Originally Published: Thursday, 22 June 2000 Author: Brian Satterfield
Published to: enhance_articles_games/General Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Soldier of Fortune Preview

This game will become your life. Your life depends on you being a weapons and explosives expert. It depends on you not having a conscience. You need to be able to zoom in on the back of someone's head and make whatever they were thinking... their last thought.

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Armed with an impressive array of weapons, you must circle the globe, infiltrate Iraqi army compounds, trek through steamy subways, abandoned buildings and corporate headquarters to find the source of evil in this world, the source of evil in this... game. But trust me, this "game" will become your life. Your life depends on you being a weapons and explosives expert. It depends on you not having a conscience. You need to be able to zoom in on the back of someone's head and make whatever they were thinking... their last thought.

Soldier of Fortune has been ported to Linux by Loki Entertainment Software. I'll forego convention and just tell you to go get the game now. It's incredible, the graphics are awesome, the weapons rock, the storyline actually exists and it just feels good. Now on to the particulars.

Testing System: Red Hat 6.2 AMD Athlon 700 Dual Voodoo2s 256MB of RAM

I never actually played the release version. One of the benefits of working for Linux.com's games site is you get access to games while they're being developed. But this baby was great from the beginning. There were a few visual glitches, like being able to see enemies through doors, and a few weird flashes when the mission updates happened, but these slowly went away and a polished game emerged. But the fact that this review is based on a pre-release version should make it even more compelling.

For starters, you have some awesome weapons at your disposal: 6 knives, some real nice handguns, a few automatic weapons, an impressive shotgun, a kick ass sniper rifle (which will soon become your best friend), a rocket launcher and a strange microwave gun (kind of like a lightening gun). Other items include hand grenades, C4 explosive, flash grenades, armor, medkits and infrared night goggles.

You're ready to do some damage.

As you start off you'll wonder what's so different between this and any other shoot 'em up first-person game. But the story kicks in quick and the game settles into more of a rhythm as it goes along. Soon you'll find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat and trying to peer around your monitor in the hopes of catching a glimpse of what's around the corner. Or you'll jump when you turn a corner a bit too fast to get a shotgun blast to the face when you least expected it. I know I did. That to me is the mark of a great game -- if it makes you feel something, sucks you in and allows you to become part of the story. Eventually you don't even realize the game is there. Kinda scary.

The visuals are perfect. Perfectly gory. When you shoot someone in the neck they clutch their throat and die gasping for breath. Shoot them below the waist and they grab their groin in intense pain. The screams sound real. I wonder if anyone was actually hurt in making this game. You can completely decapitate an enemy, blow a leg off... or any body part for that matter. It's quite intense. For those of you who are faint of heart, they offer a gore filter that you can turn on. I never tried it. Seemed like a waste of good graphics and coding.

Something the developers spent a lot of time on was the sound. Like I said, the screams seem real. The shells from your shotgun bounce on the floor to a stop. Echoes can be heard. The items on your belt and in your pack jingle and clink together. Every time you reload you hear the distinct sound each weapon makes. Everything in this game is unique. Everything feels different; it feels real. Each guard or enemy terrorist says something different, sometimes in English, Russian, or Iraqi.

Basically the game rocks. Plain and simple. There's not too much more I can say without giving things away about the game so I'll just leave you with a few playing tips:

  • Look for and use cover.
  • Keep all weapons loaded.
  • Use the "lean" keys. (let you lean to one side or another)
  • Use the sniper rifle as much as possible. Best to shoot them when they can't see you than afterwards.
  • Conserve ammo.
  • Use your items. (a well placed grenade can save you a lot of trouble)
I give this game the highest rating we have: 5 penguins. It's well deserved.

Well, that wraps it up. Have fun. And watch your back.

-- LegoWhore

Watch for "Soldier of Fortune: Tips and Tricks" in the coming weeks.





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