Hello. I'm Dave Psi.

We’re hurtling into a bright new future for PC games – we all know that. What we don’t know is exactly what future. The plastic disc is an artefact of yesterday without doubt, but will it be replaced by online retail or by free, ad-supported games?

Well, probably a bit of both, but I am enjoying seeing the latter experiment with what and doesn’t work. In this instance, it’s Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, a mediocre but occasionally good FPS like an FPS but with more shoulder from 2004 by the same team as John Woo’s Stranglehold, a mediocre but occasionally good FPS like an FPS but with more shoulder from 2007.

Fileplanet are providing all 2Gb of it for free, with the proviso that you’ll have to endure some ads. It’s a remarkably strange game to do this for – I can’t believe there are many folk out there thinking ‘ooh, I always wanted to play a clunky port of a so-so Playstation 2 game’. That said, the mere mention of the magic word ‘free’ has doubtless sent gamers over to Fileplanet’s childishly slow servers (120k/s here, so I’m not going to be playing it any time soon) in their droves, so I suspect the advertisers will be ever so happy.

Worth noting this is a game that suffered a lawsuit late last year, one William L. Crawford III claiming that game ripped off his 1998 movie screenplay of the same name. And the same final bosses, apparently. Oops. Perhaps either that’s all gone away now, or this is a last-ditch attempt to make some money from the game before the lawsuit bleeds Midway dry.


  1. fearian says:

    eh, Ill give it a go, why not?

    I guess developers would rather a lot people play their games than squeeze pennies out of ageing titles.

  2. etho says:

    Stranglehold was not an FPS. I hate when people call 3rd person shooters 1st person shooters.

    Anyway, I’ll maybe try this.

  3. Turkish Superman says:

    This isn’t an FPS; it’s third-person.

    That being said, it’s fairly fun, with good use of physics.

  4. Heliocentricity says:

    I’m cool with them being mistaken when they have a button to go first person… (i dont thing stangle did though) But they did let destroy whole buildings with that barrage ability, shame the gameplay was so scripted as i really wanted to love it as i do max payne.

  5. azwipe says:

    count me in on the ‘please call a third- person shooter a third person shooter’ petition.

    also, the beautifully executed telekinesis and mind control abilities raised this game well above ‘mediocre’ in my opinion. the physics manipulation was tons more flexible AND intuitive than, say, half-life 2.

  6. The Hammer says:

    The wonderful Second Sight from Freed Radical came out at about the same time. The two games had similar premises, but judging about how everyone rants about SS being so overlooked, I’d wager this one actually did quite well.

    (it was certainly more immediate, although I preferred Second Sight)

  7. George-Duckling Manburger says:

    Yeah, definitively give this a go if you’re hankerin’ for some violence. There’s a bunch of fun to be had! It hasn’t aged too badly. The port isn’t that bad actually, the controls are translated fairly well to the PC, and flinging people around with telekinisis is a hoot. And there’s a lot of sadistic ways to massacre your foes. More games should include the ability to make enemies’ heads burst into a fine bloody mist to replenish your powers.

    That being said, that whole lawsuit-business is quite strange; the story is definitevely not the highlight of the game, (that would have to be the aformentioned head-popping) so it seems odd they would rip it off?

  8. Jonathan says:

    I’m sorry but all third person games are now going to be called first person but with shoulders games.

    Theres nothing we can do about this.

  9. Taxman says:

    I remember Psi-Ops it was a good game, went largely unnoticed but the physics system was pretty neat.

    It wasn’t a hit though according to one of the ex-3D Realms/Apogee guys from the commander keen/Blake stone days who worked on it. 3D Realms were doing a interview with past employees and one of them worked on Psi-Ops. He was pretty disappointed as they put a lot of hard work into it (and it ran really well on the PS2 too) only for the game to be a commercial failure. I think their tech team was then disbanded or something.

    Also the Stranglehold team has little connection to Psi-Ops from the looks of mobygames few who worked on it have gone on to work on anything high profile since.

  10. SwiftRanger says:

    “The plastic disc is an artefact of yesterday without doubt,”

    It is? I certainly don’t see it going away, it shouldn’t go away either, for several good reasons even. Not everyone wants to/can buy online. And deep inside you just know you want the cardboard box era with lush manuals, maps and freebies to return. A game experience shouldn’t start with installing or downloading but by actual sniffing up the smell of an opened box and all its contents…

    So, never tried an ad-supported game this way though, curious how intrusive “some ads” will be, anyone can tell (from this or previous games that did this, like those Ubsisoft-titles on Fileplanet)?

  11. Deuteronomy says:

    I believe that smell was caused by hazardous volatile chemicals that may be carcinogenic.

  12. Turkish Superman says:

    “So, never tried an ad-supported game this way though, curious how intrusive “some ads” will be, anyone can tell (from this or previous games that did this, like those Ubsisoft-titles on Fileplanet)?”

    I think this shows a 30-second ad each time you start and exit the game.

  13. Ixtab says:

    Well I would try it but my connection is tempramental at best and 2GB is a lot to download non-resumably on a dodgy connection.

    I do like the idea of free games supported by adverts though as long as the adverts are implemented in such a way that they don’t affect the actual gaming experience. (A flashing popup every time you pressed a button for instance would be a definate no where as a menu screen with lots of ads on is fine.)

  14. Leeks! says:

    I played the PS2 version back in the day. To me (and this is probably just the way I played it), it was more like a puzzle game, but with psychic murder.

  15. lethu says:

    Well, on the said Ubisoft titles the ads used to show during the loading screens as far as I can remember.

  16. azwipe says:

    a third-person shooter is just completely different from an fps- you can see around corners without exposing yourself, it adds a completely different feel to melee combat, and of course it makes jumping puzzles infinitely more bearable.

    seeing you own character (from head to toe, incidentally) is especially important to this game because of the tk-surfing, another unique, innovative element of this massively underrated game.


  17. Erlam says:

    Why the fuck does everygame that involves doing something with your mind, or magic or whatever, insist on 3rd person cameras?

    Goddamn I hate those views. “Look, the back of my own head!

  18. Kieron Gillen says:

    I’m tempted to make an RPS diktat that all shooting games are FPS. From now on, Robotron is an FPS.



  19. Noc says:

    You know, the back of your head isn’t something you see every day.

    I think it adds some perspective.

  20. houseinrlyeh says:

    Now if someone would try it with a game that’s really and not just somewhat (stacking crates with telekinesis? Not impressed) good, or a publisher would release a bigger part of its back catalog with (surprisingly unintrusive) ads…

  21. azwipe says:

    c’mon kieron, let’s not get our egos involved here. as an occasional player of games and writer, surely you’d agree that giving different kinds of games different descriptions is of some value?

  22. Duoae says:

    I never played Psi-Ops… but i played (and loved) it’s twin brother – Second Sight. I felt that game really had a cool story and decent psi-powers… but Psi-Ops never did anything for me so i never picked it up.

  23. SixStringSamurai says:

    I had this game for the PS and I remember the only reason it was remotely close to being worth buying it was a for a little bit of ‘cooool!’ when you first use each power and the music video by Cold – “In My Mind”

  24. Noc says:

    Azwipe: Yes, but what about, say, Robotron makes it not an FPS? I mean, it’s got people and shooting, which is two out of three . . . and surely we round up?

  25. ohmen says:

    Kieron: Too late! Consolevania already used that joke.

    FPBWSS is OK. OTS shooter is from a real directing term. But my favourite is CPS (Conscience Person Shooter) and, for any games that adopt a left-shoulder cam, TPS (Temptation Person Shooter).

  26. NewGuy says:

    Alec, whatever you’re smoking please put it down. Psi-Ops isn’t as bad as every clunky as every console port(it’s a XBOX port not PS2, you’ll notice this by going through the INI files). In fact, it’s pretty solid for a game that was released on the PC with virtually zero marketing. Sure it does have some flaws like Saturday morning cartoon like voice acting, generic storytelling and forgettable characters. In terms of gameplay Psi-Ops excels. Seriously this is one of those games where you can replay a level so many different ways. IMHO, Psi-Ops nails it when it comes to psi powers(Telekenesis, Mind control, Mind Drain. Pyrokenesis etc.)
    By the way, disc based version was published Zoo Digital and it came with SF3. Be thankful that it’s now available for free with ads.

  27. Albides says:

    I despise Fileplanet. Partly because I don’t believe I should have to sign in to a place just to download something. Partly because I always feel like I’m being hounded to buy something every time I go there, like the person at the counter that screams “may I help you” as soon as you walk into the store.

    But the feeling seems to be mutual, as Fileplanet apparently despises me as much as I despise it. After downloading an applet (downloading an applet to download a game! What a ludicrious idea!) and being placed in a 20 minute queue, I decided to go to bed while the thing downloads, only to wake up the next morning to find that it never even started because of a connection error.

    Bugger that, I suppose I’ll just find a torrent.

  28. RichPowers says:

    Yeah, Fileplanet is very much the AOL of game-related download services. Why do publishers continue to offer such a piece of shit service exclusive demos/betas/games?

  29. Radiant says:

    Second Sight was pants.
    This [Psi-Ops] wasn’t much cop either.

    They’re both afflicted with that thing that most ‘special powers’ shooters suffer from where they piecemeal your powers, and therefore the best bits of the gameplay, to you bit by bit over the course of the game; so you only get the full experience with all the bells and whistles for an hour and a half at the most linear part of the story [the end].

    Which just turns it into a generic ‘7 out of 10’ shooter for the majority of the game until the last hour by which time you’re bored to tears and just trying to get to the end.

    One day a developer is going to fix that and then some fool in a comments thread will come along and call their ground breaking special powers shooter a generic 7 out of 10 sandbox game.

  30. Ben Abraham says:

    What, no trailer?

  31. Cunningbeef says:

    I’m sorry, 2GB?

    Could you convert that to Peggles? tia

  32. Steven Hutton says:

    Radiant has just reminded me how excited I am about Prototype.

  33. Mr Pink says:

    For those complaining about logging in to fileplanet, don’t forget bugmenot! It’s only a partial solution to fileplanet’s astonishingly bad service, but at least I don’t have to give them my details.

  34. Kieron Gillen says:

    azwipe: I’m joking.


  35. Paul Moloney says:

    I’m not sure why developers insist on using third-person over first-person for shooters. I was just playing through the Lost Planet demo, thinking it was cack but possibly might be better in first-person (your avatar moves like a marionette on crystal meth). The only third-person action games which I think worked well were the Max Payne ones.

    Which made Stranglehold all the more disappointing for me. Max Payne-a-like which is the official sequel to perhaps my favourite action movie? Sign me up! Until I play the demo anyway and discover its just not very enjoyable.


  36. TychoCelchuuu says:

    I think they use third person because it would be incredibly difficult to ride an object that you are telekenetically levitating in first person.

  37. KingMob says:

    Chiming in with the other Second Sight fans.
    RPS, where is our love? The game mechanics were a lot of fun, and more importantly, the story was amazing.

  38. Paul Moloney says:

    “it would be incredibly difficult to ride an object”

    Huh uh huh.


  39. BaconIsGood4you says:

    Play this game! So much fun! Just get creative with your powers, surfing explosives into guys or mind controlling them and sticking them in a pile of crates and use your pyrokinesis.

    The stories a blast too. Its not amazing our anything, but it does stick out in my mind as simply absurd fun and that its well aware how silly and campy it is.

  40. Racoon says:

    A guy with psionic powers, looks aged, can shoot guns and has a very visible aura around his eyes ?!?

    Ok, this is not Limbo of the Lost but it´s clearly that they were VERY inspired by Marvel´s Cable.