Xbox cover art of Sniper Elite
|Genre(s)||Tactical shooter, stealth|
Sniper Elite, also known as Sniper Elite: Berlin 1945, is a tactical shooter video game developed by Rebellion Developments and published by MC2 France in 2005. In 2012, to coincide with the release of the remake Sniper Elite V2, it was re-issued through Steam by Rebellion itself. A sequel titled Sniper Elite 3 was released in 2014.
The main character of Sniper Elite is Karl Fairburne, an American OSS secret agent disguised as a German sniper. He is inserted into the Battle of Berlin in 1945, during the final days of World War II, with the critical objective of obtaining German nuclear technology before the Soviet Union.
Sniper Elite is a third-person shooter that involves stealth and first-person shooter game elements. To reinforce the stealth aspect, there is a camouflage index measured in percentage that displays the visibility of the player character Fairburne. Fairburne uses several World War II-era weapons, including sniper rifles, a silenced pistol, submachine guns, light machine guns, an anti-tank weapon, and hand grenades that can be also used to set up tripwire booby traps.
One of the main features of the game is the option of realistic ballistics, involving factors such as bullet drop, wind strength, and breathing when attempting a shot. Sniping gameplay is performed in first person scope view, whereas movement and use of all other weapons is in third person view. When the player successfully takes a particularly well-placed sniper shot (such as a head shot or a shot on a moving target), the view follows the path of the bullet in slow motion, while the camera rotates around the bullet.
Features include an ability to wound an enemy so that their comrades expose their position by coming to their rescue, detonating grenades and fuel tanks with well-aimed rifle fire, and timing shots so that loud noises such as thunder or artillery blasts mask the sound.
The game follows protagonist Karl Fairburne as he attempts to prevent the Soviet Union taking control of Germany's nuclear secrets in and around Berlin in April 1945. Very little information is known about his background, other than he was raised in Berlin before the war broke out, that he studied at West Point shortly after America's entrance into the war, and the fact that he was chosen for this mission because the city was his childhood home.
There are several factions active in the city, including the German resistance, who wish to aid Karl, the Soviet NKVD, and the Nazi forces. The historical Nazi official Martin Bormann, an extremely powerful figure within the Third Reich, is one of Karl's targets for assassination as he plans to meet up with an NKVD contact at the Brandenburg Gate to defect to the Soviet Union. The rest of the characters (such as Dr. Max Lohmann, a key German scientist who Fairburne is assigned to help capture and escort out of Berlin to America in order to prevent him from falling into the hands of the NKVD) are fictional with the exception of General Patton who has sent Fairburne on his mission.
The Wii version of the game was released by Reef Entertainment in North America in September 2010. It is compatible with the Wii Remote and Wii Zapper and contains a bonus new level. The game was also released in Europe later the same year.
Sniper Elite was awarded "Best PC/Console Game" in the TIGA Awards of 2005. As of 2010, the game holds GameRankings scores of 73.44% for the PC version, 76.65% for the PlayStation 2, 76.97% for the Xbox, and 70% for the Wii.
Rebellion's book imprint Abaddon Books released a novel inspired by the game, Sniper Elite: The Spear of Destiny written by Jasper Bark. In this book, Karl Fairburne's mission is to stop Nazi SS general Helmstadt from selling a working atomic bomb to the Soviets.
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- Jasper Bark, Abaddon Books, August 2006, ISBN 1-905437-04-8
- "Sniper Elite: Spear Of Destiny". Jasperbark.com. Retrieved 2014-05-15.