You awaken in a tiled room, strapped to a chair, hooked up to an intravenous drip and surrounded by TV monitors broadcasting images of numbers and your grizzled face. You're being interrogated by a shadowy figure from behind a glass wall who issues a stinging charge of electricity each time you brazenly dismiss his questions.

"I don't know anything about any numbers!" you scream in retaliation.

From the first moments of Call of Duty: Black Ops the year's most anticipated first-person shooter from developer Treyarch, that the game's protagonist won't be the strong, silent type.

"It was a very deliberate choice," said Dave Anthony, director at Treyarch. "We want the player to immediately be able to relate to him. The first scene is very tense for the character. We thought that if the player himself was feeling what the character was going through right at the start of the game, it would really create a connection with the character."

For most of the solo campaign, gamers will play as Alex Mason, an member of the top-secret CIA squad, the SOG. Mason recounts his various Cold War era missions, from Cuba to Vietnam, while being held inside that mysterious interrogation room.

Mason VC

"The emotional focus that we've given Mason is more than we've ever done before for a character in a 'Call of Duty' game," said Anthony. "As you go through the story, you will see how Mason's relationships with the other characters in the game change as you go back and forth from the interrogation room. You will actually realize how it all comes together."

In an effort to make the game feel more like an epic interactive action flick, Treyarch enlisted David S. Goyer, who co-wrote "The Dark Knight," to consult on the game's time-hopping script. Instead of the story unfolding chronologically, levels are presented as memories, sometimes interrupted by the garbled voice of Mason's interrogator.

So does a series of flashbacks sound good to you? Or would you rather just play the Campaign in real time?

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