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Medal of Honour
"I was in no way expecting a killer game like this one. It takes the WWII theme and totally immerses the player in the action." Image Loading...
Developer: Dreamworks
Distributor: EA
Game Type: Shooter
Review Date: Nov 99
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Image Loading...      When I first received Medal of Honor I was rather tentative before popping it into my Playstation for review. I mean here is a game that recreates WWII in all it's glory and ugliness. I was fearfull that facts would be put before gameplay, leaving a very dull History lesson, rather than an action packed shooter. Boy was I off base. From the moment I turned on the game until my final mission was completed I was totally enthralled and drawn into a conflict that was literally hell on earth. From the sound effects to the menu layouts, you are immediately pulled into the environment that was WWII.

As a first time player you will be greeted with a formal introduction by your commanding officer who explains why you have been brought there in the first place. It seems that your character is one of an elite team that is being formed. You were singled out because in a recent mission you managed to take out over ½ a dozen enemies and returned to tell about it. It also happens that your character is a top marksman, possesses excellent leadership abilities, received straight "A's" on all training and was one semester away from obtaining an Aerospace degree.

Image Loading...The time is June 12th, 1944 and your assignment is to rescue a G-3 officer whose plane was shot down behind enemy lines the previous night. A woman from the French resistance -Marion- informs you that the entire resistance may be in jeopardy if the Germans find the pilot's logbook before you do. You must find the plane and recover the logbook at all costs!

As you are dropped into the game you are treated to an atmosphere that will send chills up your spine. It's dark and all around you are the sound of battle and commotion. You look up and notice that the sky is clear…stars are shining and there is a full moon…a dogs bark is heard in the distance…footsteps echo in the background…how far away are they you ask yourself. Pressing the crawl button you squirm forward until you come to a lone stone house with large glass windows. Out of the corner of your eye off to the right you spot some movement and realize it is your first glimpse of the enemy. You quietly draw your pistol and get the Nazi in your crosshairs…you gently press the fire button and squeeze off a shot…a direct hit to the head. The enemy falls to the earth in clump and you breathe a sign of relief. You are then suddenly startled as you hear a voice shouting at you in German. It seems there was a Nazi standing guard on the other side of the house! Shit, I should have checked there first. In my panic to silence the enemy I pump off some rapid shots. A few go wide of their mark but one hits his leg. The man begins to jump up and down holding his wound. I fire off another shot to the groin (hehehe) and he doubles over. One more well placed shot to the head and he is history. Time to investigate the house….

Image Loading...This is a small glimpse of the type of gameplay that you can expect throughout this title and it also teaches you to not take things for granted. Always remember to look around everywhere before firing off a shot, because if there is anyone within hearing distance they will come running. Enemies are also smart, some taking to the rooftops and balconies of buildings just waiting for you to walk out into the open. They will also hide behind buildings, crates and boxes often just sticking their arm out and firing. This makes them an extremely hard target. I have even witnessed one enemy hiding behind another, using their comrade as a shield! Enemy AI is pretty impressive.

The range of pain you could inflict was quite delicious. Hitting various body parts resulted in specific animations such as clipping the arm and watching it dangle helplessly at their side. Another good one was when I sprayed an enemy's body with bullets, they would often go down while firing their guns aimlessly…their already dead finger obviously frozen on the gun trigger. The game is loaded with these little touches and many more. It all adds to the realism of the game and further draws players into this nasty little war.

Image Loading...As I said earlier, Dreamworks actually brought a WWII Marine veteran in to consult so the accuracy of the missions, environment and weapons are all there. There are 11 authentic weapons that you will have access to during the game, some used for specific missions like a sniper rifle, and others for pure enjoyment like the turret mounted machine guns. Speaking of these machine guns, to use one you have to find the hidden entrance to the bunker where they are located, sneak in, eliminate the soldier and grab the handles of the gun. These babies cause some serious damage and will leave you looking for things to hit.

Each of the missions progress logically by date and the levels within each mission pick up where the last one left off. Since the missions are based on authentic ones, once you finish one you can view actual WWII clips of what really took place. Once again, it's little things like this that really draw you into the game.

At the end of each level you are graded on your performance in attributes such as:

Image Loading...Objectives completed, Number of shots fired, Number of hits, Preferred weapon for that level, Hits taken, Objects destroyed, Enemies killed, where you hit the enemies (head shots, right/left arm, right/left leg, groin) and finally your overall evaluation for that level. You can achieve average, good or excellent ratings, with excellent being the most desirable because additional secrets in the game are opened up for you. These numbers accumulate through the course of the game, so it's in your best interests to try and get the highest marks you can. If you want, you have the option of going through and playing the level over as many times as you like until you get an excellent rating. It was while I was doing this that I noticed a really cool thing. During one of the earlier missions you need to dress in German attire and infiltrate one of their encampments. I figured that the best way to get a high mark was to fulfill my mission objectives and get out of there without my true identity being discovered…wrong! The game actually rewards you for your kills…now this is something I can relate too! So I went back in, wiped out everyone on the level, avoided being shot and walked out with an excellent rating…cool.

The two-player death matches also kick ass. Players can go in and select from a limited number of characters (more are opened as you play through the single-player mode) and choose your arsenal of weapons. You can then choose from several locations and have at it! The split screen action is smooth as silk and stalking your opponent is good fun.
Game Options:
      This is a 1 disk game for 1 or 2 Players. It is compatible with the standard (digital) joypad and the analog stick controls of the dual shock joypad. Games can be saved via memory card (1 block per save).

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Staff Opinions  
Tom: "I must say that Medal of Honor was a huge surprise to me. I was in no way expecting a killer game like this one. It takes the WWII theme and totally immerses the player in the action.

There are a few complaints that I have with this game though. The missions are quite diverse, heck there are even some missions that knowing German is a plus, but since it is a 1st person shooter things may get a bit redundant to some people after a while. I also thought that a map would be nice to have. (I understand that the intent is to be accurate and in real life you wouldn't have a map popping up to show you where you are, but this is a game after all).

The graphics are a bit grainy but the fine animation and attention to detail more than make up for it. There are tons of secrets to open up, lots of game options and intense challenging gameplay.

I am one of those people that believes that NOT everything Mr. Spielberg touches turns to gold, but I certainly wouldn't choose this game as an example to support that argument. Metal of Honor is definitely a top-notch game…get it! "
Graphics: 16/20
Playability: 49/50
Sound: 10/10
Lastability: 20/20
Overall: 95%
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