S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

“S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl” is first-person shooter/role-playing game (without gaining experience, levels or changing characteristics) which is loosely based on the nuclear disaster which occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. According to the game, in 1986, a nuclear disaster occurred at the Chernobyl power station. The Soviets created an “Exclusion Zone” around this nuclear disaster sight. Unfortunately, in 2006, a second nuclear explosion happened at the reactor. This second explosion eliminated all living things in and near the Zone and caused the Zone’s boundaries to ripple creating waves of mutated creatures and deadly radiation. The game takes place in 2012, six years after the second explosion. Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killer, Explorers and Robbers (S.T.A.L.K.E.R) have traveled into the Zone looking for artifacts imbued with energy, as well as searching for the truth behind the Zone. The player is one of these S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s.

“S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl” was developed by GSC Game World and published by CIS: GSC World Publishing. The game was released in 2007 for the Windows PC. The game was followed by a prequel, “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky” in 2008 and a sequel, “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat” in 2010. All three games are available online via the “STEAM” Entertainment platform. There is also a “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.” movie and book series, which are based on ideas behind the games.

The player is a “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.” who awakens in the Zone. The player must fight for survival while trying to discover the secrets of Chernobyl and try to escape. Unfortunately, the radiation in the Zone has caused mutations among humans, animals and plants. The mutated animals in the game include: birds, dogs, boars, and others. The mutated humans come in five different types: Bloodsuckers (large monsters with sharp claws and tentacles, and can turn invisible), Snorks (humans wearing gas masks, who kick and claw), Poltergeists (invisible mutants surrounded by a ball of electricity), Pseudogiants (mutated ball of several humans combined), and Controllers (humans with a large head that use psi powers).

“S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl” uses the “X-Ray Engine,” which is the name of the 3D gaming engine created by GSC Game World. The “X-Ray Engine” uses the “Alife” artificial intelligence engine in the “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.” games. Instead of characters in the game being scripted, “Alife” supports more than one thousand characters in the “Zone” These characters are developed even when not in contact with the player. These NPC characters have a life cycle which includes: tasks, combat, rest, feeding and sleep. This is also true for the monsters/animals (hunt, attack, rest, eat and sleep). Since the characters in the game are non-scripted, that means there are an unlimited number of random quests. The artificial intelligence characters movements around the entire Zone are left up to them. They move as they wish.

“S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl” has received mixed reviews and rewards over the years. Critics were impressed with the game style and depth, but bad reviews were given for the bugs, glitches and other technical issues. The game won GameSpot’s Special Achievement Award for “Best Atmosphere” in 2007.