Have You Played… Project IGI?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I’ll be honest: I haven’t. But I played the demo so many times over that I feel equipped to reminisce about Project IGI: I’m Going In.

To be clear, IGI had its problems even upon release and I wouldn’t recommend anyone return to it today, but it was the closest you could get to Metal Gear Solid V in 2000 – closer than the original Metal Gear Solid. It was a realistic-ish military shooter in which you infiltrated and attacked enclosed, fortified bases, shuffling between patrol routes or crawling through buildings or sniping down upon your hapless foes from a distant ledge. To my young mind, it played like a first-person Commandos and felt part of the same revolution of first-person simulation that included the first Hitman.

In retrospect, it had no mid-mission save and terrible AI. But for the length of the demo, that didn’t bother me: it was a first-person game that could be conquered through multiple means, and it had an excellent sniper rifle.

There was a sequel – which I haven’t even played a demo of – and then the developer went bust. What a shame.

50 Comments

  1. Seboss says:

    I remember scripts and triggers were bugged to hell and it was nigh impossible to complete missions. But I have fond memories of playing it. As you said, it was sort of revolutionary for its time.

  2. leeder krenon says:

    ARGH NO SAVES. i think i got to about level 3. top fun though.

  3. flibbidy says:

    It had a wonderful bug where you could jump and keep soaring every higher. spent a long time in that game demo.

  4. DrollRemark says:

    I remember it being possibly the first game I’d ever played where you could just wander away from the mission. There was no “you must turn back” warning message/punishment, and the terrain didn’t become suspiciously difficult to climb after a certain distance. I once spent 30 minutes trying to scale the highest mountain in one of the levels (probably the first), just because I could.

    Combined with the lack of saves, the punishing difficulty of some of the levels did make it a chore some times – one involved having to hide from attack choppers and tanks with almost no warning before they appeared, whilst the last level scrapped all the open area nonsense and had you fighting corridor battles against the super-quick-reflexive AI for AGES. That said, I still thoroughly enjoyed it – the variety of weapons and the way you could carefully plan your attack was wonderful.

    I only played the demo of the sequel, and I don’t remember it interesting me much at all. Too long ago to say why though.

    • KDR_11k says:

      It was based on a flight simulator engine, AFAIK they advertised maps of 100x100km size.

    • Psychomorph says:

      I did that, too.

      It adds a great deal to immersion if you know that those mountains in the horizon are actually real and you could go there. No skybox images. This is how any game should be.

      • DrollRemark says:

        Yeah, this remains pretty much my go-to task when I start playing around in any open world game now. Find the largest peak, climb it, survey world.

        • poliovaccine says:

          God I know, I love that. Ever since I was little, I’d be sitting in the car with my folks and look at the nearest hilltop or peak and wonder what was over there, especially if there were lights. The magic of games like Far Cry 3 and Just Cause 2 to me (I grew up in the USVI) is that they fulfill that fantasy by letting me just scoot on over there in some vehicle or with a grapple or something…

          …having ambient life is so important to games. Surrounding, supposedly “nothing” life, like environments without treasures dotted all over them, if anything just randomly-spawning creatures endemic to the place. I remember once in Far Cry 3 I came to shore and saw a pirate jeep making circular rounds over a certain patch of road – I marked the guys with my camera, put down a few land mines where the road was narrowest, and slunk into the bushes… I saw their red dots, they were literally a matter of several feet from hitting the mine, when a CRAB stumbled onto one, set them both off, the jeep screeching to a halt, and all the pirates climbed out, guns up, completely unharmed. A fucking crab!

          THAT is what should happen in games.

          If I knew you could walk away from the mission in IGI when it came out, I might have tried it just for that, and for modding. Imagine if that enemy base were an enemy town, and you lived in your own friendly town across the ridge. I heard it was kind of well reviewed or something when it came out but I skipped it, military shooters were usually everything I hated about games. I was a SimCity 2000 guy. But I loved modding games, whether I liked em or not, just depending if they had a good base world to mod. I made a lot of Thief levels too – I basically made primitive city hubs.

          I also think it’s funny to reminisce based on the demo, especially cus, come to think of it, I’ve got a lot of those myself. Ones I couldn’t quite shell out for, but god I played the demo to death. Like Freedom Force – I think that was it, there’s another named similarly which is different, but I mean the top-down superhero 3D RTS game where you could throw cars, and buildings were totally destructible… man that was a cool demo. Demo discs were like little treasure troves to me, cus they were tastes of all these games, and I knew I’d never actually own and complete all of them.

  5. TWChristine says:

    Oh wow, this game…I was super excited about it when I saw the ads, and bought the game day 1. Initially, I loved it; I saw it as a middle ground between Rainbow Six and Delta Force. I can’t remember too much about it, but I remember finally giving up in frustration. Like DrollRemark said, I loved the ability to essentially do what I want in the world, which made trying to find the best way to assault the objective probably the most exciting part.

  6. cpy says:

    Pro tip: don’t have sniper rifle?
    Get binoculars zoom to someone head, switch to AK and maybe MP5 if lucky, don’t move mouse shoot once, headshot guaranteed.

    • Saarlaender39 says:

      Hahaha…this!
      It was absurd – you could be so far away, that the enemy was just a pixel – and still one-shot-kill him with this trick, with a normal M-16.
      I thought the game was great – until some snowy level, where they hunted you with helicopters (and tanks?).
      If my memory serves me well, I never got any further than that.
      Which is a pity, really.

  7. Pockets says:

    I remember playing the demo, thinking it was incredible and then as soon as I got the full game it all fell apart. Really repetitive (despite not being very long) and didn’t use the massive terrain much. And the endlessly respawning dumb enemies. And the terrible corridor-shooter level at the end.

    • piedpiper says:

      There were now endless respawn. You are lying. I beat this game twice.

      • fish99 says:

        I seem to remember once the alarm was set off it would generate enemies at the barracks (even if you’d cleared it), but yeah I don’t remember them being endless.

  8. Junkenstein says:

    The openness of the world was pretty impressive for the time. If I remember right, it was possible because it was made using a flight-sim engine?

  9. fuggles says:

    Yes! It was awesome and that level in the screenshot is seared in my memory as you line up your cross hairs with the guard tower to hit the first guard from there with the underslung launcher.

    Your character was a jackass, but the levels were huge and you could judge your health by what you appeared to be wearing. Last level was a respawning nightmare and the sequel was horrible.

    • laser-gods says:

      The protag was Welsh if memory serves? At least that’s original

  10. kwyjibo says:

    Project IGI was as hard as fuck. Midway through the game, you lose your satellite tracking and have to go in blind. I never did complete it, got right up to the final level and then lost interest. Still, it was a top game, beats the crap out of the entire Delta Force series.

    Did anyone ever get around to IGI2?

    • ran93r says:

      I think I spent much more time in IGI2 than the original.
      Still suffered from the same issues of broken scripting/triggers that caused you to just wander around and see exactly what you could get up to in the map.
      It’s been a while but I think I have a memory of trying to trigger the launch of some kind of missile but I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up on the other side of a mountain, when I got back on track, the event didn’t trigger and I just mooched around for an hour before switching it off and going outside.

    • go4brendon says:

      Finished both 1 and 2. Equally good although David Jones was a different actor in the second. Multiplayer wasnt bad either.

    • Psychomorph says:

      IGI2 is one of my all time favourite games, that is.

  11. mikmanner says:

    Oh I loved this! I played the demo to death. The whole sneak in, shoot out concept was great. Those ladders leading up to high points with the zip lines with the bright blue sky and snowy ground contrasting eachother, I just remember it looking and feeling really cool. Completely forgot it existed.

    • mikmanner says:

      Also, this the first game to feature first person moving / shooting with third person interactions (hacking, climbing ladders etc)? Can’t think of other examples right now off the top of my head but I’m sure I’ve seen it in more modern games.

  12. C0llic says:

    A fantastic game for the time. I played this to death back in the day.

    It was really quite hard (mainly because you couldn’t save), but I remember it fondly and it deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the Hitman games.

  13. FieldyGB says:

    remember playing this and nearly throwing my Evesham PC out of he window due to the insane difficulty and the lack of saves.. but yes I remember it fondly for some unknown reason.

  14. Doc Revelator says:

    What is going on with these columns. ‘An endless stream of game recommendations’ seems to now mean ‘a load of half-memories of a demo of something I played once and don’t much like in any case’. Largely pointless.

    • PoulWrist says:

      Easy fix, don’t fucking read them. K?

    • Jinoru says:

      Well that’s a dreary interpretation.

    • Borodin says:

      I have no problem with Graham only ever playing the demo, but it seems a shame to write [i]“To be clear, IGI had its problems even upon release and I wouldn’t recommend anyone return to it today”[/i] when the premise is that the item is one of [i]an endless stream of game recommendations[/i]

      I wish RPS would go further and provide advice on where to buy games featured in [b][i]Have You Played?[/i][/b] as well as how to get them working on modern systems. Instead we seem to be getting retrospectives of fondly-remembered publications

      • Borodin says:

        Oh dear, square brackets instead of angle brackets. At least you can see what it was meant to look like

        I understand there’s a problem with allowing edits, but I would have hoped that we could be allowed to delete our comments in cases like this

  15. Psychomorph says:

    I did, I did! (of course I did, huh-huh-huh).

    IGI2 is my favourite of the serie… two games.

    Extremely immersive games, fantastic music. Have been hoping for a true sequel SO MUCH, but if it gets made today it will be just Call of Duty with stealth moments. Hopeless times.

  16. Danda says:

    Intriguing, original, unfair, unplayable. I really wanted to like Project IGI: I’m Going In, but it was way too difficult.

  17. Al Bobo says:

    I couldn’t believe that the maps were endless so I decided to beeline towards the horizon and break the game. I had to stop and turn back when I started to worry that I might lose the small pixel cluster that represented the main level area.

    • Psychomorph says:

      I too defected the mission once and when doubt arose I decided to head back, but couldn’t find the mission area. HQ was not pleased.

  18. frogulox says:

    Heavily recommended by a dude i worked with at my first job. Harped on and on about it he did.
    When i finally gave in and played it i found it unfun in the utmost. The game seemed to want to offer me something special, but the seeming unfairness of enemy capability combined with the lack of saves meant i was out before i got in.

    And when i went back and prepared to debate with old mate about this rubbish game?
    “Oh i dunno, i only played it for 15 minutes, it looked alright”

    Wat.

  19. thekelvingreen says:

    My housemate at university loved this game and was keen to get me playing it, but I didn’t realise it was supposed to be a stealth game, so while I should have been playing it like Metal Gear Solid, I was instead playing it like Doom and not getting very far.

  20. piedpiper says:

    It was hard, yes. But I beat it twice. Even on hard.
    It had some flaws.
    But I honestly think it was brilliant in many aspects. Still one of the best stealth games ever!
    Funny, but Graham is right – first-person Commandos is the best way to describe this game.

  21. RegisteredUser says:

    It is this game and Operation Flashpoint that bring up the question of whether its more frustrating-fun to have medium long everything-at-stake-at-any-minute missions with real insta-death / permadeath or fun shooty shooty shooters.
    I kind of like both(spent so much time on IGI back then, also with a friend with him and me taking turns on parts we were better at), but I must say there have been VERY few decent attempts at the tactical shooting&permadeath variation. Operation Flashpoint to me still is the standout there, although that, too, was a touch buggy(lying down solved most of your getting shot 24/7 issues – almost a bit too much as it seemed you turned invisible to some enemies).

    Its a bit of a shame that really the only title I can think of that carried this on is Arma, which was so frustratingly overly huge and badly made mission and gameplay wise, that I never could get into any of the 3 (and oh my god the horrors of the engine and bugs). I am not sure why.

    So, bring on more of them realistic mil-sims I say.

  22. fish99 says:

    Yup, played and finished. It was in the mould of the Delta Force games, but without the voxels and with a little more story. Very much filling the niche that Arma fills today, at least in terms of Arma’s single player campaign. Super-hard, totally unforgiving and trying to be as realistic as military shooters could be with the technology of that day. The levels were huge and could take hours each.

  23. FullMetalMonkey says:

    This was the game that I managed to convince my friend that stealth was a reliable alternative to going in guns blazing.

    I think he’d gotten the game and was stuck on the first level as he kept on getting killed. I played it, first time, and managed to complete it. The difference between us was he was too used to playing Unreal Tournament. Whereas I’d been playing Metal Gear Solid.

    Since then my mate is a sneaky bar steward when he plays FPS’.

  24. Fenix says:

    I never figured out why, but IGI was THE game in Iran in the early 2000s (I used to live there). Like, if you played videogames, you played IGI. Even people that didn’t play videogames would install it and I remember everyone in my high school would talk about levels.
    I guess the challenging aspect appealed? Plus the fact that the game required close to no English knowledge to understand what’s going on maybe.

    Anyway I also played it and it was ok, definitely got frustrated at mission scripts not triggering or cheap deaths, but I kept trying until the infamous snow level mentioned above by other people.

    IGI 2 though looked way better, except that it was incompatible with my graphic card of the time and buildings and walls would be invisible for me so I never played that one.

  25. malkav11 says:

    I never have, no, and I doubt I’d enjoy it, but a chap called Giragast did a beautifully, even obsessively detailed Let’s Play of it that I have partially watched:
    link to lparchive.org

  26. Foosnark says:

    Oh god, this game.

    Respawning enemies, and freaking tanks that could not drive over one of those fences that’s made from wooden stakes and orange plastic netting.

    I don’t really have good memories of IGI. I was so much more into Rainbow Six. Rogue Spear was arond then, and I played it endlessly, with mods and stuff.

  27. junglist 69 says:

    I remember the music more than the gameplay : /

  28. racccoon says:

    This was game that made a impact no negatives at all, far far more positives. It also stood out & has been set like concrete in my mind till today, always wondering about it & if ever some people could bring it back on. Project IGI was a masterful experience of being someone from a dream. Of course today it looks not that great. I found it at the time amazing and greatest fun ever & played it several times.

  29. Psycold says:

    I played the demo a lot with my friends and we enjoyed it, one of the acronyms ever though: “PROJECT: I’M GOING IN”

  30. skyturnedred says:

    I was just cleaning up my apartment and found both Project: IGI and its sequel hidden away in a closet. Planning on giving them a look and see how they hold up these days, but first I need to dig up a dvd drive too.