Review by Mechaflame

"The popular brand on PC comes to Gamecube!"

Tom Clancy’s game series has always been a popular brand on the PC. The consoles are now getting use to the pace and taste of the novelist game adaptations too, with the Rainbow Six series, Splinter Cell, and now the PC multiplayer classic Ghost Recon. Finding the same audience on the consoles took a bit of doing, but now they come in droves to play these stealthy, action based, stealth combat simulators. On the Xbox, Ghost Recon was treated to fantastic online play complete with voice communication. The GameCube on the other hand doesn’t include online play, and just two-player versus modes. Does this make the game any less fun? I’d have to say a big yes to this factor. What’s more, it is not like the system doesn’t support online, as it does. So, can you explain the omission of this feature? Is the game still good? Yeah, but still misses something in the transition.
Visually, Ghost Recon does the series justice. It looks nearly identical to the PC counterpart, and just as good as the Xbox version. Unfortunately, that’s not the best news, as the PC version’s engine is showing it’s age. The terrain is huge with plenty of detail. The framerate stays very constant, and the player models are done nicely with detailed characteristics for each soldier. You have cool night vision and weather effects to add to the realism. The textures on the other hand are flat, and reminiscent of an older generation FPS. The blur effect that happens when hit is also a nice touch as well and the front end and HUD is easy to read and navigate through. It is actually easier to wade your way through the options and mission details on this version more so than on the Xbox. Speaking of easy, the GameCube version also has a terrain map that shows you where your enemies lie. This really takes away from the game as far as a difficulty standpoint is observed. Overall the game is a nice port of the PC version, but it’s sad that more couldn’t have been accomplished due to the power of the GameCube.

Audio is tremendous, supporting Dolby Pro Logic II. You can notice just by the sound, where you are on the terrain, and whether you are in water or in the brush, the sounds are recreated nicely. Added is radio commands from the lead officers and HQ. They help you when enemies are sighted, shot down, or the area of their location status. There is also a hint of music that gets you fired up when the action becomes intense. The music is well placed, and doesn’t distract, as the game relays mostly on the ambient sounds. The experience is a great one when you’ve got this baby loud and blaring. Nothing makes you feel closer to the experience.

Gameplay is where Ghost Recon takes a hit. For starters, the aforementioned HUD display that allows you to know the enemies location is a real bummer. Forget the element of surprise, or hiding in brushes, or sniping from a building. I know you are there now, thanks to this gadget. Too make matters worse, when targeting an enemy, the cursor turns red to allow you to know if you are on target. Also, there is no way to turn this off either. The controls are decent, but FPSs just don’t seem to work the best on the standard GC controller; That C stick is just too tiny. The sensitivity is touchy at first, but can be adjusted. The A.I. is very tough, even with the HUD, but it would’ve been green beret-ish if the I didn’t know where they were. Those looking for a real challenging squad game, should check out the PC or Xbox versions, but if you like your games spoon-fed to you, then give this one a try.

Ghost Recon is full of modes to keep you busy all night long. You have training, tactical exercises, campaigns, missions, and multiplayer. Surprisingly the single player options will keep you busy for a while, unlocking new missions, and learning the tactics involved in squad based team operations. The multiplayer would’ve have benefited from online play, but does okay for what is here. You can play head to head or co-op with 2 players. My question is, why not 4? The GameCube is equipped with 4 ports folks. On the positive side, the frame rate stays very steady with very little loss of detail or animations in split screen mode.

If you are just a GameCube owner, and you are looking for a great game that involves squad based team battles, then Ghost Recon will suffice. There is a reason it sold so well on the PC you know. The reason is unfortunately multiplayer online, which is absent from the Cube version. If you can get by with 2-player multiplayer, single player, and don’t care about online play, then add another letter grade to this score, because the game is still great. If you own an Xbox on the other hand, give it a shot and look for me online there.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 03/29/04

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