Game Over Online ~ Delta Force: Land Warrior

GameOver Game Reviews - Delta Force: Land Warrior (c) NovaLogic, Reviewed by - Adam Fleet

Game & Publisher Delta Force: Land Warrior (c) NovaLogic
System Requirements Windows, Pentium II-400, 64MB Ram, 200MB HDD, 3D Accelerator, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 84%
Date Published Tuesday, November 21st, 2000 at 07:47 PM

Divider Left By: Adam Fleet Divider Right

Over the last few years, NovaLogic has carved a niche in the first-person shooter market with their Delta Force series. Not quite the ultra-realism and complexity of a Rainbox Six, but not the pure adrenaline rush twitchiness of an Unreal Tournament or Quake III. Plagued in the past by NovaLogic's beautiful but highly resource unfriendly Voxel Space technology, Land Warrior steps up to the plate offering full compatibility with today's 3D accelerators, while still using Voxels to make possible the rolling hills and long range action that Delta Force has become famous for. With plenty of options for both solo and multiplayer missions, Land Warrior is filled to the brim with tactical firefights, sniper's duels, and some of the dumbest computer opponents ever.

Land Warrior drops you into combat as a member of the Delta Force, an elite special forces unit specializing in commando missions, counter-terrorism, and hostage rescues. Though Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin were nowhere in sight, the game does features five action movie refugees for you to play, with specialties like sniper, medic, and heavy gunner, and names like Pitbull, Snakebite, and Longbow. Each of the characters has a few special abilities; the sniper can belly-crawl quickly, the medic can revive wounded team members in multiplayer, etc. The highlight of solo play is a campaign of 19 missions linked together by a story that has you doing everything from painting enemy weapon stockpiles for an artillery strike to disarming a nuclear device. There are also 10 quick missions that you can play if you just want to jump into action, and missions completed in the campaign also become available as quick missions.

Land Warrior also features a plethora of multiplayer games. The single player missions can all be played cooperatively with up to three other people, complete with scaled difficulty (read as: more guys to shoot). There are standard Deathmatches, team and free-for-all, with bonus points for headshots and knife kills. Also included is the omnipresent Capture the Flag, as well as a similar game, Flagball, played with one flag in the middle of the map that teams scramble after. For people who like to blow stuff up, there's Search and Destroy, a game that can only be won by destroying specific targets in your enemy's territory, and Attack and Defend, a timed version of S&D akin to UT's Assault. Last but not least is King of the Hill, playable in teams or free-for-all; the winner is the one who can hold hot zones for a predetermined amount of time. With support for four teams and up to 50 players per game, these games can get pretty crazy. Multiplayer games run either on a LAN or online through an easily navigated interface in the game's menu. Hosting is easy, and there are plenty of options, from limiting weapons to setting a maximum number of lives, for customizing your game. NovaWorld 2, NovoLogic's multiplayer service, promises to have persistent online player names, and stat tracking with military promotions and decorations earned only in online play, but wasn't yet taking sign-ins at the time this review was written.

Whatever the job at hand might be, Land Warrior's rich assortment of real world, grade-A bang-bang is guaranteed to fit your needs. Sniper rifles like the thunderous Barrett .50 and whispering death of the PSG-1 are all you need to dial in a kill from extreme range. For close quarters battles, you can't go wrong with light machine guns, like the FN MAG and M249, or the man-stopping buckshot of the Pancor Jackhammer automatic shotgun. Perhaps the right tool is the balance of an assault rifle, like the stylish and deadly Steyr AUG, the ultramodern rapid-firing G11, or Land Warrior trademark OICW. There's even an anti-tank weapon, a repeat fire grenade launcher, and an underwater rifle. Of course, no soldier would dare go off into battle without a sidearm and trusty combat knife, and a well-thrown hand grenade or a well-placed claymore mine can likewise serve you well. There are 27 weapons in all, including a pair of fixed weapon emplacements available in some scenarios, and each has a distinctive feel that is nicely represented in the game.

The newly hybridized Land Warrior engine does as advertised, presenting amazing outdoor environments without bringing supercomputers too their knees. The graphics are expansive and smooth, though the textures are fairly bland; making swamps, deserts, and forests all look like one set painted a few different colors. Sound effects, from the distinctive sounds of each weapon to the splintering of wood peppered by bullets, are top notch. The voice acting is very solid, and sticking to the game's realism there is no in-mission music. There is a 3rd person perspective you can use, but since the control gets a little dicey and you can't use your scope, this has little function other than to make pretty screenshots. Land Warrior also comes with a reasonably comprehensive mission editor for the mod community to play with, and it won't be long before custom levels are springing up everywhere you look.

But all the game options and extra goodies mean exactly jack squat without good gameplay. While Land Warrior does stumble a little bit in this department at times, the total package successfully hits the ground running. The single player missions are diverse and well designed, but where the real problems start is with the laughable computer AI. On the missions where you're unfortunate enough to have one of the computer controlled team members on your side, they run off and get themselves killed 9 out of 10 times. The good news is that I only found one mission where you have to rely on them to do anything, and the rest of the time there's no penalty if (when) they get killed.

The computer controlled enemies are just as much fun. If the designer's goal was to accurately simulate the bad guys from the movie Commando, the results were amazingly successful. Never before have I seen a group of such worthlessly stupid, cross-eyed, sub-humanoids. As if it wasn't bad enough that they're dumb as dirt and can't shoot straight, these escapees from the cannon fodder factory have reaction times that are just astronomical. When they're "on patrol" they stand around, presumably captivated by something shiny on the floor, or march around staring off into space. When "alerted", they run around randomly yelling in a variety of languages. Since I only speak English, I am forced to infer what they're saying through their actions. Here's an excerpt: "Oh my God! My friend's been shot! What to do, what to do…Wait! I have a gun! How does it work again? 'Point away from face and fire'? Sounds easy enough. I'll just kneel down looking away from where the gunshots are coming from and hope for the best. Hey, what's that in the sand over there? Oooh, shiny." As a result of this behavior, single player games, while strangely entertaining, end up being little more than turkey shoots.

Multiplayer, on the other hand, is extraordinary. Admittedly, though, I was frustrated at first. Being so used to Deathmatches in the style of Quake and UT, I had no way to approach the vast outdoor arenas of Land Warrior. I ran around, looking for someone to shoot, and was repeatedly cut down by unseen foes, undoubtedly hundreds or yards away. Normal computer game thinking does not work in Land Warrior. You can't take a rocket blast. "Just rub some dirt on it and walk it off," ain't going to work, coach. One bullet can ruin your day. Putting my initial failures behind me, I tried my hand at a Team King of the Hill match, and instantly fell in love. Running down a ridge toward the hotzone, bullets kicking up dirt all around me, the booming of a Barrett from the ridge above me as the snipers I depended on for cover hopefully do their job. In front of me a teammate is cut down by machinegun fire while breaking cover in an attempt to advance, to my left another friend disappears in the flash of a grenade. They say war is hell, and finally I understand what they mean.

Land Warrior has some amazingly visceral moments. Hunkered down behind some sand bags, assault weapons blazing and grenades exploding everywhere, you can actually hear the bullets slamming into your cover or slicing through the air inches from your head. Sitting at my computer, knowing it's just a game, I still ducked once or twice. Multiplayer games were a blast, and it's a shame that the poor computer AI relegates single player to little more than open season on stupid animals. You almost feel bad for them. There are some other little things, like trouble climbing ladders and no display for pings when trying to find a game on the Internet, that pop up from time to time and manage to take off a little of the shine. Despite all the weaponry, I found myself wanting for more Delta Force staples, like some sort of flash-bang stun grenades, lifesavers in hostage situations, and smoke grenades to give cover when crossing wide-open spaces. Still Land Warrior is a fun, if very easy, single player game that can be played in tasty bite-sized missions as a break. But multiplayer games are where this game excels, working great with the game's inherently lethal nature and support for so many people. It's intense, it's chaotic, and it's something every shooter fan with a decent Internet connection should try. Lock and load, boys and girls, it's time to be a hero.

[ 40/50 ] Gameplay
[ 08/10 ] Graphics
[ 09/10 ] Sounds
[ 09/10 ] Controls
[ 09/10 ] Multiplayer
[ 09/10 ] Bugs


See the Game Over Online Rating System






Screen Shots

Back to Game Over Online