Review by Glock
"Waxing terrorists has never been so fun"
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon is an awesome tactical counter-terrorism game made in the classic first-person style that DOOM fans the world over would recognize. Players take control of an elite team of soldiers, known as ''The Ghosts'', to foil terrorists in exotic locales. Different types of soldiers can be selected to create your squad, grouped into fireteams of up to three members per fireteam. This is useful for parts in the game where backup is necessary for a calculated attack against enemy forces. Different ''classes'' to choose from include snipers (my personal fave), riflemen, demolitions men and support. Current military technology is used and abused in this game, with players being able to set demo charges, fire M16A2 service rifles with the M203 grenade launcher attached and even use the awesomely inaccurate (but tons of fun to fire) M249 SAW automatic machine gun. Having fired these weapons as part of my training in real life, I can say the physics of the weapon handling in the game is as close to real life as you can get it without actually grabbing hold of the trigger yourself. Weapons buck wildly and the recoil from some of the rifles require you to steady your aim after every shot. The controls also allow movement of your squad with the greatest of ease. Want to send some of your boys around a wall to cover your flank while you storm the inside of a building? Not a problem. The keyboard hotkeys for night-vision, binocs and other various implements are easy to use once you get used to the controls. Since this IS a tactical shooter, many run and gun tactics FPS players are usually accustomed to will get you killed. Run into an open area with a machinegun expecting to take a few rounds with nary a scratch will have you coming home in a big black plastic bag. Every shot counts in Ghost Recon - nail a tango in his foot and he'll drop to his knee and call for backup. Cap one in the head and he's down for the count. And the same goes for you. Soldiers can get wounded (critically) and if you don't play your cards right or take evasive action soon enough you'll be staring into a puddle of your own blood. It's best to use stealth and slight of movement. Research your enemy's area of operation to find and exploit a weakness. Or call in a sniper to take care of the problem from a few hundred yards away before they have the chance to see what hits them. Either way, it takes some skill and thought to wage guerilla war, much like it does in real life.
Keep in mind, all this is happening in gorgeously designed levels. The terrain can be tricky - hide behind a bush, and you might not be able to see around it. Shoot at one, though, and leaves bristle to the ground. Trees sway and the wind howls - you can hear your heavy breathing and almost smell the dirt as you crawl across wet ground. Water trickles and splashes as you run (or walk, or crawl) through it, and the rounds sound as if they're actually flying above your head. All in all, it's an intense experience - one guaranteed to make your palms sweat and heartbeat quicken.
I was also really impressed with the enemy AI, although sometimes it seemed like the terrorists were some type of super-soldiers. You take a shot and miss, they'll run for cover and return fire. If you're close enough, they'll throw grenades (RUN!). It all seemed realistic to me, except when the binocular-less sentries standing guard on the side of a mountain seem to know exactly where your sniper is from a few football field's distance away. Perhaps muzzle flash could be the cause for their alarm. Either way, enemies tend to be expert marksmen, which provides even more reason to introduce them to the business end of your hardware before they have the chance to do the same to you.
Multiplayer is an absolute blast. Trigger-happy silicon soldiers can enjoy round after round of different guns-a-blazing games, including Hamburger Hill (similar to king of the hill), Search and Rescue (find hostages and rescue them while evading and/or dispatching opposing forces) and Last Man Standing (self-explanatory). Three different multiplayer modes can be played: Solo (you vs. all), Co-op (bring along a buddy for some quality tango-killing bonding time) and Team Play. By far, team play is the most fun for many people, as it's the mode generally played by most of the people I've seen in multiplayer. You and your merry band wreak havoc (or attempt to) on the other team, while trying to avoid taking a lead shower. The most popular game mode for team play is Last Man Standing, and it gets really intense when it comes down to the wire. Once you've been terminated in a multiplayer game (with spawning off - the ONLY way to play), you can change the viewpoint between the remaining characters on your team to see through their eyes. It's almost like watching a movie in the theater, and you know something bad's going to happen to the main character. ''Don't go through the door!'' They do, and - WHACK. I've seen some really interesting matches where all but one player has been wiped out and the lone survivor decides to get Rambo-style on the other team and eventually comes out on top. By far, multiplayer boosts the replay value of the game through the roof.
Infinitely addictive, extremely fun and a absolute joy to play. If you haven't gotten Ghost Recon, get it now. Resistance is futile - The Ghosts are in town.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/05/02, Updated 07/05/02
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