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Medal of Honor: Allied Assault

Score: 100%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: Id Technology
Media: 2/0
Players: 1 - 32
Genre: First Person Shooter


Graphics & Sound:

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault is set in a realistic-boasting World War II setting. I've only played their superb sports games, so I was excited to see how they would handle such an intense theater like World War II. I really wish English were a more descriptive language so I could express my pleasure, but may I simply put that the graphics on this game are top-notch industry leading. The environments are absolutely perfect! Trees sway to the wind's invisible hand. Buildings are made of brick so real, you can see the mortar. The lighting and shadowing are better than any game I've seen. The player models are perfect, with each soldier's uniform perfectly replicating the fatigues of the era. The weapon models are actual WWII weapons and they don't fail to impress. Things like the Colt .45 to the Bazooka have all had special attention paid to their rendering. The weather effects are absolutely perfect as well. One level has you set in the snow going after the enemy, and you honestly can get lost, and even placated, watching the snow drift down in the cedar forest. Of course nothing jolts you back to reality like the treads of a Panzer tank in the background, but we'll save that for the sound portion. The explosions and wartime effects are magnificent as well, often sending brilliant color flashes into the sky, while smoke plumes so real frown outward spreading over the hilly countryside of Southern France. The only thing lacking is the actual smell of the gunpowder. The death throes and bullet holes only add to the solidity of the graphics. Probably the only foreseeable drawbacks are you have to have a decent video card (16 mb recommended, 32 mb preferred), and there is absolutely no blood. Granted, I'm no fan of over-gored blood fests, but how can a war game so realistic not have blood? In defense of MOHAA though, I ran it on an 8 mb card! (while I did have to turn all the graphics settings to 'Low,' or 'None.') and it looked pretty decent. Still, nothing looked better than putting it on a nice video card like an nVidia GeForce 3 , or a Hercules card with the GeForce 3 chipset. These cards made a huge difference, and made the game turn from a raw, uncut gem to a highly polished, sparkly diamond. If you've absolutely got to have blood, there are 'blood MODS' available from www.planetmedalofhonor.com that you can download, but will have to have a utility like WinACE* to extract.
* available at www.winace.com

Again, I'm limited by language when it comes to pegging the sound. Suffice it to say that the sound is an experience in itself. Every detail has been paid to the aural masterpiece that MOHAA ultimately is. As mentioned above, the ambient background sounds are enough to keep you on the fringe of war...just when you may be taken away from it. My case in point is there are often times when I'm sneaking around a ragged, bomb-gutted city and stop. If you listen, you can hear the wind's whisper faintly ruffling your equipment belt. Birds chirp, and for a second, the war is over. All is well. Then the bombing run of an airplane roars overhead and jerks you violently back into the mortal game of chess. If you sneak upon an unsuspecting group of Germans, you could hear them speaking perfect German over a game of spades. They also chuckle as they discuss what they'll do if they ever take over the world. Fancy that. Fortunately the crisp rat-a-tat-tat of my Thompson sub-machine gun firmly plants round after round into the bad guy. Even the death 'scenes' sound real. It was kind of funny, being that there's no blood, but running by a dead body gets you a resounding splash as I just stepped into a puddle. I was fortunate enough to play it on a 5.1 surround sound system, and boy oh boy was it nice!? Butter, absolute butter. People's to my left foot treads would resound to the left. People shooting behind me would send my rear speakers wailing in warning. It is absolute bliss to play such a visually stunning game that has sound so good, you're almost there. One more thing: Wait until you get to level 3, which is the Omaha Beach level. You think Saving Private Ryan was realistic?


Gameplay:

This is a pretty simple concept. You're the only man/woman qualified for the job to go behind enemy lines. It is up to you to shape a definite course for the war by weakening the German lines with very little help behind you. You can play Single Player, which is so addicting that I had pizza delivered for a week. No time to cook, no time to eat out. There is also a fun Multiplayer Mode that connects you over a LAN (how my friends and I play) or over IP address. You also can connect into GameSpy's servers and duel it out that way. Along the way, you can pick up over 12 different kind of weapons (both Allied and Axis) and your goal is to find a combination that works for you. I know that I liked to flush tight areas out with an Allied grenade, snipe with the German sniper gun, and finish off any close range encounter with my good ol' shotgun. Options abound and any possible feature can be tweaked. Graphically, this many options is important, as you can tweak so many things visually until you get it just how you want it. This also proves useful because if your video card is slipping under the graphical load, you can tune down some of the settings until you're running a respectable frame rate. The sound can also be tweaked, but I enjoyed the default settings rather nicely...and that is highly unusual for me. You can choose the difficulty, once you're about to start the game, so EA Games covered every conceivable base when making this game look good, sound good, and most importantly: play good.

Difficulty:

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault can get difficult in places, but mostly everything can be gotten around with a bit of patience and planning. Of course, it doesn't matter how hard you try the Omaha Beach level; you're going to die. I won't ruin too much, but as soon as you think you've been through hell, you get another order from the Sergeant. There are three difficulty levels which not only make the enemies progressively smarter, but also make health supply and ammo less abundant. Couple that with the fact that the Germans gain hyper-lethality at highest difficulty, and it's enough to make any man cry. I call it pouting; my wife calls it a temper-tantrum. Still, don't get discouraged as MOHAA is extremely fun and anyone can have adequate success on Easy level.

Game Mechanics:

First off, the manual was an alright read. That is extremely rare for me, as console manuals are anything but 'in-depth,' while PC Game manuals are nothing short of novel-esque. Reading this manual made me excited to play the game. The controls were a bit awkward for me, BUT only because this is really the first First-person shooter I've ever played. I used to not be a fan of First-person shooters, but suffice it to say that MOHAA has made a believer out of me. It took me a day, and I had the controls down pat. The game also automatically saves at the middle and end of a level which leaves my mind free for more pressing matters, like a Nazi sniper on the roof. Every once in a while, you'll want to clean out the Save directory which is kind of a pain because you can only select one game to delete at a time, and you have to click 'yes' to affirm each one. Sigh, all cannot be so perfect. Another thing is you have to have some sheer hardware power. I tested it on lower performing machines like a 433 Celeron and it tested out okay, but the real fun was running it on my 1 gig Athlon machine. Don't count yourself out from a good experience if you haven't got the best processor and video card in town, but everything looks and plays the best if you have access to better or best hardware.

Riot Rundown : This game made a believer out of me. Never have I seen such a beautiful game! I really couldn't believe the graphical increase in using a more advanced system. I definitely think this is the best game on PC right now, and it's no wonder that Medal of Honor: Allied Assault won Best of E3 .


-Sydney Riot, GameVortex Communications
AKA Will Grigoratos

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows XP/ME/2000/98/95. 450 MHz Pentium II or 500 MHz Athlon. 128MB RAM. 8x CD/DVD drive. 1.2 GB free hard drive space. Direct X 8.0. 16 MB supported OpenGL capable video card with compatible drivers. Direct X 8.0 compatible sound card. Keyboard, Mouse.
 

Test System:



Windows 2000. 1 GHz Athlon. 320 MB RAM. 40x CD drive. Direct X 8.0. 32 MB nVidia MX-200. SoundBlaster PCI 512 sound card.

Windows Mall Tycoon Windows Open Kart

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated