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Operation Blackknife

  • Currently 3.7/5
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Rating: 3.7/5 (42 votes)
Comments (22) | Views (3,014)
AdamCOperation BlackknifeJust admit it: we all want to go to space. That's what put Neil Armstrong on the moon; it's why the Star Wars universe has captivated audiences for years; it's why you must always remember to set your phasers to stun lest you stir up an intergalactic war... er, sorry, I nerded out there for a second. The point is, space is awesome, and fighting in space is even better. That's what Operation Blackknife, a new top-down sci-fi action game from LoneWolf Productions, is all about: spaceships and space battles. Beam me up, Scotty.

You pilot the experimental ship X-1 Delta, armed to the teeth with weapons, shields, and other goodies to blast away at the ships and base of a corporation that for some reason has gone evil (typically not a good business strategy). The story plops you down in the seat of the ship, just before your base is attacked by an unidentified vessel. Maneuver with the [arrow] keys while you aim and fire with the mouse. The game has a nice, if a bit lengthy, tutorial section, so you won't feel overwhelmed. Enemies will drop credits that you can use to buy even more weapons, expediting the destruction process. A key feature of the game, aside from augmenting your ship, is the ability to use auxiliary powers, which are accessed by holding the [C] button. You can throw on some armor, cloak your ship, or give it that extra boost of speed beyond the afterburners. All three are driven by auxiliary power, and the system is balanced so that they will only give you a slight edge in battle rather than morphing you into some unstoppable Deux Ex Machina.

Operation BlackknifeEverything controls well. Your ship is sluggish and unprepared at first, but a few upgrades later and you'll... well, you still won't feel like you're moving with frightening speed, but it's a noticeable improvement. The variety of weapons isn't as impressive as I thought it would be while there are too many upgrades and modules to keep track of. Still, seeing exactly what your ship can do after adding a second pulsar lance is a lot of fun, and there are sandbox and "Endless Wave" modes to play around with some of the things you might miss in the story mode.

I found Operation Blackknife surprisingly immersive. Rather than an endless stream of baddies and samey levels, the game switches things up from level to level. Sometimes you'll be defending a base, at other times, you'll be guiding a rescue ship through a field of radioactive wreckage. One level launches you into unguided hyperspace where you have to dodge friggin' black holes. Wait, why aren't you playing this game right now? Okay, to be fair, it's kind of short, which could mean that either it doesn't overstay its welcome or never really reaches its full potential. For me, it's the latter. By the end, which came quite abruptly, I wanted to experience more. Maybe we'll have a sequel in the future, but for now, enjoy a spacey romp through space. Space. The Final Frontier. Cue the Star Trek music.

Play Operation Blackknife


Maybe I just suck, but I can't even get past the tutorial. It took me four times just to be able to read what to do when that thing's about to explode.. talk about short notice.
Also, I don't like the controls. Would be much more intuitive if W and S were forwards and backwards instead of up and down..

verticalshine August 12, 2010 3:06 PM

Was getting into it but when it came time to get tooled up I entered the hanger, spent all my money, and came out. I was still told go to hanger, and there was no other indicator of where the enemy was???


It was quite easy once you know how... Zooming out helps to dodge homing missiles, and that's about all ou need to reach the end. It's SHORT, VERY SHORT, which bothers me because it was quite fun while it lasted...


I had the same problem as verticalshine.


There's a lot of polish in the game, but it still needs more. I managed to screw it up after completing a mission - the next mission started with all my attributes NaN and my ship did not appear on the screen.

I'm also not terribly enamored with the control scheme, but I liked most of the rest of the game. If other people are seeing bugs too I think this needed just a little more time in the cooker.


The game is rather bug-ridden: It seems pretty good, but there are so many glitches, and it's so difficult to be "good" that I can't get past the tutorial; whenever I do, I'm killed instantly after or just before, or the game fails to realize that I've already destroyed the jammers!


You know, although as a nerd I love the Star Trek references, this game is far more heavily-laden with Battlestar Galactica and that would probably be more fitting for the review.


@Kangra: I had the exact same problem. I needed to use 'cloak' for basically the entire level but since my auxillary levels showed as 'NaN' I couldn't, which made the level unbeatable. I retried the level a few times and the same problem occurred, but when I exit to the main menu and then hit continue the problem was solved.

Very buggy and annoying, though.


Just too many controls and not enough reaction speed to the game. This could be really good if they didn't make the game for someone with 20 fingers.


My main gripe, and the one convinced me that the game wouldn't show up on this site (snort) was the lousy save points. Being forced to go through that tutorial over and over because you bought the wrong upgrades and die in the up coming mission was insult on top of the injury that the game reloaded your post save point state. Yeah, so instead of dying and getting my money back and buying different upgrades, you find yourself with the same mistake upgrades and not enough cash to fix it. I'm not entirely convinced you don't start with reduced health too.


Seems neat, but I've got the same problem as kdausman and verticalshine....


So, I get the rescue ship, and they say I need to get weaponized. The Weapons LoadOut screen opens, but I don't have any weapons. I go to the shop, but I don't have any credits. I take a look at the upgrades, but none of them are free. Then I check "manage modules," and of course I have nothing to manage. Now I can't get it to close so I can go back to the game.


This game would be a ton of fun if the developer hadn't neglected basic game functionality for shiny features.

As it stands:

  • The hyperspace level is one of the most unfun levels I've seen in a long time.

  • People really need to stop giving enemies weapons that automatically deal damage, no matter how small that damage is.

  • Checkpoints!

  • It would be really nice to be able to skip movies, especially when dying makes you watch the intro movie over again.

  • The game has a really bad habit of finishing a level and autosaving right after you die, leaving that save unusable.

  • The game lags. I have no idea how this works, since it only has about forty things on screen at once.

  • Needs more variety. More weapons, some defensive items, etcetera.

A tip for those of you that really want to suffer through this: that thing below the radar is actually a viewradius slider, but the buttons don't work. You have to drag the indicator from the left to the right.

Also, the quicktime event at the start of the game is unwinnable unless you're at high quality; on low quality, some of your keystrokes disappear into limbo.

There, I think I've depressurized for the day.


I didn't make it past the first mission. I got destroyed at the first enemy jump gate/transmitter.

When I respawned they made me go through all the tutorial junk again. I bought missiles, but apparently when you buy a missile you only get one? I'm not sure.

I made it to the second jump gate, then was destroyed again, sending me back to the tutorial AGAIN.

That's when I closed the window.

The game had a lot of fun style, but the basic gameplay was so poor I can't be bothered to retry.

Anonymous August 13, 2010 1:02 PM

I gave up at the repair the disaster ship mission, after dying at least 20 times and noticing that the repair wasnt even a quarter full when I died that was enough.


Quickdraw August 13, 2010 5:31 PM

I love this game, and I love the upgrades. However, I too gave up at the Disaster Ship repair mission, It would be nice to have CHECKPOINTS so I dont have to restart and waste my time over and over.

Overall, a 7/10, very slick interface, you can tell the designer put a lot of effort to make the game look and feel high quality.

I would be nice if my weapons fire actually made sounds.


Why do you guys keep complaining about the difficulty? Easy is not that hard. Dull spoon is supposed to be easier, but I don't see much of a difference.

It is unfortunate that the game was rather short/buggy.

Among the bugs that can be exploited to make the game a bit easier:
Put on armor/energy modules
Charge them to full
Replace with some other module
oh look, you have 16x the max hp/energy

Make full use of armor mode; it's 100 extra hp, and recharges for free.

fuzzyface August 13, 2010 9:41 PM

There is much polish and love in detail one the one hand. I like it. But on the other I agree its not handling the user fair. So first time I went into that get through radiation and defend level and kept dieing horrible. Everytime in the defending having to manover through the maze again. Why? Figured out I need capital missles, ok so start game over again. Since I invested into other stuff. Yes this means all the unskipable tutorials again. Not that problem so far. That level goes now well. This time I didn't spend my money, since I don't know what I need for next, more weapons maybe? No! You get sent into hyperspace with no chance to buy anything anymore, and I figure out, oh a ton of armour would be a bliss (I tried several times, I don't like it, how near the end it gets pure black and that one mistake can send you through a series of holes making ton of damage). Altough I like the setting, I just don't feel starting over once again.


i keep checking back on the comments to see if the author (or is it developer? programmer?) is reading the comments and plans to improve on the problems people have mentioned... this game has a lot of potential i think

fuzzyface August 16, 2010 4:08 PM

and they should remove the vulgarity at the console at the end. I mean seriously, next time I play a game from a grown up.

Tom Something September 9, 2010 1:30 AM

Figured out the problem of getting stuck at weapon load-out.

It seems the game will not progress unless you assign streaker missiles to slot 1.


So far, I like the game... up until I got to

Operation BlackKnife, the cloaked mission. As well as the preceding 'avoid-the-singularity' stuff. I can't seem to get more than one 'bomb' planted.

I do think highly of the depth of story and dialog, which many games, free and retail, lack.

I like the action, and had no problem with maneuvering and weapons usage.

One niggly little bit would be the crowded/overlapping menus when repairing & reequipping.

All in all, a fine effort. Can't wait to see more from this developer!


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