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Video Game / Hidden & Dangerous

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Hidden & Dangerous is a first-person/third-person shooter focused on tactical gameplay, released on PC in 1999. It was developed by the Czech company Illusion Softworks and was later ported to Dreamcast and PlayStation.

The game has the player control a variable four-man squad of British SAS commandos through six campaigns across Europe in World War II. The player can choose their campaign loadouts from a pool of men and equipment, and similar to other games in the genre such as Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon, soldiers who die during missions remain permanently dead. H&D is one of the pioneers of squad-based tactical gameplay, featuring a 3D tactical map accessible during missions and containing a robust command system, as well as varied missions with objectives ranging from sabotage and prisoner rescue to simply escaping from enemy territory.

An Expansion Pack, known as Fight for Freedom in Europe and Devil's Bridge in North America, was quickly released in the same year, adding new soldiers, weapons and missions. The base game and expansion were later released for free in 2003 as an updated Deluxe edition. The sequel, Hidden & Dangerous 2, was released later the same year.

This series provides examples of:

  • Artificial Stupidity: Your soldiers are prone to silly pathfinding, wasting ammo on enemies they can't hit and outright ignoring some orders among other things. The enemies get their fair share too.
    • Your own troops make no effort to avoid enemy grenades in the second game, if a grenade lands right behind you and you start running forwards, your squad behind you will run directly behind you and get caught in the explosion instead of moving away from you to avoid the grenade.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The German island province of Peenemünde looks strangely Alpine in this game.
  • Artistic License – History: The games portray the SAS operating in some theatres of war they never partook in, or did so at a different time. In general, they have the SAS act as a stand in for the British Commandos and several other British special units.
  • Bowdlerize: Some versions of the game replace dead bodies with large bags of loot.
  • Camera Perspective Switch: The player can switch between a first-person and two different third-person perspectives.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • The enemies can occasionally shoot through bushes and fences your bullets can't penetrate.
    • In the Stealth-Based Mission, you have to sneak through an occupied town in civilian clothes and steal a boat in order to reach the next objective. However if you blow your cover the jetty guards somehow immediately know what your mission objective is and run for the boat in order to sail it away causing a mission fail regardless of how unlikely it would be for real soldiers to come to that conclusion.
      Hmm, I just heard a couple of shots from the other side of town. Must be from a bunch of Allied commandos trying to get to this boat behind me and steal it for their next mission - I’d better sail it away right now so they can’t get it!
    • Enemy troops in the second game can randomly become elite marksmen and headshot your men across the room, with a pistol (Which is held in a one-handed grip by both sides and is EXTREMELY inaccurate and only good for extreme close-range combat for you.) and enemies with unscoped rifles/SMGs can easily hit you at distances where you need to hold your breath to have a chance of hitting with a sniper rifle, this only gets more and more common the harder the difficulty.
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard: Some of the mission briefings offer misleading or incorrect information, although this could be chalked up to spotty military intelligence.
  • Emergency Weapon: The knife can be equipped for this purpose for a negligible cost in weight.
  • Expansion Pack: Both the first and the second game received one.
  • Foregone Conclusion: One mission in the second game features you planting underwater explosives on the Tirpitz. Since the ship was never sunk (no matter how hard the Allies tried, and they tried a lot), it is clear the mines will fail.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Quite a few, even after several patches. Some were fixed in the Deluxe edition.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: You can freely change your squad composition and loadout between consecutive missions when they couldn't realistically have returned to base in between.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The expansion has the SAS fighting off the communist partisans in post-war Greece, where they are depicted as terrorists. However this can be seen as Video Game Historical Revisionism, as the side the SAS was fighting for, the Kingdom of Greece, was no better, and its forces consists of former Nazi collaborators that engaged a campaign of systemic killings against leftists.
  • Irrelevant Importance:
    • An early mission features an attack on an oil refinery in order to free some prisoners believed to be held there. They are not present, but a worker reveals under threat that they were taken to a certain location. At this point the player has learned all there is to know, and killing the informant shouldn't make any discernible difference (it can be justified as, say, covering one's traces). Yet if one does so, the mission will inexplicably fail. Well, it would probably give the Germans a propaganda victory (in the cold-blooded murder of a noncombatant) and make relations with the Italian resistance difficult.
    • In another mission, the player had to destroy a water lock with the cannon of a parked tank. When this had been accomplished one would think that one might as well blow up said tank, to deny its use to the enemy. Yet if this is done, the mission will fail, even if the lock is already destroyed.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Your soldiers can climb over a few select waist-height obstacles but not most of them.
  • No Swastikas: The Deluxe edition censored several textures, including anything with a swastika. It's easy to decensor the game with a mod, however.
  • Nintendo Hard: Be prepared to reload and retry a lot. You only get one save slot per mission, too.
  • On-Site Procurement: You can only bring so much starting equipment into a campaign, and you'll soon run out if you don't loot enemy corpses on missions.
  • Optional Stealth: In the stealth mission mentioned below, if you can’t be bothered with stealth, you can get around it by setting up a machine gun covering the jetty the boat is moored to, breaking stealth, then blind firing across the jetty and killing the enemy soldiers who suicidally run into the line of bullets in front of them.
  • Permadeath: Squad members who die during a mission stay dead for the rest of the game.
  • Selective Historical Armoury: The selection of available guns is a bit bizarre, and the Germans only use scoped rifles in the base game resulting in ridiculous numbers of enemy snipers. Somewhat alleviated in the expansion, and mostly gone by the second game, where everyone has learned how to use rifles without scopes. Though the Italians in the second game use exclusively German equipment.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: One mission requires sneaking to a boat through a German-occupied town in civilian clothing. A single shot fired will cause all the Germans guarding the boat to make a race for who can abscond with it the fastest.
  • Super Drowning Skills: These highly trained commandos die if they get wet up to their waists or just ankles, depending on the level.
  • Squad Controls: Both simple real-time verbal commands and more in-depth commands on the map screen. Don't count on the AI obeying them too reliably, though.
  • Tactical Shooter: One of the first.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Beyond the Nintendo Hard combat, the game often throws unexpected curveballs at you such as suddenly spawning hordes of enemies out of a building, potentially resulting in your entire team getting wiped out in seconds. The mission may also differ so much from the initial briefing that you may have to go back and change your mission loadout.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: It's possible to not have mission-critical equipment at hand when it's needed to progress either because you neglected to bring some, because you wasted it on accident or because the soldier carrying it fell through the world thanks to a bug, thankfully the second game forces you to bring any mission-vital equipment and usually has some spare dynamite laying around in case you didn't bring enough.
  • Updated Re-release: Hidden & Dangerous: Deluxe
  • You ALL Look Familiar: The original version had unique models for each SAS soldier, but the Deluxe edition got rid of this variety, apparently in an effort to improve performance.