Preview By: | Posted: 03/03/2000
"Warning: Soldier of Fortune contains scenes of graphic violence and is intended for mature audiences only." (Believe me, they aren't kidding). Activision, the makers of the Heavy Gear, Interstate, and insanely popular Quake series are getting ready to release one of the most hyped games of the year, Soldier of Fortune.
The US government hires you to do a special mission for the military. You have to hunt down 4 stolen nuclear missiles (big surprise =) and stop the terrorists that stole the nukes. This difficult task takes you all over the world including places like Japan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the US, South Africa, Russia and Siberia. SoF requires problem solving and thinking and combines an amazing story along with excellent multiplayer capabilities. The intense storyline and features combine to create an amazing game, hailed as the "most realistic, covert-operative themed shooter ever created, "
Using the most modified version of the classic Quake 2 engine, SoF produces some spectacular graphics and effects. The menu is very easy to use and is the most interesting I have seen. Designed specifically for those with 3D acceleration, this game takes advantage of the hardware that you have. It will certainly please those of you that enjoy an aesthetically pleasing game. The character models look amazing and extremely realistic while the environments look spectacular and amazingly real. SoF does "a second rendering pass", which allows even better looking textures. Each enemy has over 200 animations, which all look realistic without being awkward. With resolutions of up to 1600x1200 this game will certainly use up all of your new hardware, but it ran quite fine and looked very decent on my PII 350 /w 16 mb TNT (800 x 600).
SoF uses 3D sound, meaning that, with the proper speaker set up, the player will be able to tell where sounds are coming from. This is not only especially interesting and useful but it adds to the overall effects and realism of this game.
SoF is not your standard fps. It combines all the action of Q2, objectives of Goldeneye 007, and strategy of Metal Gear Solid (that's the impression I got =). The loading time took about 25 seconds on my computer but once it started up there is no loading between sections on levels (i.e. Half-Life). To start you off, there is an excellent tutorial that makes it easy for all newbies to get into it. The HUD contains 3 meters. One is for your armour, the other health, and that last one measures the amount of sound you are making. The latter meter is especially useful because if you make too much sound, your opponents will know exactly where you are and rush towards the sound. There are also quiet weapons with suppressors that are quieter. Unlike many of the fps games out there right now, there are certain objectives that must be achieved before the mission is successful. They range from finding certain items to rescuing people. The first part of the demo includes hostages, so be careful not to kill them as that is one of your main objectives. Every one of the 31 levels and 10 missions contain new objectives. Believe me, they make a big difference. Not only are there many more objectives in the extreme mode, but there are so many more enemies as well.
In the game, there are many really cool things you can do. For example, you can shoot off opponents' glasses and hats and blow off your enemies' body parts (yup, you heard me correctly…heads, arms, legs, etc…). Placed throughout the game are little cinematics with superb voice acting. The voices really get you into the game and make you "feel" for the characters.
· - 26 "Gore Zones" On Each Enemy And Player Model
· - Bolt-On Models And Attachments
· - Multiple Skin Support
· - Accurate/Improved Lighting
· - Animations Greater Than 10hz
· - New Networking Model
· - Per-Poly Physics/Collision Detection
· - Lights Inside Ghoul Models
· 31 Levels Spanning 10 Missions All Over The Globe
· Story Driven Plotline With Ultra-Realistic Weapons, Enemies And Environments
· High Action, Fast Gameplay With Cinematic "Action Movie" Feel
· Strong Multiplayer Game Featuring Deathmatch, Assassin, Arsenal, Team Deathmatch And Capture The Flag
· Password Protected Parental Lock Feature To Scale/Eliminate Violence
· House of Moves Professional Motion Capture With Over 200 Animations Per Enemy
· Professional Voice Acting
· 12 In-View Weapons and 7 Combat Items Based On Weapons In Real-World Arsenals
· small calibre handgun - your basic default weapon
· large calibre handgun - a magnum type gun, really loud
· shotgun - powerful shotty
· sniper rifle - nicely designed, realistic zooming and sound
· heavy machine gun
· sub machine gun - fills the room with bullets
· C4 - small yet effective
· Flashbangs - when used properly, extremely effective
· And much more
The multiplayer package includes four different modes to frag your friends. The maps are all very nicely designed with beautiful lighting and textures. The models also look very realistic and well…cool. I found myself playing the multiplayer demo for hours upon hours, being unable to stop. Here is a description of the 4 basic modes:
Standard DM. You all know this one.
Kill other players with each one of your weapons to get points. After you kill players with your full cycle of weapons (from combat knife through your ultimate weapon you get a point and the player who's the most skilled with all of the weapons in the game wins.
Hunt down and kill a specific player while other specific players try to kill you. The higher you kill score, the more players will be assigned to kill you.
Capture the Flag
Well, it does not seem as though there are going to be bots in this game. This is sad but true. I was expecting to be able to frag the comps like in UT and Q3 but its not going to be possible. The bots in both Q3 and UT were amazing and provided a challenge for those that don't have an internet connection, but the SoF team decided to concentrate on the single player mission aspect of the game.