Review by N3k74r

"Easily, the best FPS on N-Gage."

It's a good thing Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Jungle Storm came along. I was about ready to write off FPSs on the N-Gage for good. I love the genre, so I can be a little overly critical when it comes to reviewing them, especially on a system with the performance specs of the N-Gage. Surprisingly I found very little to complain about, and a lot to like about Gameloft's latest release in the Tom Clancy series of games.

Graphics
Considering the limited capabilities of the N-Gage's series 60 GUI Jungle Storm actually performs quite well in the graphics department. Textures are reasonably detailed and varied. Character models, while a little on the chunky side, make up for it in their excellent animations. Environments are rendered with enough detail that you will never be confused between an enemy and, say, a bush. Graphical effects like fog, rain and night vision are in effect at various times throughout the game and add a little extra bit of realism to play. Overall Jungle Storm looks pretty damn good.

Sound
Sound for Jungle Storm is very well executed. While weapons sound fairly similar there is a definite sonic distinction between the various tools in your arsenal. The few voice clips that are implemented sound great, and really give your team a personality. Music is of the standard modern tactical Clancy action variety, but is seldom, if ever, used in-game. Mostly the soundtrack only plays during mission briefings or cut-scenes. Ambient noise is sparse, but where it is used, it is appropriate to the environment and weather conditions.

Game play
In Jungle Storm you play the leader of the Ghosts, an elite counterterrorist force commissioned to clandestinely enter Columbia and put the stops to a group of power hungry warlords. You control one of a four man squad, but can switch between the various members of your team with the press of a button.

Mission variety is a little limited, and ranges from the standard “kill everyone in sight” missions to destroying convoys and escorting rescued hostages. Pretty standard fare for tactical shooters. Upon successful completion of each mission, bonuses are awarded in the form of new weapons and special challenges. These challenges come in three varieties: Timed missions, Solo missions, and a “one-shot-one-kill” style mission. The bonus challenges, from the campaign portion of the game, definitely add a significant amount of extra play time. Completion of these missions allows you further bonuses like new multiplayer skins.

At the beginning of each campaign mission you select the weapon load out for your team leader. The game selects the weapons for the remaining three members of your team, and the mission commences. There are quite a few, distinctly different weapons to choose from, starting at your standard handgun and running the gamut from M16s to M60s to sniper rifles to rocket launchers.
Every weapon has a distinct set of specifications that have a significant impact on how they are used. Luckily, since you can switch at will between members of your team, you always have the right tool for the job when you need it. The on-screen interface is functionally outstanding, and there is a huge amount of information available without being intrusive. An overhead tactical map is also available at the press of a button, ensuring that you will never be confused as to where to lead your team.

Control is fairly simple, and translates well to the NGAGE unit. Since this is a tactical shooter, there is not as much demand for fast, button mashing accuracy as in a game like Ashen. This is definitely a good thing because given the layout of the NGAGE's keypad, being fast and accurate is a bit on the challenging side. Still the turning speed in Jungle Storm is decidedly slow, which can prove frustrating at times when quick reflexes are required. Luckily you have your squad to back you up when the action gets heavy. Unfortunately your squad AI is a little on the sketchy side, and frequently they will end up getting themselves killed rather than helping you out. Therefore the two simple squad commands: “go here” and “fall in” are not particularly useful.

To balance this shortcoming out, enemy AI is equally lacking and it is not uncommon to see an enemy running in place in front of an object that they are trying to use as cover. Still, for a game running on this type of game system the AI is decent enough to keep the game fun and challenging.

Overall I actually really enjoyed Ghost Recon Jungle Storm. While it definitely has some shortcomings, the game itself is a lot of fun. Aside from a limited number of mission types and some rough AI, Jungle Storm is a solid addition to a genre that is definitely in short supply on the NGAGE. While mission variety is a little limited, and the single player campaign is somewhat short, multiple difficulty levels, bonus challenges and both co-op and adversarial multiplayer via Bluetooth add significantly to the replayability of the game. I would definitely say that Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm is arguably the best FPS on the system to date.

Highs:
Good Graphics and Sound; Fun game play; A nice variety of missions to complete; Co-op and versus multiplay via Bluetooth; Developed from the ground up for N-Gage.

Lows:
Clunky controls; Poor AI; Short single player campaign.

Final Verdict: Easily the best FPS on the admittedly sparse N-Gage FPS landscape, Jungle Storm is a great looking and enjoyable game that gets almost everything right, and ups the ante for future N-Gage FPSs.

Rating: 80%


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/02/04


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