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Memory Lane Monday: Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy

by on April 18, 2017
 

Note: So I had this post written yesterday and never published it. Whoops! Sort of defeats the purpose of “Memory Lane Monday” but oh well, we’ll fix that going forward. In any event, read, enjoy and share your gaming memories below in the comments!

So while most gaming, movie, and comic sites tend to be nothing “but” regurgitated news, which we are guilty of as well, we wanted to make sure we offer you all some unique, exclusive posts, so this is just one idea we are running with at the moment, aside from my scathing rants on games like Halo 5, we’ll be giving you something you can interact with, comment on, which are focused at getting you all involved.

With Memory Lane Monday’s, we’re going to look back at games we played, that left a mark on our memories for whatever reason. Maybe you remember these games too, perhaps you feel the same, or the complete opposite. We’d love to hear your thoughts either way. So with being said, let’s get to this week’s game, Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy.

Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, released in June of 2004, was a game developed in-house at Midway Games, at a time when the company was struggling, due to shitty games, however, this game was actually really good. Metacritic has the game at an 84 (out of 100), while user reviews peg the game around 8.9 (out of 10), I too, would put this game at around an 8.8-8.9, for the time it was released. Back on the original Xbox, which is what I played it on, the game was my first introduction to true, ragdoll physics, using the Havok Engine (2.0) and was a great looking game – again, for the time.

In Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, you play as Nick Scryer, who is a “PSI-operative” who wakes up with his mind being wiped, so that he can infiltrate a terrorist group. Unfortunately for Nick, but good for users, it sets up the game, as he must escape with the help of a double-agent, Sara, who assists him throughout the game, during which you begin to re-learn your psi-abilities.

For me, this game is what many of the Star Wars games “should” have been, in terms of powers. Midway did an amazing job with the PSI-abilities and how they felt to use them, particularly the “force grab” and throw. You could use your abilities to pick up enemies and literally throw them down hallways, over crates and into walls, hearing a satisfying “thump” sound. But Nick had more than just telekinesis, he also had the ability to do remote viewing, mind drain, mind control and even Pyrokinesis and few others. The game was played from a 3rd person perspective, which allowed players to see their character [Nick] doing all of these cool moves.

Aside from all the cool powers, the real selling point of this game, the story was also pretty cool and interesting for a game that was coming out of Midway, during their “crisis of crap” years. While this game was released in 2004, I’m not sure many of you will ever plan to play it, but just in case, I’ll give you the whole “SPOILERS” warning here.

SPOILERS – DON’T READ UNLESS YOU WANT THE STORY AND ENDING REVEALED AND IF YOU PLAN TO PLAY THIS GAME!

So, as I mentioned, Nick wakes up with no memories and has to regain his abilities one at a time. This is all happening during a terrorist plot which is being developed by a rogue group, filled with former psi-ops, whom Nick has to battle. These former agents are being led by a General, who is seeking powerful artifacts that have been around for years and have been fought for, for decades, even causing WWII. When these artifacts are joined together, they give the user immense psychic powers.

What’s great, is this is also a time when awesome boss battles still existed in games, and were done with themes, so each former Psi-Op Nick has to battle, has a mastery over one of his specific psi-abilities. They are pretty cool battles and when done in 3rd person with all of Nick’s abilities, it’s fun. What’s better is that with each battle, Nick is remembering more and more of his abilities, so he’s getting stronger each time and has more at his disposal with each fight.

Sara, who I mentioned is a double Agent, is also an interesting piece of the puzzle. In certain parts of the game, she’s friendly and helpful, in others, she’s an enemy and it leaves you, the player, thinking, what’s up with Sara? Is she a robot, is she mind controlled, what is it? Turns out, you just got played like the Prestige. Sara has a twin, who’s bad and has being playing you, when her sister isn’t around. Sara does kill her twin towards the end, however.

When the game is beginning to wrap up, Nick has regained all of his abilities and is ready to face the General and destroy the artifacts that have been joined with a special machine that would give the General unlimited psychic powers. The General begins to use the device on himself, but to defeat him, the player has to absorb the power for him/herself and in turn use them to defeat the General.

Once you’ve beaten the General, the device is then broken down and two helicopters come and just scoop them up and take them, all Indiana Jones and Ark style, leaving Nick and Sara, without ever caring they’re there. The game ends with a cut scene of Nick using his new, stronger power to crash one of the helicopters. The game ends with a black screen and the words… “To Be Continued.”

Sadly, there has never been a game to follow up Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy. In 2006-2007, Midway games had legal troubles, filed for bankruptcy and continued to purge money.  You may ask yourself, or me, why didn’t they just fast track a Psi-Ops sequel, since the first game sold well and was well-received, to make some cash. They had two years, right? After the release of Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, a company called Mindshadow Entertainment sued Midway, claiming they stole the concept of Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy from a screenplay owned by one of their clients. On December 2, 2008, a Judge ruled in Midway’s favor, as they found no evidence that there was any copyright infringement.

However, the damage was done. With a string of bombs after Psi-Ops and no sequel to help the company stay afloat and mounting legal costs, the company was taken over by Warner Bros. in 2009 and pieces began to be sold off. The rights to Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy belong to someone now, I’m just not sure who and I’m not sure why nothing has been done with the property. In the right hands, this IP could be a hit again.

All I know is I had a blast playing this game. I love the powers, the rag doll physics and the story. I just wish we had gotten the sequel we were promised 13 years ago. In any event, check out the video of the game play below, even if you read the spoilers, if you have a PS2 or Xbox that still runs, you need find and try this game, you owe it to yourself as a gamer.