There are two sorts of contract killer. There’s the shady, scarred sort of guy with an eye patch and Eastern European accent who’s only ever glimpsed through a pall of cigarette smoke, hangs out in underworld bars with lighting problems, and has a nickname prefixed with Little or Lucky or The. He’d be prosecuted and sentenced to forever in prison if ever apprehended by the authorities, but that’ll never happen – guys like this guy don’t get nabbed by the rozzers, they go out in a dramatic and usually subtly ironic way that probably involves a helicopter or an empty dam or a grotty, abandoned tenement on the Lower East Side. Then there’s the other sort of of contract killer – that’s the rakish, gum-chewing sort of guy with shaggy blonde hair and perfectly straight teeth, who looks like the sort of guy who has lots of sex with lots of hot women because that’s what he does. Although both sorts kill people for hard cash, only one of these guys works for a Private Military Contractor. That’s all the difference between rotting forgotten in a hole and being totally awesome, boys and girls. If you’re going to kill people for hard cash, always make sure you’re a card-carrying member of a proper killing enterprise – a proper killing enterprise like the Association of International Mercenaries or, conveniently, AIM.
Cut scene to Arulco, a not-Central America now fallen on desperate times. Previously ruled by a democratic monarchy, the country’s former election candidate Enrico Chivaldori has been betrayed by his scheming wife Deidranna (who, perhaps not insignificantly, has an Eastern European accent) and abandoned the country, having faked his own death somehow. Left to her own nefarious devices, Dee Dee has set herself up as resident Queen of Everything and is generally being a huge bitch to everyone. Enrico hires a bunch of people to kill other people for hard cash, so his country can be a nice place again. Paragraphs one and two are, obviously, closely related to one another. ¡Y arriba!
“They don’t make them like they used to,” goes the aphorism, and it’s only too apparent with games like Jagged Alliance 2 over here. This is the kind of game that, if you don’t read the manual, you’ll simply never be able to play it – and nobody makes games like that anymore. No, now it’s all about condescending tutorials and infuriating helpy-helpers who won’t let you doing anything without asking if you’re absolutely sure you want to do what you’re doing, then reminding you that you’re doing what you’re doing before you actually can. But this isn’t SimCity Creator on DS, it’s Jagged Alliance 2 – a sort of X-Com mashed with Fallout Tactics mashed with Risk, and it’s all that sort of massively complicated you haven’t seen around since 2001. Sure, kids today won’t get it at all – but they weren’t there, man. They weren’t there.