XIII, the stylish and star-studded shooter about spies in the 1980s, is free to grab and download for keeps right now. If the enticement of getting a game gratis isn't enough for you, then read on to learn more about this retro highlight.
Released in 2003, the game is loosely inspired by the graphic novels of the same name. If I could sum it up shortly, the premise is a lot like The Bourne Identity. In fact, the series XIII hit the shelves in 1984 and the book of The Bourne Identity was published in 1980. Hm. Anyway. The story begins with a man who has washed up on a beach, suffering from a gunshot wound and amnesia. All he can remember is that he was attempting to escape from a boat before he was shot, and all he has in his possession is a bank deposit key and a tattoo of the Roman numeral "XIII" on his body. Actually, this does sound a lot like that espionage movie what came out in the early noughties with Matt Damon.
But, XIII boasts very famous voices who lent their star power to the game. The titular character himself is played by David Duchovny, who is well known for his role as Fox Mulder in The X-Files. And, singer and talk show host Eve voiced Major Jones, a soldier who accompanies XIII in his task to protect the U.S. government from a plot that would destroy democracy. Adam West is even here, as General Ben Carrington, a battle-hardened ally of XIII's who will stop at nothing to clear the spy's name.
Absolutely, it's a product of its time, but it also features an art style that riffs off the source material. The characters, environments, and weapons in XIII are cel-shaded, which creates a comic book-like effect and tones down the violence with poster paint red splats and sprays. Onomatopoeic words (like "bang," "crash," and "arrgh") pop out in a series of panels across the screen when the player scores a headshot, for example. It's a wonder then that the remake, released in 2020, deviated from this iconic choice, opting for a strangely smooth style that made it... anonymous. The developer and publisher actually issued an apology for the way the remake turned out, including the technical problems, and the game has got an "Overwhelmingly Negative" tag on Steam.
Eesh. Well, that isn't this, and the original XIII is still a banger of a hammy spy game from the early 2000s. You can pick it up here on GOG.com, which currently has a major sale across more than 3,000 games.
Featured Image Credit: Ubisoft
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