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Game Over Online ~ Delta Force

GameOver Game Reviews - Delta Force (c) Novalogic, Reviewed by - Rebellion / Blade /

Game & Publisher Delta Force (c) Novalogic
System Requirements P200 16mb RAM
Overall Rating 81%
Date Published Tuesday, November 3rd, 1998 at 02:06 PM

Divider Left By: Rebellion Divider Right

A new genre has been gradually emerging in the gaming scene. It meshes aspects of strategy and squad tactics with the traditional first person action game. The first, Spec Ops (okay this was third person), really broke open the genre. It brought covert operations and the world of military special forces into the commercial game environment. The next major installment continued to add detail and complexity into this rising genre. This game was the excellent Rainbow Six. Now Novalogic, renowned for its flight combat sims, i.e.: the Commanche series, puts its foot into the water of this emerging theme with Delta Force.

Delta Force puts you as a squad member on well, Delta Force, the army's elite Special Forces unit. You will carry out covert missions like retrieval of laptops and code books, base pacification, and lighting up targets for aerial or naval strikes. Your missions will take place in five hot zones all over the globe, Peru, Chad, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and Novoya Zemlya. It gives you a wide range of terrain to add some life to the game. You'll be fighting in the jungles, in the desert, and in the snow covered north.

Delta Force has a wide range of weapon options. You have a choice of five primary weapons. They are as follows: the M249 heavy machine gun, the M4 assault rifle with M203 40mm grenade launcher, the H&K MP5 with integral suppressor, the Remington M40A1 7.62mm sniper rifle, and the Barrett Light .50 caliber sniper rifle. You also can add a LAW light anti-tank rocket launcher or claymores and satchel charges. Like Rainbow Six, you will also have a handgun. These include a Spec Ops .45 and a HS Suppressed .22. You'll also get your fragmentation grenades and a laser designator.

Novalogic does some pretty off-the-wall things in the design of Delta Force. They utilize the VOXEL SPACE graphics engine, which is basically the same engine they used for Commanche 3 about two years ago. Sure it's been enhanced, but come on, every diehard gamer that would want to buy this game is going to have a 3D card of some sort. Games in 1998 of this style should NOT be coming out without any form of 3D hardware acceleration. While the VOXEL engine creates a large 3D environment, it's badly pixilated. It's not so noticeable in a flight simulation since you're not (hopefully) up close and personal with the terrain. There are six resolutions of graphics, starting at 320x200 and going up to 1024x768. Unless you've got a brand new video card, running this much higher than 640x480 makes the game's frame rate drop down below what I considered acceptable. Even in 1024x768, the enemy is still slightly pixilated, but not too badly. This, more on lower resolutions, does tend to create somewhat of problem when you're trying to aim at an enemy that's pretty far away. Luckily, you don't have to be super-accurate, as long as you're on that pixel he's dead. In order to make this game look decent, you're going to need to be running at least 640x480, but 1024x768 nice in its own respect, but it still lacks the clarity of Rainbow Six or the lushness of Spec Ops. The environments are relatively well done for the graphic quality. It does rehash a lot of the building graphics and all the trees are the same except the sizes change. The blood isn't nearly as nice as Rainbow Six's was, you get a little red poof when you tag someone and there's no stains on the body or the ground around it. Smoke is pretty well done for a software renderer as are the explosions. I've also got to say that the animation in first person view really bugs me. Your gun doesn't move when you're running and it barely moves when you fire. These guns should have a bit more kick then they do. If Novalogic would have jumped on the Unreal bandwagon (or one of the other nicer engines .. hmmm Shogo or Trespasser perhaps?) like every other developer, this game could have looked sweet (sure it'd run like Trespasser on a P200, but that's what I've got my PII 450 for so oh well!).

It's got the necessary audio components. No irritating music and no excessive explosions or kamikaze whacked out enemies screaming obscenities at you. Sure you get to hear them gargle and scream when you wax them, but it's more realistic then annoying. The 3D sound is pretty well done, though it's not always the easiest to pinpoint the direction (especially when the graphics aren't helping a whole lot). Gunfire is realistic and each gun has its own sound. The Barrett is damn loud too, now I know why I want to be 1500 meters away when using it. One audio glitch I noticed was with vehicles, when I blew one up, the engine noise kept going. Oh well, what's a game without a bug these days anyway?

The gameplay is pretty good. You've got quite a few missions to do in each of the five campaigns. There's six in the first campaign so I'll take a stab and say that's how many are in the rest. The main flaw I saw was that the AI seemed pretty unintelligent. You'd shoot one guy in a two man platoon and the other one wouldn't react at all. Or if you did alert a sentry, he'd run around for a little bit and then go back to his sentry position. It made the game feel more arcadish. The challenge is not in the intelligence of the enemy, but in their numbers. You go in with at most yourself and four computer controlled allies, usually up against forty or more enemies. It's pretty easy to stay back and snipe them off, but they will start all firing at you. You're pretty much limited to one hit before you're dead, so you need to keep yourself low you're not getting plastered. You do get to jump and lie down in Delta Force, unlike Rainbow Six. You're even able to move while you're crouched or lying down, which gives it a big one up on R6. The squad level is no where near what it is in Rainbow Six, since you have barely any control over your other teams. It turns it into basically a first person shooter with some teammates to provide fire support. I didn't see a whole lot of brilliance from my team, they appeared to follow pre-scripted instructions and didn't think about their movement. This occasionally caused them to tend to run right up into a nest of enemies and decide to become machine gun fodder. They do, however provide decent fire support, which was sometimes hard to get successfully in Rainbow Six. The missions are pretty wide ranging. Some you'll have targets to destroy. Some will have objects to retrieve. Of course there's the traditional kill everything that moves missions. You don't get to plan out your missions like in R6, but you do get better control over your weapons selection then you did in Spec Ops. The campaigns are somewhat non-linear. You usually will have some selection of missions. You'll still need to beat missions in order to get more to continue to. There's some interaction with the environment that enhances the game play a little bit. You'll be able to blow up the occasional barrel or parked vehicle, but you can't blow out windows or shoot holes in walls.

It's pretty fun, although it gets frustrating at times. I'll be blasting away at a nest of nasties only to be shot in the back by some guy who looked like a tree when I passed him two minutes ago. It's got somewhat of an arcade feel to it, so there'll be plenty of killing going on. The multiplayer is pretty good and adds a good level of replayability (especially with Novaworld). It maintains pretty good variety and there's a moderate level of challenge to keep you playing for a little while.

It's got all your usual options for multiplayer. Like other Novalogic games, you also get access to Novaworld to hook up with large numbers of other players. It's pretty easy to get games with twenty or so people going through NW. Your other multiplayer options will allow for up to eight players. It's quite lag-free on a 56k and has good multiplayer options. You have co-op, deathmatch, team deathmatch, king of the hill, team king of the hill, and capture the flag. It doesn't feel like R6 however, you do respawn, so staying alive just doesn't carry the same kind of realism like R6 did. You'll tend to get a lot of snipers and it play more of like a cross between R6 and the traditional FPS.

All in all, Novalogic puts forth an interesting title. It's handicapped somewhat by its graphics and, in my opinion, by a somewhat arcadish gameplay. If you're looking for diehard squad level tactics in a realistic environment, Rainbow Six has got DF beat hands down. If you're looking for eye candy and spiffy 3D graphics, this ain't Spec Ops so you're not going to find it here either. But, if you're looking for a little fun and you're up for some heavy gunfire, Delta Force delivers. Definitely a worthy release, not quite Game of the Year caliber, but nonetheless a good title.

Highs: good multiplayer, not quite as complicated as Rainbow Six (easier to jump into)
Lows: no 3D support, somewhat high system requirements, a slight loss of realism

Graphics: 15/20
Sound: 14/15
Gameplay: 26/30
Entertainment Value: 18/20
Multiplayer: 5/5
Overall Impression: 8/10

NOTE: I have heard rumors milling around about a possible 3DFX/GL patch, but I'm not sure if that will work since the engine is based on the heavily software dependent VOXEL engine.

Tested on:
PII 300 w/ 64 megs RAM, 8 meg Hercules Stingray (Voodoo Rush) /w Monster M80
P200MMX w/ 64 megs RAM, 2 meg Diamond Stealth (hey it runs but don't try above 512x468!)
PII 450 w/ 64 megs RAM, 16 meg Quantum Raven (Voodoo Banshee)


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Divider Left By: Blade Divider Right

As a member of Delta Force--The Army's top secret elite Special Forces unit, you will conduct missions swiftly and silently, in every possible terrain, under every imaginable condition and through any means necessary.

You're a member of the U.S Army's elite Special Forces unit, as the player you and a group of 2-3 computer controlled AI counterparts will need to covertly infiltrate an area and avoid contact with enemy patrols to accomplish an objective then infiltrate without being killed. Players can call in artillery and air support in the form of an orbiting AC-130 Spectre gunship for assistance in their missions.

Of course the player assumes many different roles throughout the game. You will execute land and water missions, you will set up ambushes with mines and anti-tank weapons; take out enemy targets a kilometer away with the .50 cal sniper rifle; and sneak up behind guards and go for the silent kill.

The game features over 40 gut-wrenching missions spanning across five different continents. You can also play in either 1st or 3rd person view. Choose between the wide selection of weapons like H&K MP5-suppressed for close-quarters battles or the Barret .50 caliber Sniper Rifle for explosive long range killing, plus an arsenal of many others.

Graphics: 14/20

Delta Force is NovaLogic's first attempt to create a tactical strategy game, straying from their usual flight SIMMs. Delta Force sports NovaLogic's Voxel Space 3 graphics engine. To try and produce realistic outdoor environments and terrain, all of it in thrity two bit color. And it does just that. The engine does though have a lot of brake up. As you first start your mission you will notice jaggy edges on the terrain. Not to mention the total lack of any detail in some areas. The objects and background in the distance are very pixely and blurry. This led to problems, such as when you needed to take out an enemy from a distance. I often caught myself blasting trees thinking they were enemies or worst of all not seeing them at all. The soldiers look like two little green block squares when they are far away. When you get closer to objects this problem seemed to go away. The character animation is very well done and realistic. The textures on the characters and terrain are also nicely done and very detailed. Even though with what might seem like a primitive game engine, with a few tweaks it could do wonders. It would be nice to see some kind of 3D support.

Sound: 13/15

The game boasts amazing 3D Positional Sound in Dolby Surround Sound. This means you can tell from which direction something is coming by hearing it. This was a very helpful addition in Delta Force. You don't have time to waste and search around for a sniper, but instead being able to hear where the shots are coming from allows you to quickly react. I'm afraid though most people won't get this experience unless their sound card supports it. In most cases the music in the game is great, adding greatly to the atmosphere of the game. It was also nice to here your enemies yell and scream at you in different languages as they died. Unfortunately through all this, the voice quality and other sound effects are not exactly up to par. The guns sound a little fake and get annoying quickly. The speech can get a little choppy at times, but for the most part it seems to be okay.

Gameplay: 22/30

The gameplay in Delta Force is quick and easy to use. It uses the standard arrow keys for moving around, and the mouse for aiming. The rest of the layout is quiet simple and easy to use. The AI in the game seems to be top notch, even though at some points I noticed the enemies just sitting there idle or not noticing my presence at all in some points of the game. The AI of your computer controlled team mates seems to very nicely done. They move in clever formations to try and cover you or help you out when needed. You can even communicate with them and tell them what to do. The third person view doesn't seem to add much to the game either. It's nothing like the one found in Tomb Raider. It's more of just a fancy camera angle. And I found it completely unplayable. You will find yourself using the first person view more than anything. Delta Force lacks originality department though. Delta Force seems more like a level add-on for Rainbow 6 or Spec Ops. The missions do offer a variety of objectives, besides your usual search and destroy types. The missions have you fighting in many different conditions and situations. One thing that I would have liked to have seen more of is the option to customize and edit your soldier more. It would also have been cool to be able to get power ups as you get farther in the game for each mission you complete. After you have beaten a mission you have seen it all. Therefore I don't think you will catch yourself loading this game much, unless of course for multiplayer and net play.

Fun Factor: 15/20

Despite it's few flaws the game is extremely addicting. Any GoldenEye 007 fan will enjoy playing this title, even fans of Rainbow 6 and Spec Ops. It's a nice change from the go around and blow up everything types of games. It offers plenty of strategy and action in one title.

MultiPlayer: 4/5

You can play Delta Forces absolutely free on NovaLogic's server, NovaWorld. You can play with over thirty people simultaneously. The multiplayer plays nicely, and nothing beats fighting in real time. It also offers many different types of gameplay over the internet: Cooperative, Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, and King of the Hill. All this right in the box.

Overall: 8/10

Delta Forces is one the first installments into this new genre of computer gaming. It seems to be a very successful attempt, but still is a step behind its predecessors. Numerous missions and extensive gameplay will have you playing for hours. Despite all of this, you're left with the feeling and desire for something more. It will be nice to see how this gaming style develops. If you enjoyed Rainbow 6 or Spec Ops you should definitely give Delta Force a try.


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