Review by vmaranise

"This game is not what it was hyped to be. I'm just glad I rented it first."

I have to say that I did have good expectations for Shellshock Nam '67 as I was going into it. But then I started playing it. I knew about all the bad reviews and negative press this game was generating. Despite this fact, I really wanted to play SSN67. Now that I look back, I wonder why.

There's not really just one part of the game that makes it suck. It could be credited to sloppy controls, generic scenery, shoddy/blurry graphics, bad AI, repetitive combat...the list goes on and on.

This game was hyped as being a new realistic, unsentimental approach to war games. The Vietnam war was a dirty one, and this game tries to show that. For the most part it succeeds, although not how we expected. They try to show realism with tons of cursing and bloody violence. I know Nam wasn't clean, and there is a fair amount of blood in war. But this game was supposed to be realistic, not excessively violent. The game falls apart in many ways , all which will be discussed later in this review.

I'll start with the good: The game is violent. No I'm not a sick man who likes blood. But admit it, you like video game violence too. Also the games atmosphere is surprisingly good, and does a good job of making you feel as if you were there. The graphics were designed with a sepia-toned filter which according to a gaming magazine “attempts to recreate the feel of movies like Full Metal Jacket”. In my opinion, this just makes the graphics look bad, and blurry. Also, to follow the “realistic” tone of the game, crouching improves your accuracy, but that's about all that was done to increase realism.

Now that I've covered the good parts of the game, on to the bad!

There are so many faults in this game, I don't know where to start. I'll start with the controls. Its hard to pinpoint exactly what it is wrong with the controls, they just don't feel right. They feel very sluggish, especially when aiming. The reticule moves very slow, which means those VC will be shooting you while your drawing a bead on them. When you aim, the camera centers behind your soldier, much like in Freedom Fighters. But in FF the aiming actually works, and feels right. This is not the case with SSN67.

The graphics aren't exactly brilliant either. As I said before, the sepia-toned filter makes the game look butt-ugly. The graphics are nice and blurry, and the character models are very poorly done. They look kind of cartoony, and just sloppily done. This goes for teammates and VC alike. Everything looks pretty much the same, and although they try to say you're in a jungle, it looks more like the beach, since the trees share a resemblance to palm trees.

Your teammates AI is pretty bad too. They basically just sit there and shoot. However the VC AI isn't exactly revolutionary either. The enemies follow pre-scripted patterns, as opposed to real AI. For example, if you know that you are having trouble in a certain shootout, just memorize the enemies spawn points. That's all there is to it. The enemies constantly respawn until you pass the area, which is pretty stupid. So you know enemies will respawn behind those bushes and from inside that cave. This makes the battles feel pretty pointless, as your just mowing down wave after wave of stupid, pre-scripted VC who have no idea whether they should shoot at you, or the tree beside you. And if you do get shot, then your “shock meter” goes up. Just find a place to hide for a little bit, and it goes back down. You really think that's realistic? You can get shot an infinite amount of times, as long as you just sit there for a minute. Couple this with the fact that every enemy looks identical, and they all shout the same phrases over and over again, and this makes for some very repetitive combat. I honestly don't think surviving Nam was this easy. It was probably more fun too! (OK maybe not)

The game suffers from many faults, which make it nearly unplayable. Also, random disk drive errors occur pretty frequently, meaning you will be reloading that save over and over again if the game keeps locking up on you.

If I were to describe the gameplay in one word, it would be repetitive. Like I already said, you are in a jungle with palm trees, mowing down VC with pre-scripted patterns, who don't have any sense at all. You basically mow down wave after wave of them until you are instructed to blow up the tunnel that they are spawning from. These battles could go on forever if you wanted them too. Also, the VC seem to have only certain routes per level. For example, the enemy runs out from behind the rocks to your left, and runs across the left side of the area. Once you've blasted them into a bloody mess, more VC will spawn from the cave to your right, and so on and so forth. This makes for some linear missions that involve nothing but blasting VC.

In between missions, you are free to roam the base camp. This is pretty pointless, you can basically hook up with prostitutes, talk to people, and listen to the music. That brings to one good thing about the game: The soundtrack is entertaining, although it won't make you buy a soundtrack.

Another thing that left me wondering was this: On the back of the box, it says something about going from a low level grunt- soldier to a special forces soldier, or something of higher rank. This makes you think there would be some kind of RPG-like level building/upgrading system, that allowed you to upgrade skills, much like any RPG. However, there's not. The only “upgrade” you get is a short, blurry cutscene of your character getting promoted. What a great way to make fans! Promise something and don't give it to us! It's not that big of a deal, but it is a disappointment.

To sum it up, SSN67 suffers from bad level design, horrible AI, repetitive combat, blurry graphics, and not giving you what was promised. (realism) I cannot recommend this game too anyone. And believe me, I am a huge shooter fan, and have loved shooters that most everyone else hates. But SSN67 is just crap. Crap in a box, that you're being charged $50 for. Not a good deal, in my opinion.

Pros/Cons

+Shows the dark side of war, unlike other war games
+Is *somewhat* realistic (emphasis on somewhat)
+Atmosphere is well done. And you feel as if you were in the jungles of Nam' (except for the palm trees)
+Showing the dark side with plenty of blood and violence, which helps set the tone of the game
+If you're 10 years old, you'll really enjoy all the cursing and hookers in this game
+Pretty entertaining soundtrack

-Awful AI
-Awful, blurry graphics
-Repetitive combat
-Boring level design
-Doesn't deliver the realism
-Base camp is pointless
-Back of the box lied to me!
-Short in length
-Enemy AI is non-existent, instead we get pre-scripted patterns
-Enemies constantly spawning from random locations
-Nothing that hasn't been done before
-Just not fun to play, due to the controls, and a mix of everything else

Scores

Graphics:4.5/10
Sound5.7/10
Story:5/10
Gameplay5.6/10
Replay Value/Fun Factor: 4.2/10
Overall:4.9/10

Final Word: RENT FIRST!!

Even then you're wasting $7 that could be spent on something better, like dog food. It you're like me, and absolutely had to check this game out, then please rent it first, and save yourself some money.

I recommend that you use that saved money and get something else that you will actually enjoy. This game just has too many glitches and faults to make it worth your time and money, and I doubt you will enjoy it that much


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 10/07/04


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