Project IGI: An Irreplaceable Gem

By Gourav Dey

Information Technology has taken the world to new heights, which were close to being unimaginable for a 5-year-old child back in 2000. Yes, it has been an absolute venture since then. From not worrying about the system requirements to researching GPUs, we all grew up.

Think about it, is Call of Duty Warzone, not a fantasy fulfilled for someone who is playing Call of Duty 1 for the first time. Was I not mesmerized? Yes, COD Warzone is a great game. Beautiful by design, the graphics are jaw-dropping and you cannot really feel the brilliance unless you dive into the battlefield yourself. Speaking of ‘Battlefield’, that is another piece of art. We could endlessly talk about how creativity has enhanced our approach towards the FPS genre, from engaging stories like ‘Bioshock’ and ‘Dishonored’ to multi players like ‘Counter Strike’ and the recently introduced ‘Valorant’.

Being a vivid gamer, I try to play a large chunk of games from the FPS market. Although, I have not succeeded in playing all the FPS titles out there. I have certainly experienced enough on my journey of 20+ years of gaming. Today, I am going to share a memory of a game that absolutely blew my mind as a child.

I remember the day vividly; I was a child who thought his house was being invaded by a new breed of robot called ‘A Computer’. Fortunately, I realized that it was not going to eat the entire family. I was not interested though until one day I saw my father play ‘FIFA- Road to World Cup 98’. I have never been a football enthusiast, to be honest, but I was overwhelmed with what I saw.

A horrible-looking pitch, badly structured character models of players whom I did not even recognize. Putting it beside FIFA 21 now does not sound like a big deal. Although back then, I was blown away. A few days of me being a mere spectator turned into my first opportunity at gaming very quickly, my uncle gifted me a new game for my birthday and I was excited to try it out. As I was still a major rookie, or noob if one must speak with honesty, I knew that I had a CD and my uncle said he gave me a video game. I was unable to fathom the situation and rushed to my father with the issue at hand. He installed the game for me and shortly after, I started playing the love of my life ‘Project IGI’.

It was oddly satisfying, even though for the first few hours I could not even comprehend what was happening. My uncle helped me out in understanding the mechanics and the story of the game. By the end of the second mission ‘SAM Base’, I started doing things on my own. I started using creative ways to approach every mission. It was hard and tedious at times but worth all the efforts. Now, for someone who has grown up playing great-looking games, it would be a mystery as to how a traditional shooter game leaves an everlasting impact. Was it just another traditional first-person shooter, with a decent amount of design? Absolutely, if we look at what we are offered today.

Nevertheless, it was indeed a foundation for many fellow gamers who were born in the same era. It had a great soundtrack and yes, it looked amazing back then and still is. Within a few hours, I was heavily indulged in the storyline. Agent Jones felt like the coolest person ever. I remember when I completed the mission ‘Get Priboi’ it felt like an accomplishment, I thought I finished the game and suddenly a cutscene appeared. The Russian Air Control brought down our helicopter and ‘Ekk’ finally appeared, Ekk being the antagonist.

It was a major turn of events for me, I thought I was finally going to escort Priboi and be done with it. However, the game literally started testing skills from thereon after. The seventh mission aka ‘Border Crossing’ was one of the most challenging encounters that I faced throughout 20 years of gaming. Yes, Dark Souls is frustrating at times but nothing compared to the amount of planning I did as a child. I replayed the mission repeatedly; the mission was getting on my nerves. Nowadays, people tend to jump into a ‘walkthrough’ to be done with a particular level but in early 2000; we did not have such privileges. It took me hours to plan the next move. There were tanks, choppers and most importantly, landmines. The level was so demanding that when I completed it I felt like an absolute King. The weird thing is, even today I can wake up at any random point in time and will be able to recall every minute details of ‘Border Crossing’.

IGI will forever be close to my heart, someone who felt the essence of the game would acknowledge my undeniable attachment to the game. Not knowing that the sheer adrenaline rush of the experience will carve my path towards gaming. I have played countless hours of FPS games but nothing compares to the first headshot that I made with the Dragunov.