Shadow Ops: Red Mercury Xbox

  • Publisher: Atari
  • Release Date: Jun 15, 2004
  • Also On: PC

Mixed or average reviews - based on 45 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 45
  2. Negative: 11 out of 45
Buy On
  1. One of the best values when considering that it fully supports Live and System Link play, has HD graphics support, and one of the best audio tracks ever laid down in a video game.
  2. There is a lot of value in the game with a rather large single-player mode (about twelve hours) and co-op, four-player split-screen and Xbox Live support. While there are other FPS that do things better, Shadow Ops is a solid entry.
  3. The game isn't perfect, but the amazing combination of gritty realism and cinematic elements makes up for some minor sore spots.
  4. I am also disappointed by the lack of blood. War is bloody and full of gore, and I want to see it all when I am playing.
  5. It feels like being in the middle of an action blockbuster.
  6. The lack of detail and setup options may annoy the hardcore FPS fans, but the arcade approach will appease most players.
  7. Shadow Ops hardly ever strays from its basic first-person shooter blueprint and that's what makes this a lackluster shooter, but the action is always of the pulse-pounding kind and that certainly counts for something.
  8. 75
    The creators seem to have focused more on blending cinematic elements and story arc than on controls and action. Still, it's a solid all-around title that pushes games in a different direction and serves as a vivid reminder that living in America is way better than living in Chechnya.
  9. One major plus point is a superb, absorbing 5.1-surround sound experience that demands volume and really brings the game to life.
  10. The biggest problem is that Shadow Ops apparent efforts at achieving a cinematic feel have fallen well flat and the FMV is disappointingly bland.
  11. Official Xbox Magazine
    While it doesn't have the style of "Halo" or the myriad of gameplay choices like "Splinter Cell," Shadow Ops is a decent throwback to simpler shooter times when running and gunning was all that is to be expected. [Aug 2004, p.77]
  12. An average shooter through and through. The gameplay is average and so are the graphics. There isn't anything new or exciting happening in this game, but mostly things we have seen done better in other titles.
  13. 70
    Yes, it has some glaring AI problems, some repetitive and overly simplistic gameplay aspects. And yeah, one of the final cut-scenes, where our hero lands on a speeding train, is about as PlayStation One graphics as it gets, I still enjoyed the game.
  14. It could've been a good title if it'd been tweaked more, especially in paying attention to the AI driving the opposition. But without that love, this is just another 'seen it 15 times this year' title.
  15. A reliable, well-designed and fun shooter title to provide you with some intense gameplay both in single player and multiplayer versions.
  16. With its no nonsense game play I recommend this title for those bored of the Tom Clancy approach to gaming.
  17. 70
    The lack of a quick save or manual save takes a great deal of enjoyment out of the game.
  18. 70
    The game sadly plays as a barely mediocre firefight.
  19. Arguably the most cinematic shooter on the market, and though the gameplay is flawed in some respects, the lengthy, engrossing single-player campaign is still worth the price of admission. The offline multiplayer component can provide a few small kicks as well, but Xbox Live owners should beware, as online play is dodgy, to say the least.
  20. 70
    A little frustrating, a little predictable, but like many a Hollywood blockbuster, it's a thrill ride worth taking.
  21. Starts off strong with a great story, flawless controls, and some initially impressive graphics, but the more you play the more the graphics start to reveal their flaws, as does the gameplay, when AI glitches and environmental bugs start to pop up and ruin the experience.
  22. The campaign missions can be pretty intense at times--but the underlying action itself lacks the sort of visceral punch that shooters ought to have. It's not that big of an issue in the heavily scripted single-player levels, but Shadow Ops' clunky multiplayer gameplay significantly suffers for it.
  23. Play Magazine
    A linear approach to design and the tired reliance on ubiquitously placed exploding barrels will raise red flags for some, but I'm always down for an intense march through a shooting gallery. [July 2004, p.73]
  24. Fans of the soldier shooting genre are better off sticking with the current and upcoming Tom Clancy games than looking at the weak shadow of a game that SORM ultimately turns out to be.
  25. Just another average game that tries well but just doesn't stand out amongst the myriad of great shooters out on the market.
  26. Cheat Code Central
    Probably the most disappointing aspect of the game is the way that it deals with the mechanics and animation of shooting. There are few indications that you are hitting your target aside from the enemy actually falling down.
  27. 60
    Perhaps the single biggest fault of Shadow Ops is that the game simply offers nothing new to the genre and lacks any personality.
  28. While the action is intense the first time you take control, this coolness becomes a novelty after a while. The missions are real basic and offer little flavor once you've played through the first few levels.
  29. A few interesting urban levels, cinematic cutscenes and kickass surround sound aren't enough to save Shadow Ops from being decidedly mediocre. It isn't horribly bad, but it isn't good either.
  30. 60
    There's always potential in the realistic shooter, and on paper, Shadow Ops seems pretty strong. But that crucial spark that separates the good from the great is mission in action.
  31. Pure, mindless action hindered by a couple of dud rounds.
  32. A merely passable game...Why have a White Castle hamburger when you can have a juicy steak? [Aug 2004, p.103]
  33. games(TM)
    An average single-player game with competent but not brilliant multiplayer modes tacked onto the side. [Aug 2004, p.106]
  34. 50
    Forgettable Moment: Missions 3-23, all more or less the same, all frustratingly linear and unoriginal.
  35. If not for the impressive sound and the sheer intensity of fighting a seemingly endless supply of terrorists, this game would have no redeeming qualities.
  36. The game lacks checkpoints, and missions can take upwards of twenty minutes to complete, so should you die 18 minutes into a level, you're forced to go through the entire level again. For a game this bad, that's torture.
  37. This is a bad game. A game so bland and annoying, it took twice as long as most other titles to play for a review because I could only bear it in 20-minute doses.
  38. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    This includes multiplayer, which is a joke: dull levels, instant respawns in capture the flag (try invading a base when downed enemies just reappear right away, with full health), and a horrible interface that leaves online soldiers more confused than eagerly anticipating the action. [Aug 2004, p.110]
  39. Many of the right elements are in play – lots of bad guys, decent graphics, online functionality - but it seems Shadow Ops: Red Mercury is merely following an old recipe without adding the proper seasoning to spice things up. The result is just a shadow of the competition.
  40. The fact of the matter is there are many other FPS on the Xbox that have a better story, better multiplayer play, and more innovation that will make you feel like you just made a smart 50 dollar purchase.
  41. This wonky A.I., coupled with an online component that falls flat on its face, makes Mercury hard to recommend for shooter fans. Just like Hollywood, rote imitation works for a short time only.
  42. Edge Magazine
    Shadow Ops feels like a game put together by a team bored by the clichés of the genre and the special forces material it was given to work with. This quickly communicates itself to the player. [Aug 2004, p.102]
  43. GMR Magazine
    It's a dull action-heavy first-person shooter emphasizing run-and-gun play rather than tactical warfare - with some noticeable slowdown when enemies and friendlies clog the screen. [Aug 2004, p.96]
  44. The game is so hopelessly generic, even with what little is does get right, it just can't rise above what it is... another "me-too" game.
  45. Frustrating, boring, and poorly executed, this is a game that is destined for the dustbin.

Awards & Rankings

#42 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2004
#53 Most Shared Xbox Game of 2004
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 11
  2. Negative: 3 out of 11
  1. SamJ.
    May 13, 2007
    Good game, but damn guys, how bout some checkpoints?? im what some might call a hardcore fps fan (like all i play is shooters) easy is too Good game, but damn guys, how bout some checkpoints?? im what some might call a hardcore fps fan (like all i play is shooters) easy is too easy, medium is challenging enough, but no save points! hard is insane! difficulty levels are not balanced! a good weekender, but dont buy it, there is never ANYONE online anyway. Full Review »
  2. BobM.
    Feb 1, 2005
    Shadow ops is a solid game. It is tough and very intense. The graphics are very nice and the levels are a blast. Everything is great in this Shadow ops is a solid game. It is tough and very intense. The graphics are very nice and the levels are a blast. Everything is great in this game except one thing. The are no checkpoints. You have to restart the long levels every time you die. Full Review »
  3. NuNRG
    Nov 18, 2004
    Definitely an under appreciated FPS. The graphics may not set a standard for the genre, however, it does have its moments. The sound effects Definitely an under appreciated FPS. The graphics may not set a standard for the genre, however, it does have its moments. The sound effects and music is among the best in an xbox game easily on the same level found in the recently released Halo 2. The aiming cursor feels very tight making it easy to aim in on targets. The control scheme setup rivals that of Halo's and in a few ways actually improves upon it. The left-trigger is used to zoom in making it easier and feel more natural than pushing in the R3 (very nice) Weapons change is done via the d-pad with each weapon assigned to a direction press for four weapons carrying at once vice two from Halo (an improvement) You can lob or roll a grenade with the black/white buttons (another improvement) Xbox live and link play support (oh yeah) and a fairly decent story to carry you through the game making Red Mercury a very solid purchase. Full Review »