In the last couple of years, Sega has released a lot of games that had too many flaws to become classics, but had enough fresh ideas to make them worth playing. Sure, Shenmue was boring, but at least it wasn't rehashed. Although Phantasy Star Online might have been repetitive and shallow, nothing of its kind had ever been released on a console before. With the release of Confidential Mission, sadly, Sega has broken this trend. This title is simply mediocre, about as fresh as mold and as replayable as a hand grenade.

Confidential Mission is Segas latest offering in the light gun genre, where the objectives are straightforward and simple; shoot the bad guys, dont shoot the good guys. As in the Virtua Cop series, a green circle surrounds each enemy, and when the circle turns from green to red, the enemy shoots you, resulting in a loss of health. Also included are some standard-issue power-ups such as an assault rifle that gives you 45 rounds of automatic fire, a grenade, and so on. This game also adheres to the long-standing shooter tradition of stunningly bad storylines, featuring a tired and clichéd GoldenEye rip-off that fails to elicit anything but eye-rolling.

The one minor innovation Confidential Mission can claim is the "special" event feature. This consists of sections where you take a break from gunning down endless mobs of poorly trained terrorists and engage in spy-themed minigames, with your failure/success altering the path you will take. The assignment to shoot a rope launcher across a courtyard was a fresh idea, no doubt, but by the time you reach the second level, these events degenerate into such pointless busywork as mashing the B button or repeatedly shooting an unmoving target. Is this Segas idea of entertainment? In addition to that, with one single exception, the path you take actually stays the same, but with only a few more terrorists thrown into the fray rather than being an actual new branch.

Compounding this linearity is the fact that Confidential Missions main game only has three levels, and rather easy ones at that. It just doesnt have the longevity or replayability of The House Of The Dead 2, or even Virtua Cop 2. Other modes include a batch of frustrating training levels and, upon completing these, some bonus stages. Unfortunately, these are merely versions of the original three missions with exactly the same events and paths, only with more enemies and civilians. Needless to say, it's not much of a reward, or something that anybody will spend much time playing. On top of all that, the games control with the Dreamcast pad is lackluster at best, as can be expected from a light gun game, so you'll need to purchase the guns (see sidebar) to get the true arcade experience.

At first, Confidential Mission is a blast to play since it moves at a blazing clip through the nicely rendered levels to provide a fun, if brainless, experience. Unfortunately, because of the lack of branching paths or hidden items, youll probably get tired of this game after beating it a couple of times, which can be easily done in about an hour. No matter how fast the action is, you can only play through the three environments so many times before they become stale, and the aggravating training levels don't add much play value either. At best its a decent rental, and even in that capacity, itll probably only satisfy those with light gun accessories. It's a real shame that Sega followed up the excellent The House Of The Dead 2 with such an uninspired, incomplete product. Rating 3.5 out of 10.

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