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Stolen

If ever a game of the Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones movie Entrapment had been made, then we reckon it would play something like Stolen, the debut Xbox title from London's Blue 52 studio. This month we wandered up the bustling and uber-trendy Camden High Street to the coders' swanky offices for a first-play of the title and - rather happily - found things very much in order.

Lithe, really busty, acrobatic, leather-clad heroine? Check. Older male mentor whispering advice in your ear and providing an array of hi-tech thief gadgetry? Check. Audacious break-ins and daring raids on high-security locations patrolled by portly, heavily armed guards? Uh-huh. Intense firefights with semi-automatic weapons, tanks, rivers of gore and hand grenades? Er, nope.

Stolen is a game of sneakery and silence, quiet observation and sleight-of-hand distractions and the use of lethal force is not an option. As you scurry around hugging the shadows, hacking into computer consoles and picking locks to reach your objectives, comparisons with the likes of Splinter Cell and Rogue Ops become inescapable - but while Stolen most definitely falls into the stealth-action-puzzle genre, it doesn't merely ape its predecessors. In fact, quite the opposite: it has plenty of tricks nestling in its cleavage.

The level we saw takes place in a museum, and three more massive chapters make up the rest of the game. The first thing to note is the number of options available for getting from point to point. Anya, the leading lady, has an array of gymnastic moves available and balancing on ledges, swinging from beams and making outlandish leaps are commonplace. Naturally most of the game is occupied with outwitting and outmanoeuvring the security, who become increasingly more intelligent, alert and tooled-up as the adventure progresses.

If you can't use your Catwoman-style abilities to get past the goons then your collection of gadgets will help out. Your main weapon is an air-powered gun ('tis very quiet, see). The weapon can be rigged with various types of 'ammo'. There's a Nullifier, which emits a small electrical charge that temporarily takes out cameras, lights, etc; there's a Sonic Emitter, which will make a noise to distract guards; and there's also Tracker ammo, which you can fire at a guard or camera and their movement and line-of-sight will then register on your map.

Should the worst come to the worst, Anya has also got one hell of backhand slap on her. Which will be handy if she ever gets a cameo role in Coronation Street.

Stolen is due to be released for Xbox in March

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