Review by SithLord66
"Freaky yet awesome"
I have played different versions of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, and I recommend the GameCube version. There are many improvements over the xbox version, but although the graphics are sacrificed, excellent gameplay makes up for it.
The year is 2008. Ultranationalists have taken control over Moscow and other places in Europe. These guys plan to reform the Soviet Empire, which is obviously not a good thing. That's when the Ghosts are sent in, and elite U.S. Special Forces unit. Armed with the deadliest weapons and equipment their mission is to stop them before a lethal war begins. Ok I believe that's enough already.
This is the only area where Ghost Recon falters. The graphics do not live up to the quality of the GameCube. The background is sort of flat, there isn't much shades of color and there isn't much weather effects (sun rays, different color of sky). The worst part would have to be the frame rate of the characters. The soldiers are well detailed, and their movement is very fluid. But from a distance, the frame rate dramatically drops (you can even see it). On the positive side, the detail in the environment is incredible. Trees sway in the wind, the water glimmers, and mountains are well done. The tanks look very real, and the soldiers are nicely detailed. It's not like you'll be totally disgusted when you play the game. The graphics are good and they get the job done, but they could have been better. This doesn't affect the gameplay experience at all, unless you easily get bothered by outdated graphics.
Ghost Recon is a tactical squad-based first person shooter. You command 2 fireteams- Alpha and Bravo. Each contains 3 soldiers, making a total of 6. You can only play as 1 soldier at a time, but you can switch between soldiers by pressing the left button of the D-Pad. Squad control is pretty simple. During gameplay you press the Z button to bring up a command map. All you do is just move the cursor over to where you want your other squad to move and press A. There is also a useful "quick order". By pushing the Y button, you can send your fireteam over to a desired location without bringing up the command map. This saves a lot of time and can allow you to focus on the game more. As for soldiers, there are 4 different classes: rifleman (assault), support (heavy gunner), demolitions (explosives) and sniper (long range). Each have their own strengths and weaknesses, so putting together a team of different soldiers is very effective. There are over 20 real weapons that you can use, such as the standard M16A2 to the deadly M136 Anti-Tank Rockets.
The combat is intense. Firefights can sometimes only be a few seconds, but in that short amount of time a lot of casualties can take place. Ghost Recon isn't an all out shooting fest. It requires stealth, and just running out and shooting the enemy will get yourself killed (you die in like 3 hits, and once someone dies he's gone for good). At many times you won't be able to see your enemy, so this adds a terrifying experience. You will always have to keep your eyes open since they can be anywhere. A feature to help you out is a small map and a threat indicator. Many people have hated this feature, which I don't understand why. In recruit mode, the radar will show the location of all the enemies on the map, as well as provide auto aiming. This is helpful for beginners. But in veteran mode, the enemies won't appear on the map and there is no auto aim (the radar is practically useless unless you play on recruit). Playing on elite is a nightmare- there is no map or threat indicator, the cursor won't change color at all, and enemy opposition is more numerous and skilled (ironically they have better aim). This mode is very hard, often leaving you to inch through the level, taking guesses to where the enemy is. There are 15 missions, ranging from search and rescue, hostage taking, demolitions, destroying enemy vehicles and more. Missions take place during the day, night, rain and stages range from forests to war torn cities. Overall, the gameplay is amazing and incredibly fun.
This has got to be the best feature of the game. You can hear the bullets whiz past your head, enemies moving through the brush, guns firing, explosions, radio chatter from your squad mates, the rolling of tanks, aircraft flying through the air and more. The xbox version was unfortunately totally silent when it came to background music, causing it to be pretty dull and boring during gameplay. The GameCube version on the other hand has an amazing musical score, creating much excitement. From time to time dramatic music will play, and this totally adds a whole new experience to the gameplay. The music comes in at the right time, and slowly fades away. This helps emphasize the fear in the game. Like for instance, when you are alone in the open a chilling tone will play, helping you realize that you are alone and can be ambushed at any moment. Other tones are energetic, such as when you are in combat or when you complete an objective. The music is a great addition to the game, making up for much of what was lost.
Ghost Recon offers 2 player split-screen gameplay. It's not the greatest multiplayer, but heck, it's better than having none at all. Unlike the xbox version, Ghost Recon for the cube has no online capability. This isn't much of a problem, since the game mainly focuses on the single player campaign. There are 3 different modes of play: deathmatch, firefight and mission. Deathmatch is ok, but it gets boring because there are only 2 people running around a map trying to kill each other. Mission on the other hand is the best. It allows both players to play the campaign cooperatively, but you have to unlock all the missions first by going through the campaign. Co-op mode is fun because both players can work together to beat the levels and there are no squad mates, making them more challenging. Firefight is also a fun option, where both players seek out and kill all the enemies on the map. The frame rate stays at a steady pace, although characters look partially smashed and it may lag from time to time. Other than that, it is very enjoyable.
Rent or Buy? buy buy buy!!!!
Ghost Recon is a pretty old game, but I believe that every gamecube owner should have this in their library. It's only about 15 to 20 bucks, which is very affordable. It's also one of the few games on the cube that are of that genre. There aren't much good shooters on the GameCube, and Ghost Recon is one of the best so I would pick it up immediately. Ghost Recon is very fun and will keep you entertained for a long time. When Ghost Recon 2 comes out this November, people may forget about this game. But once in a while it's good to pop in old classics and have some fun.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/28/04
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