Virgin Interactive (EU, N64)
Midas Games (PS2, EU)
|Platform(s)||Nintendo 64, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Network|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
WinBack (known as Operation: Winback in Australia and Europe) is a third-person shooter video game developed by Koei's Omega Force studio for the Nintendo 64 in 1999 and PlayStation 2 in 2001. A second game with no related storyline, WinBack 2: Project Poseidon, produced by Cavia for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox game consoles, was released on April 25, 2006.
The story follows one Jean-Luc Cougar, a secret agent infiltrating a laser satellite's command center. Gameplay revolves around its innovative cover system, in which the player takes cover behind corners and then ducks out to shoot. The player cannot move while shooting; instead, the control stick is used to aim, a task made easier by the fact that every weapon is equipped with a laser sight.
The game was influenced by Metal Gear Solid and, in turn, WinBack's cover system eventually went on to influence several later shooters, including Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001) and Kill Switch (2003), which in turn influenced games like Gears of War (2006). The cover system has since become a staple of third-person shooters. WinBack also featured a laser-sight mechanic that was later incorporated in action games such as Metal Gear Solid 2 and Resident Evil 4 (2005), and in turn would also become a staple of third-person shooters.
A terrorist group called "Crying Lions" takes control of a space-based laser weapon. This is used to attack a military installation housing the controls to the weapon, called the GULF system. The leader of the terrorists calls himself Colonel Kenneth Coleman. The Secretary of Defense contacts the Special Covert Action Team (SCAT) with their orders: Enter the GULF complex and reclaim it. Jean-Luc Cougar is part of the team, and the last to escape the helicopter being shot down. The player takes control of Jean-Luc as he leaps a wall and enters a parking lot. The team is scattered throughout the complex and you must find them and destroy the satellite control center before the GULF satellite laser can recharge and fire again. Along the way you will face a number of laser traps, puzzles, machine gun nests, ambushes and mazes. You will face a series of bosses culminating in the final boss fight (against Kenneth Coleman's deputy Cecile).
There are two possible endings, depending on how long it takes the player (as Jean-Luc) to reach the control room.
- Good Ending
After killing Jin, one of the Crying Lions bosses, in the generator room, a confrontation emerges between the remaining active S.C.A.T. team members (Jake, Jean-Luc, and Lisa) and the remaining Crying Lions' bosses other than Kenneth Coleman (Cecile and Deathmask). A shootout erupts during which Jake is killed while Lisa is knocked unconscious and taken hostage by Cecile, who subsequently departs. Jean-Luc and Deathmask fight in one-on-one combat, with Jean-Luc emerging the victor and killing Deathmask, before Jean-Luc gives chase to Cecile.
Cecile, realizing that the Crying Lions objective is likely to fail with the S.C.A.T. team having penetrated so far into the facility, betrays and kills Kenneth Coleman, so as to take control of the terrorist group and the weaponized satellite to achieve his own ulterior motives: blackmailing the US government into giving him a large sum of money. However, S.C.A.T. team leader Dan arrives at the control room and seemingly kills Cecile. Lisa regains consciousness, and is surprised to discover that Dan is working with the Crying Lions, but is again disabled by Dan after he gives her details of how to destroy the satellite.
Upon reaching the satellite control room, Jean-Luc encounters Dan, who reveals he is a traitor, the killer of both Steve and Thomas, and forces Jean-Luc into a confrontation. After a fierce battle, Dan is mortally wounded and tells Jean-luc his reasons for his betrayal of the team: he is half-Saroczian. The war split his family in two, his mother and sister defected to Russia with him in tow, whilst his brother and father joined the Saroczian Revolution. Several years later after the separation, he joined the Army and was eventually sent on a mission by the US Forces to keep the government in power by quashing the revolution supported by a majority of the people. The mission was carried out but Dan was filled with regrets which he says fate was responsible for. He also met his brother, Kenneth Coleman, leader of the Crying Lions who fought to end the suffering of the Saroczian people and avenge his father's death. Dan subsequently dies of his wounds, and Cecile, who survived being shot by Dan earlier, appears and fights one last battle against Jean-Luc in which he is ultimately killed. Once the confrontation is over, Lisa arrives to discover that both Cecile and Dan are dead. Jean-luc Convinces Lisa to destroy the GULF satellite, believing it is too powerful for any one country to control. The GULF satellite is destroyed as Jean-Luc, Keith, and Lisa escape, with Operation Winback ending in success.
- Bad Ending
Jean-Luc finds both Lisa and Jake dead in the generator room, both presumably killed by Jin, the elusive (bad ending) Crying Lions boss whom Jean-Luc faces and kills in the generator room should he arrive fast enough (the good ending). Upon reaching the satellite control room, Jean-Luc finds Cecile waiting for him. Cecile tells Jean-Luc that he was too late, the satellite has already fired twice, destroying the Pentagon and White house. Jean-Luc confronts and kills Cecile and goes to the communications room to find Kenneth Coleman, pleased that his "objective" and "cause" was a success. After some talk, Kenneth shoots himself. Jean-Luc and Keith are the only survivors of Operation Winback, which is ultimately a failure.
The game featured a standard multiplayer mode and a Bot mode in the PlayStation 2 version of the game and only in the NTSC versions of the game, where players had access to all of the game's abilities and weapons. At the beginning of the game, all the members of Jean-Luc's team are available as selectable characters, all of them come with a basic hand gun as their initial weapon, except for Dan who comes with a unique gun as his main weapon. As the player finished the game or used the cheat code, they will unlock all the bosses and other characters that they had defeated or appeared in story mode. Each boss has a unique weapon that they used in the story mode with infinite ammo.
The game is a third person shooter. Lock ons are required to shoot enemies. There is also a cover system in the game to help avoid taking damage.
Both versions received generally favorable reviews. The PS2 version did slightly better than the N64, with its improved controls and graphics, but the voice-acting was criticized.
- "Gaming's most important evolutions". GamesRadar. 2010-10-08. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
- Gordon, Shawn (October 11, 2009). "Greatest "Retro" Console Games of All Time". Game Informer. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
- "WinBack: Covert Operations for Nintendo 64". GameRankings. 1999-09-30. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
- ニンテンドウ64 - WIN BACK. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.33. 30 June 2006.
- プレイステーション2 - WIN BACK. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.87. 30 June 2006.
- "WinBack: Covert Operations Reviews and Articles for Nintendo 64". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
- https://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.gamepro.com/article/reviews/2968/winback/&date=2011-11-30+22:33:23[dead link]
- Stahl, Ben (October 21, 1999). "WinBack Review". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
- Satterfield, Shane (April 4, 2001). "WinBack: Covert Operations Review". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
- Boulding, Aaron (19 October 1999). "WinBack: Covert Operations". Ign64.ign.com. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
- https://web.archive.org/web/20120927215736/http://www.gamecritics.com/review_grandia.html. Archived from the original on September 27, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2010. Missing or empty
- Goff, Steve (22 June 2000). "Winback: Covert Operations Review". Gamingtarget.com. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
- LaSaracina, AJ (25 May 2001). "PlayStation 2: Winback - Review". Gaming Target. Retrieved 2013-07-29.