Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn

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Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn
Covert Ops Nuclear Dawn cover.jpg
North American cover
Developer(s) Sugar & Rockets
Composer(s) Takeo Miratsu
Platform(s) PlayStation
  • JP: January 27, 2000
  • NA: May 31, 2000
  • EU: September 8, 2000
Genre(s) Third-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player

Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn, otherwise known as Chase the Express (チェイス・ザ・エクスプレス, Cheisu Za Ekusupuresu), is a video game created by Sugar & Rockets for the PlayStation, and released in 2000. On March 16, 2000 Activision announced that they had acquired the North American publishing rights to Sony Computer Entertainment's Japanese action-adventure game, Chase The Express. The game was then renamed Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn for the North American market.


The player controls Lieutenant Jack Morton of NATO, the sole survivor of a terrorist strike on the Blue Harvest, an armored train carrying the French Ambassador from St Petersburg to Paris. He is aided by the NATO council throughout the game. Traveling around the various carriages of the train, the player must defeat the terrorists, find the French ambassador, and prevent the terrorists from using a nuclear weapon.

The terrorists, under the leadership of Boris Zugoski, detonate some C4 charges in parts of the train, kill all those who resist and take the French ambassador's family hostage.

Soon after making his way back into the train, Jack finds the ambassador and his secretary, Philip Mason, in the VIP lounge of Car 10. Jack is then given the task of rescuing the French Ambassador's wife and daughter. Along the way he encounters Christina Wayborn, one of the ambassador's Special Police. After finding the ambassador's family and clearing Car 14 (which was destroyed in the attack) of terrorists, Jack calls in a rescue team who save the ambassador's wife and daughter. However, the ambassador has gone missing. The daughter, Jane, gives Jack a pendant and asks him to give it to her father. Jack goes back to the VIP lounge to find out that the French Ambassador has been taken away, and mason was knocked out in the struggle.

Shortly after, the NATO council inform Jack that the terrorists intend to launch missiles against neighbouring countries in retaliation for rescuing the ambassador's family. Jack blows up one of the missiles after meeting Billy MacGuire, another survivor who is heavily wounded. Afterwards he makes his way to the control room and stops the launch procedure. He then uses the AA gun on the train to shoot down enemy helicopters guarding it from another rescue crew.

After this, Boris-the terrorist leader-contacts the NATO council and demands 20 billion dollars and safe rail passage to France in exchange for the French Ambassador. The council abort the rescue mission and Jack reconvenes with Christina and Mason in Car 9. Billy is losing a lot of blood, so Jack clears out Car 6 and Christina and Mason meet him in the infirmary there. It turns out that Billy has lost a lot of blood and needs a blood transfusion. Whether or not he survives depends on the player's actions. Either way, Morton is directed to Car 5.

The events of the game here change depending on the scenario the player is doing. If Scenario S, Jack fights an enemy boss using a crossbow and takes the crossbow. If not Scenario S, a freight train pulls alongside the Blue Harvest and Jack jumps onto it to fight the boss. After defeating the boss, Morton is then given a limited time to get back to the Blue Harvest or the freight train will drive onto a broken bridge and fall, killing him.

Jack makes his way to Car 5 and-after overcoming some defenses-finds an IC Chip. If playing on Scenario S, Jack is gassed and taken to a church, leaving a player-controlled Christina to rescue him and make it back to the Blue Harvest via a small plane.

Jack heads to Car 6 after hearing a gunshot over the radio, and after rescuing Christina he is given a message by Boris: come to Car 12 as soon as possible. Jack directs Christina to Car 4 to search for the ambassador while he heads to Car 12. On the way to Car 12, he encounters another boss using a flamethrower. When Jack reaches Car 12, Boris demands Jack hand over the IC Chip and the ambassador. Jack is confused and states that the terrorists are holding the ambassador hostage. Boris will then shoot Billy (if he has survived to now) and the boss fight will start. (This does not happen in Scenario S.) After Boris is defeated, whether or not Billy has survived the gunshot depends on if the player gave him his bulletproof vest.

Jack then makes his way back to Car 4. However, Christina is kidnapped by Philip Mason, the ambassador's secretary. Mason is actually a double agent sent to steal a data disk and the IC Chip from the Blue Harvest. After Jack hands Mason the IC Chip, the ambassador reveals himself and leads Jack to the VIP lounge, where the data disc is kept. Jack takes the data disk. Morton heads to Car 15. On the way he encounters a third boss using two Pulse Rifles. When he gets to Car 15, he hands Mason the data disk in return for Christina (however, there is a fake data disk in the train that you can also hand to Mason). Mason then reveals what is on the disk: a blueprint for a hydrogen engine that could provide the world with almost limitless power, and Mason intends to use it to become rich. After triggering a small bomb in Car 15, he escapes in a helicopter and leaves Jack and Christina to escape the car on their own. Christina heads back to Car 4 to join the ambassador and (if he's survived up to now) Billy.

When Jack makes it back to Car 4, it is revealed that there are 6 nuclear warheads wired into the Blue Harvest's engine (which is a prototype of the hydrogen engine). Morton is given the task of defusing these warheads before the train reaches a nearby tunnel, or the NATO council will remotely detonate the train to prevent it reaching Paris. After Jack defuses the warheads, the NATO council abort the remote detonation mission but Christina tells him that the train itself will be used as a nuclear missile.

The detonation device is on the front of the train. Jack detaches the front car of the train from the rest and makes his way onto the front as the train enters a tunnel. After he defuses the bomb (if he gave Mason the fake information disc) Mason's helicopter will arrive and attempt to kill Jack.

The endings are affected by many different factor throughout the game. One of these factors is what data disk the player gave Mason in exchange for Christina. Another is whether or not Billy survives the events of the game.

Good endings consist of Mason attempting to escape in the helicopter but being stopped by Jack who stops the nuclear bombs on board. The Ambassador is saved as is Billy.

Bad endings consist of Mason escaping and remaining at large. Jack then stops the nuclear bombs however the Ambassador dies as does Billy.


The game is a third-person shooter, with other elements including puzzle solving, key searching, stealth and, at several points, driving the train. The game is divided into levels which take place on each carriage of the train, one such carriage may require the player to find key A that opens door B, while another could lead to a boss battle before disarming a bomb. The story here is not completely linear, events can change the entire game's course. The player can use hand-to-hand combat or ranged combat using a variety of weapons. Weapons can be customized using parts obtained throughout the game.

Game saves are completed in the train's toilets, where there is also an item box to store items inside.


Actor/Actress Role
Avi Landau Jack Morton
Colleen Lanki Christina Wayborn
Dean Harrington Boris Zugoski
Mike Worman Pierce Simon
Jeff Manning Phillip Mason
David Schaufele Billy MacGuire
William Ross Anderson


IGN gave Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn a poor 4.8 out of 10 criticising the gameplay of the game for bad controls and game design despite praising the graphics stating the game had "detailed environments and solid player models".[1]

In Japan, Famitsu magazine scored the game a 30 out of 40.[2]


  1. ^ IGN Reviews Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn (PS1)
  2. ^ プレイステーション - チェイス・ザ・エクスプレス. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.23. 30 June 2006.

See also[edit]

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory