Screencheat is an online shooter along the lines of GoldenEye but with a difference - you cannot see your enemies and they cannot see you. The only way to know where they are, is if you take a peek at their screen - and hence the title Screencheat.
The action is fast paced, in maps that are reasonably small, but perfectly suited to the game. Screencheat has the mainstay mode of Deathmatch, and has some variations on other multiplayer shooter modes such as capture the flag (known as Capture the Fun - where the flag is actually a piñata horse which leaves a trail of rainbow confetti as you carry it around the map) and king of the hill (known as Hill Campers). But Screencheat also contains some lesser used modes and introduces a couple of new and interesting modes. Gold Rush has players running around collecting coins like a first person Super Mario. Killing an opponent will gain that person's current tally. The person with the most at the end of the allotted time is the winner. Juggernaut is like a game of volleyball, where gamers only score when they have control, known as being the Juggernaut. All other players need to then shoot the Juggernaut in order to gain control.
Elimination mode involves being the last alive. I did find that on more than one occasion I just hid away from other gamers and let them destroy each other. The Bombs Away mode is really cool. Gamers need to collect a bomb and then activate it at one of the enemy bases. Enemies then need to deactivate the bomb before the time runs out. They can then transport the bomb to another enemy base. One Shot mode requires gamers to pinpoint their shots rather than firing away indiscriminately. Weapons do eventually reload after a period of time, or once everyone has discharged their weapons. But probably my favourite mode is the Murder Mystery. This mode plays out like a game of Clue (or Cluedo, depending on where you’re from). Each player is assigned an enemy to kill with a particular weapon in a particular room. For instance, you may be required to kill Person A with the grenade launcher in the blue room. Completing all three will gain maximum points, although points are still awarded for part-completion (killing the correct opponent in the wrong room, for example). And all these modes except Juggernaut have a team variety, so you can team up with mates in a co-op fashion as well.
Depending on the time of day, it can be somewhat difficult to find a populated server. A Training Mode is included to fill the void. The training mode acts as both a tutorial and a pseudo single player game as it gives the gamer a chance to play through the levels in an attempt to familiarise themselves with the maps and weapons and also gain the special medals for completing the levels within the time frame required. Doing so unlocks the next level, and a chance to test out a different map and weapon.
Although some of the weapons are standard fare for an online shooter (revolver, blunderbuss, grenade launcher), there are some interesting ways to dispose of your enemies. The Hobby Horse, for example, has you galloping around the map on a stick with a horse head, with kills gained by charging at the opposition players. The candelabra is a great melee weapon, burning enemies at close range. The Bear bomb works in much the same way as the sheep bomb in the Worms series, walking towards the desired area before detonating. The Wall Hacker is a rather unique device that, as its name suggests, allows gamers to shoot through walls. Enemies will, of course, need to be in a direct line behind the wall to score a hit. The Chefolet is a car motor-looking weapon that shoots out a ball of light similar to the plasma gun in Doom. It does a fair bit of damage, but it is easy to detect.
Great concept, heaps of game styles and weapons
Often difficult to find populated servers