gaming since 1997

Soldier of Fortune

Soldier of Fortune has gotten quite some media hype, and most reviews are pretty positive on the game. A friend of mine once even called hysterically shouting that he was playing the demo version of the game and that I had to join him on the server he was.

As you can imagine I was quite intrigued about how Soldier of Fortune was as a game.
Thanks to our friends over at Gamespot I recently got my hands on a copy of this so I could have a look at what Raven Software had cooked up.
You start off as John Mullins, one lean mean (and not too young) Vietnam Veteran that has retired from the military with a handfull of medals (how could it be different ?) and you’re now working as a Soldier of Fortune for “The Shop”, some kind of organisation against terrorism.

The story (indeed, there IS really a story in this game, and to make it even worse John Mullins REALLY exists) starts you off going after some kind of streetgang with heavy machinery and off course you have to find and destroy the leader.

Once you’ve done that you suddenly notice that more is going on, and you end up in some international conspiracy including South Africa, the Yakuza and even Saddam Hussein (yea, him again !). This sudden turn makes the storyline a little less believable (it seems like the people at Raven suddenly noticed the game was going to be pretty short and decided to make it longer by adding a new arch-villain – actually the only real boss in the game) but that doesn’t matter since there aren’t that many 3D shooter around with a story that’s worth the paper it’s written on.

The weapons you have to your disposal are all pretty kewl, going from a knife over some shotgun to the more heavy stuff like machine guns and even a rocket launcher (don’t think you can compare this rocket launcher with a Quake rocket launcher, because you can’t).

Before each mission you have to make a choice of weapons you want to take with you but this actually doesn’t make much difference because they all have the same effect : ending you up with pictures of a horror/slasher-movie, even the standard knife makes your enemies end up like Chop Choy. Also you can pick up the weapons your adversaries drop so even if you don’t take f.i. the shotgun with you, you can be sure to have it after you’ve taken out the first 3 or 4 enemies.

The violence in this game is what makes it drive. You can shoot off limbs, arms or any other body part of your choice. You even get statistics after each level where you can see how many head shots, throat shots or “under-region”shots (indeed, you can see how many times you’ve shot one in the balls !) you’ve done. This actually makes this game so great. If you would switch off the violence (you CAN do that) it would be like eating a pizza without any cheese on it (bweerk).

Graphically, Soldier of Fortune is a tuned-up version of Quake 2 with almost identical graphics (characters are abit kewler) and alot of cut-scenes. The engine makes you move smoothly just like in Quake 2, but the crouching through the tunnels could have been abit better.

One thing that I missed in this game was the kewlness of Duke. No flushing the toilets or admiring yourself in the mirror (not that you’re that handsome); just pure shooting you way through levels, finding the correct doors to open.

Overall I would say that Raven has done a great job in making a 3D shooter that will turn up the heat abit. This was the first game in a long time that I actually enjoyed although the end is a real bummer. Instead of the “Yeehaa”-feeling you should get, it goes like “Here’s your new partner” and you drive off in silence. This might seem as “It’s like in real life baby !” but WE DON’T WANT REAL LIFE IN A 3D SHOOTER !

Let’s see what “The Duke” has as a response in a few months (hopefully).

Our Score:
related game: Soldier of Fortune
posted in: Activision, PC, Reviews
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