Rory On March 12, 2003 at 4:59 pm

When I played Wolfenstein on my PC as a little kid, I always wondered what it would be like to take it one step further, to actually recreate the explosive terror of World War II, to feel as if I had been there. Now, alebit many years later, my prayers have been answered, but in a somewhat sloppy manner…

Right from the opening sequence you can tell this is simply a conversion of a PS2 game, and a very sloppy one at that. Muddy textures and horrible slow-down plague the game in the most awkward of places. What should be fast paced and exciting seems rather choppy and dull, especially when compared to offerings like Quake III Arena and UT 2003. The muddy textures aren’t a huge problem but they make the whole game scream "BAD PORT" right from the start, the overrall effect seems tacky and messy. On a brighter note the animation is up to par, and apart from some minor mis-haps(shoot them in the head they clutch their chest etc.) the death animations are some of the nicer ones around(if a death can be nice), and every cringing, hopping soldier brings a smile to my face.

Despite some rather ugly graphics the game does have a very good atmosphere to it. The screams of your dying team mates, the explosions and crashes of far away planes and the rattling of your gun set the mood perfectly. All is very gung-ho and reminds me of why I love war movies so much. Even though it is probably historically accurate, the noise soon begins to grate and becomes to much for me to handle, I often found my self turning of the sound in the heat of the battle. Iy’s not the fact that it’s bad, but it’s the fact that the mish-mash of yelling, firing and explosions make my head feel like it’s going to explode. "HELP! BLAM BLAM BLAM ARGH BLAM BLAM BANG!" is about all you can hear in some missions, and despite that probably being what happened back in the war time, it often put me off.

The AI isn’t the most clever around, either and you’ll find your men and theirs running around like headless chickens firing aimlessly at whoever is closest to them. The nazis certainly are sharp though, and while the controls have been laid out with stealth in mind the enemy is always aware of your presence. This is because they detect you from distance, not from what they see or hear, so soldiers very far away might not notice you even if you are firing straight at them.

The control systems are very nicely done, indeed. For fans of Goldeneye and it’s ilk there is a simple "arcade"-style control system where only one analogue stick is needed. Personally though, I prefer the double-analogue approach for precision aiming, it may take a bit of getting used to but it makes the game a hell of a lot more fun to play.

The levels, though not really a problem, are very old-school in the mission objectives and their arcitectual designs. Each map reminded me of Doom, and every mission is a simple "destory this" or "get from A to B", rather linear affair. Thanks to slwo down Medal of Honour’s more ambitious levels are reduced to nothing but messy ruins. ANother little niggle that could have been ironed out is how you save your game, because you can only save between levels, and with each one taking about 15-25 minutes, this isn’t the sort of game you can just pick up and play for a few short tension-releasing blasts.

But who really gives a toss about that sloppy port bit of the game, the real selling point to any decent FPS is it’s multi-player. Unfortunately this part of the game is as rushed as the port is. The amount of options at your disposal is hardly huge, but does it’s job well. Everything is done in a Goldeneye/Turok 2 kind of way, which means you can select a weapons set, a few special levels but not a lot else. But it’s not only the rather shabby amount of options that detracts from the multi-layer, it’s the fact that the game wasn’t really made to be a multi-player game in the first place. Slow down rears it’s head at the worst of times, and during games with more than two players often makes it impossible. The literally huge missiles and stealthy action of the one player game just don’t work when playing with your friends.

Despite being a lazy port packaged with a rather rushed multiplayer, it’s still a decent game and with the current draught of decent FPS for the Gamecube(that is, until Metroid Prime appears), there isn’t much offered elsewhere. Shoot ’em up and war buffs will like it, but casual fans should stick to Timesplitters 2.


Single-player is reminiscent of a WWII Goldeneye, but the multiplayer is rather dire


VERY PS2-like with it’s muddy textures and bland effects


KABOOM! BLAM! BANG! You’ve heard it all before


A straight port with bad multi-player tacked on, feels like a missed oppurtunity

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