I have finally finished a game series, and thus stars a new series I am doing! Retrospectives!
Well okay, this series was only 3 games long, but it’s still an achievement, at least it is for me.
So as you could probably guess, I have been delving into the Soldier of Fortune games, and now that’s I have completed all 3, I’ll give youse my thoughts on them here, starting with, of course, Call of duty! …Er, I mean Soldier of Fortune, the first game…
Soldier of Fortune
Microsoft Windows*, Linux – 2000 | Sega Dreamcast* – 2001 | Sony Playstation 2 – 2002
* = Version Played
I first heard about this game when I was talking to friend about the Sega Dreamcast in High School, and he mentioned the only 2 games he had, if I recall correctly, were Looney Tunes Space race and Soldier of Fortune. Someone I knew told me it was a terrible game, and as always, I decided to be the judge of that, I looked up gameplay, and it looked decent for a Dreamcast game, despite the very long load times. So I got myself the Dreamcast version of the game, and played through it, and it was an alright game, it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t as bad as people said it was.
Sometime later, I found the PC version at CEX, I can’t quite remember how much it was, something tells me it was £2-£2.50, not that it matters now, though. I bought it there, played when I got home, and from the get go, it was a far superior version, every aspect of the game was better on the PC! Not that the Dreamcast version was a bad port, it’s sill good what they managed to do on the Dreamcast, but the PC version is not only better, but far cheaper, too, so there’s no reason to get the Dreamcast version, and if reviews are anything to go by, neither is the PS2 port. I never tried that, though, nor have I played the Linux version, but I kind of want to, it’s rare that any Linux game comes out, let alone a full scale retail release, so it’d be interesting to see how it holds up.
If you’ve heard anything about this game, then you’d know the series is famous for it’s violence, it’s one of the earliest games, or games in general, where you can blow the limbs or head off of the enemies, and apparently caused controversy. It’s cool at first, but I think the novelty wares off quick, but once it wares off, you still have a solid and fun shooter, and I really enjoyed playing through it.
Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix
Microsoft Windows (Version Played), Apple Mac OS X, Microsoft Xbox – 2002
The first thing I have to comment on, are the graphics. Starting with the resolution, the first game, at least the special edition, which was what I had, supported 1080p resolution no problem if I recall correctly, I had no problems playing on such a resolution. The second game only supports up to 1280×1024. I managed to find a way to change it to 1080p, but then the health bar was cut off, and I had to then apply a patch that fixed it. Yeah, it was a pain getting it to a decent resolution.
That wasn’t the end of it, though, the actual graphics looked very washed out. I couldn’t find any screenshots that showed this and at the time of writing this, my PC is broken, so I can’t take any of my own, so you’re going to have to just take my word for it…
The gameplay itself is classic Soldier of Fortune, just as fun as the first game, though I was put off by the washed out graphics some of the time.
A cool feature this game has is a random mission generator, which, as far as I know, randomly generates a level and a person to assassinate, and of course you need to assassinate the target to complete the mission. I only tried this a couple of times, but it seems pretty cool, and a good way of adding replay value to the game.
So while I didn’t enjoy this game as much as the first one, I still had a great time with it!
Soldier of Fortune: Payback
Microsoft Windows (Version Played), Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360 – 2007
This is when the sh*t supposedly hit the fan, Soldier of Fortune: Payback was supposed to be the worst in the series if not one of the worst shooters of all time. They say that kind of thing with a lot of games, but I end up enjoying them nevertheless (Rambo: The Video Game being the most recent example), so I was thinking Payback may be one of those games.
…and it kind of was, I enjoyed playing through this game, of course, it has it’s problems, for one, the engine is awful, even on the PC, the framerate drastically drops at intense moments, and there are gl0itches everywhere, not to mention the A.I. can be a little stupid at times… and by a little, I mean a lot…
The game isn’t graphically great either, even in cutscenes, there’s a lot of clipping going on, and it got worse the later I got in the game, it’s almost as if they never bothered with it towards the end, gave up on it.
Also, this game doesn’t support 1080p either! Only 900p (1440×900) and 1050p (1680×1050). Really, guys? Really?
The bosses are also a pain, because it takes way too many hits to kill them, less hits than you can take yourself, the first bosses aren’t a huge problem, but the later ones get annoying, and frustrating.
Which reminds me of another thing I find slightly annoying with the game, is that it’s clearly more console oriented than the previous games, the 2 previous games had the ability to quick save and quick load, whereas this simply uses checkpoints, which is kind of lame…
The story didn’t seem to have any relation to the previous games, John Mullins isn’t in this game, instead, you play as a new character, called Thomas Mason (not to be confused with Alex Mason), and the story had no noticeable connection to it’s predecessors.
The campaign is very short, I managed to complete it the same day I got it, but similar to Rambo: The Video Game, I had a lot of fun in the short time I had with the game. It also ends in a cliffhanger, and seeing the bad reviews it got, which might lead to poor sales, I doubt we’ll ever see the conclusion to the story. Even if a sequel would be 10 minutes long, and was awful all the way through, it would at least conclude the story, it’d be a lot better than leaving us the dark… Ah well, nothing we can do now…
In fact, now that I think about it, aside from it’s violent nature, it doesn’t seem to have anything in relation to the previous games, it even plays more like Call of Duty than Quake, like the other 2 do.
Speaking of it’s violence, it’s back and more gory than ever! Well, the graphics look nicer, so that might be why, but still.
I might be sounding negative towards this game, but really, I didn’t think it was as bad as people made it out to be, although I only paid £6 for it, I might be whistling a different tune if I paid £30-£50 on the game at launch, hyped up for the game after loving the first 2. As it stands though, I think it’s decent.
So there you have it, those are my thoughts on the Soldier of Fortune series, and I think all 3 games are great fun, yes, even Payback, and all of them go dirt cheap on the PC these days, so if you find them for a good price, go for it, give them a shot! My favorite in the series would probably be the original, the wash-out issue ruined Soldier of Fortune 2, and I f*cking hate checkpoints! What do you guys think? What’s your favorite game in the series?
That concludes my Retrospective of the Soldier of Fortune series, I’m currently playing through other, longer series as I type this.
You can look forward to my unjustified thoughts of other series, most of which are of the same genre as this. It might be a while before I can do another one, mainly because of the length of these series, but also because my PC is currently broken… I’m typing this on an old laptop, by the way, which struggles to run 15 year old games, so I can’t use that… So… I guess this is goodbye, for now… See youse… Okay, this is getting a little awkward now…