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Game Over Online ~ Soldier of Fortune

GameOver Game Reviews - Soldier of Fortune (c) Activision, Reviewed by - Daxx

Game & Publisher Soldier of Fortune (c) Activision
System Requirements Pentium 200, 48 MB Ram, 3D Accelerator, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 80%
Date Published Monday, May 1st, 2000 at 03:05 PM

Divider Left By: Daxx Divider Right

Another day, another FPS. Fortunately, this particular FPS is made by Raven Software, a company that has long produced quality games from the Quake engines. Soldier of Fortune has been billed as the most "ultra-violent" FPS ever, but is there a quality game behind the violence? I think so.

Graphically, SOF is pretty impressive considering it's using the venerable Q2 engine and has to compete with the next-gen engines powering Q3 and UT. Raven has done a pretty commendable job of hiding the limitations of the Q2 engine and making some very nice and memorable levels. The gun models and animations are pretty well done, I especially like the reloading. The player models are decent, the enemies are all quite varied thanks to a feature that allows the same model to use a variety of head textures and clothing textures. I thought it would be a lot more impressive than it actually is though, all the enemies still look pretty similar. One player model that I think looks pretty bad is the person you play. What's with the goofy moustache buddy? If you're trying to create the image of a cool dangerous mercenary, why did you create such a chumpy skin? Oh well, you only ever see yourself in the cinematics. Speaking of cinematics, they are quite well done; they are all done in-game so they aren't CGI masterpieces but they progress the game quite well. The GHOUL system (which separates body parts) allows for realistic pain animations on the enemies, such as clutching the neck while blood sprays, hopping in pain from being shot in the leg etc. I hear you can shoot weapons out the enemies hands which is pretty cool, but I haven't done it (I aim for the crotch cuz it's fun watching them double over).

I like the sound in SOF. They did a very good job getting together all the weapon sounds, reloading sounds, etc. The dynamic music is a very nice addition, it changes seamlessly depending on what kind of action you are in. As soon as you encounter an enemy it becomes a lot faster, more dramatic music, but when you're just wandering around it's a quiet non-intrusive sound. The background sounds are pretty nice and complement the level well, from the quiet railroad sounds on the train mission to the air raid sirens and explosions in the Kosovo levels.

Gameplay wise, I like SOF but it's not what it claims to be. Raven hired an ex-mercenary specifically to help them develop a game that was "as close as players can get to experiencing the dangers and thrills of authentic mercenary combat." Obviously we've been playing authentic mercenary combat in all the FPS that have come out. There is definitely a greater element of stealth and a lot more "1 shot kills" but the gameplay is NOT radically different. Still, it combines somewhat realistic gameplay with plain and simple action which is a mix that I really like. I should point out the guns are modelled and designed after real guns but due to licensing issues can't be called by their real names.

The AI in SOF is pretty bad, you can kill an enemy and have his friend standing 5 feet away not realize anything. The enemies either hide behind walls and shoot, or run directly at you. They don't do a combination of the two, or basically anything else. They're basically just giant blood bags waiting to be burst by your gun. There is a noise meter which is pretty cool, as soon as you start firing tons of shots this noise meter goes up and at a certain point enemy reinforcements will come in. This forces you to take small, accurate burst shots instead of just running around aimlessly.

The "story" in single player mode is a little sparse, but it ties the varied mission locales together nicely. No matter what the mission objective is, basically the real objective is to get to the end of the level where you will watch a cinematic of you completing the objective (like blow up a plane or a nuke or something). One thing I think is pretty funny is on a bunch of the levels they detonate nuclear weapons, and you can see yourself running away from the growing explosion behind you. Sorry guys, you can't "outrun" a nuclear explosion like that. And why would you detonate it in the first place? Whatever though.

Multiplay is fine, but nothing to write home about. If you want straight action I'd play Q3 or UT, if you want realism I'd play Counter-Strike or wait for mods for UT and Q3 to start coming out. It uses Q2 netplay so it's pretty fast, and you can turn on "1 hit kill" options to make it a lot more realistic. Buy it for the first person game if anything though.

Bottom line, this is a fun game that combines a little bit of stealth and strategy with your classic FPS action. It doesn't break any new FPS barriers and the "ultra-violence" is nothing to get all worked up over, you psychotic violent kiddies. Oh and Raven, try and get your money back from that ex-mercenary.

[ 16/20 ] Graphics
[ 14/15 ] Sound
[ 24/30 ] Gameplay
[ 16/20 ] Fun Factor
[ 03/05 ] Multiplayer
[ 07/10 ] Overall Impression


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