Have You Played… Hidden & Dangerous 2: Courage Under Fire?

hiddenanddangerous

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

I thought of the Hidden & Dangerous games as Rainbow Six: WWII. That was no bad thing. Combining stealth, squad management, action, and lots of careful planning that often ended in a few brutal seconds of panic and failure, they were wonderful things. I’ve been revisiting the sequel following its recent arrival on Steam.

The most surprising thing, after all these years, is the discovery that I can actually get quite far without all of the meticulous planning that I thought was necessary. I didn’t leave anything to chance when I first played Hidden & Dangerous and missions still went horribly wrong more often than they went fantastically well. Now I’m faced with the startling fact that I could have been winging it the whole time.

That’s not quite true. While it’s certainly friendlier toward a running and shooting approach than I remembered, Hidden & Dangerous 2 still wants to slow down and smell the tactics. And I do, because that’s what I’m here for.

It might not be as slick as later tactical shooters but Hidden & Dangerous still has something special. The things I might have been critical of at the time of release – the sheer size of some maps, the complexity of the controls and interface – are now the things that help it to stand out. It’s as ambitious and flawed as ever, but definitely worth a look. And it’s extremely difficult not to start daydreaming about what a sequel would look like.

11 Comments

  1. Chaz says:

    I really enjoyed it. I liked that you could steal an enemy’s uniform and wear it as a disguise, but all your stuff had to be correct because if you accidentally left one allied item on you, your disguise would be blown.

    I have the expansion as well, but the missions went down the route of being a bit more like a straightforward shooter if I remember rightly.

    I also enjoyed kitting out with gear in the loadout screen. It felt like a computer game version of playing with my Action Man.

  2. Michael Fogg says:

    Do the H&D games have a waypoint-based planning phase like R6 has?

    • unacom says:

      There is a waypoint-based planning phase But it´s wonky, to say the least. I don´t know if it´s like in R6. Never played it.

  3. unacom says:

    Add some “Sabre Squad” to the mix and you can do co-op missions as well. I really love that game to bits.
    Weak spot on a tiger? -Air intake grille. I was so damn proud of meself when I found out. This is a game that rewards methodical thinking as well as on the spot decisions.
    The Burma campaign was awesome.
    D´you hear FPS-devs? BURMA. CAMPAIGN.
    Italy. Norway. Arctic circle. Tunisia.
    WW2 had some fascinating and demanding theatres, beyond Stalingrad and Omaha Beach. Just hintin´.

  4. Petethegoat says:

    H&D2 was a worthy sequel, but the original is still the best. It’s kind of an arse to play in coop (I think you’ll need a windows XP machine to host?), but the variety of missions and the awesome campaign structure make it one of the best coop games of all time.

    • maninahat says:

      The original, to this day, is the only game I’ve played where it is possible to accidentally attach a time bomb to your own shoe. Fortunately it had some amusing cheats, so you could reanimate your recently delimbed body and hover around the map, terrifying the Nazis like a clumsier version of Bloodrayne.

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    john_silence says:

    One of the rare games I managed to finish, in spite of its finicky interface and passive AI. I remember the infiltration mission inside a German HQ – unbearably tense. Or the escape from an occupied aerodrome near the end of the campaign, where you had to steal a plane under the Germans’ noses.

    On the whole it couldn’t keep the promise of its own intro cinematic, as that would have required too advanced a level of planning and AI reactivity, at least on the part of your teammates. But rolling along with the blunders was part of the fun. Losing my medic on the next to last mission, right before the final stand-off, to an isolated grunt I had neglected to spot, felt like a proper movie moment, so I didn’t reload a save or replace him.

    It had deep systems (when does an enemy shoot the gun out of your hand? – unscripted!) and dramatic flair (the tanks on the desert maps felt suitably menacing without having to enter the scene by crashing through a wall).
    Also texture work on the whole was pretty amazing.

  6. cairbre says:

    This was one of my all-time favourite games. Good times and the graphics at the time were mindblowing.

  7. BobbyDylan says:

    Such a good game. I would love for an updated version of it.

  8. CdrJameson says:

    I’ve restarted this a few times, but just keep killing my whole squad in the barbed wire maze in the training mission.
    It’s a tough old job.

  9. TheBeret says:

    Just a helpful hint that when a game is on sale on both Steam and GOG, avoid the DRM and -always- go with GOG. Alright, carry on soldier- link to gog.com