Review by markoos
"Violence for the people"
Once upon a time there was a first person shooter for the PC called Solider of Fortune. In a genre renowned for its violence, this game really pushed the envelope on just how gory a game could get - blow limbs clean off, shoot them in the throat and then hack at the body with a knife. You name it you could do it. Needless to say, this game was a big success and in the latter days of the Dreamcast's lifespan it too got its very own version. But does this story have a happy ending?
Before we get anywhere else though, I feel I must say a word. This word is ''Loading''. Why? Because if you're going to play this game you'd best get used to seeing it on the screen for long periods of time as this game has some seriously long loading times. The only comparable one I can think of (on a console at least) is in GTA: Vice City when you first load the game up. However that loading time loaded up the entire game, whereas these.... do not. In fact all the levels from the PC version have been cut up into little tiny chunks too so it's taking up to 2 minutes a go to load some very small levels. Needless to say this can be quite maddening. So already we have one rather major flaw in the game. But how about the rest of it? Well... it's really really great!
Thankfully those expecting a quick ten minute conversion with a 10 frames per second game engine are in for a disappointment as the game is in many respects a very nifty conversion. Graphically it's equal to its PC counterpart, which is no mean feat in itself, but also for the most part it runs at a cracking pace. It's only when the screen gets too packed with death and dismemberment that things slow down and even then it's pretty brief. Gameplay wise, the game is pretty standard FPS fare - you basically stalk from room to room killing everything that moves in increasingly gory fashion. As touched upon before, this game really is very violent and you can basically carry out any gruesome act that your mind can think of. That's all very well, but is it actually worthwhile? Well the violence is gratuitous but thankfully the game is very enjoyable. Although the missions vary very little, there's loads of different environments around the world, from Russian valleys to the middle east and a vast arsenal of varied weapons.
It's also a pretty big game with absolutely loads of missions. Whilst linear it will take you a fair old while to play through and there's lots of different difficulty settings to conquer. Sadly however there's no multiplayer. Given the loading times this may seem pretty inevitable, but it's still a real shame that it didn't get implemented as the gameplay is perfectly suited to it. The controls have been quite satisfactorily mapped onto the DC pad and unlike its only real single player FPS rival Kiss: Psycho Circus it also features full support for keyboard and mouse which is pretty helpful for PC veterans.
If you haven't already got the PC original and you're a big FPS fan than this is pretty much essential Dreamcast purchase. The loading times are awful and way too frequent and the lack of multi-player is disappointing but the single player experience alone still carries the game brilliantly. A gory masterpiece.
GRAPHICS - 9/10 - Some slowdown but for the most part runs very smoothly. The animation is gruesomely realistic and the textures are up there with the very best on Dreamcast.
SOUND - 8/10 - Scarily convincing screams and weapon sounds and some pretty decent voice acting (apparently by real actors too, which is always nice). The soundtrack is pretty much unnoticeable though.
GAMEPLAY - 9/10 - Fast, brutal and utterly compelling. Not one for the squeamish but this is as good as it gets for traditional FPS blasters.
LIFESPAN - 7/10 - Loads of missions to play through, but the lack of multi-player is a sore disappointment. You'll definitely play it from start to finish but whether you'll play after that is rather more doubtful.
OVERALL - 8/10 - Even if there was lots of competition for it on DC, this would still probably be the best. As it is, it's leagues ahead of Maken X and KISS and is pretty much essential for any single player FPS fan.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/17/03, Updated 06/17/03
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