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     " Hopefully someone gives these boys some budget to play with and they can turn out a full bells and whistles game soon. "

      Title: Day of Defeat by Activision

      Format: PC WWII Shooter

      Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

      The Hype: In what may be the ultimate example of exactly how versatile the venerable Half-Life engine is, Day of Defeat brings what many people feel is the ultimate mod to the gaming public. Forget death-matching with wild weapons and unrealistic damage, Day of Defeat is a strictly objective based game where life is fleeting and taking a .30-06 round to the chest kills. But is this once fan created (though now officially distributed) mod enough to compete with big money games like Medal of Honor and Battlefield 1942? Read on, my monkeys…read on.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Unquestionably dated but still functional, graphics is the only place that Day of Defeat shows the age of its pedigree. Though the character models are actually really nice and easily comparable with games like Medal of Honor, the landscapes are sorely lacking and the maps are often so blocky that you're reminded of playing indoor paintball-where tiny landscapes are spattered with walls of impenetrable square foliage act as rigid barriers to create an often maze like atmosphere. Still, though limited in size and flashy terrain, the developers have given the levels incredible depth and you will be pressed to find maps with better alternate routes (there's always a tunnel to sneak through, a wall to blow down, or a bunker to hunker in), which means there's a lot of fun to be had even though you're typically playing in a space the size of a postage stamp. Far and away the best feature though, and one not rivaled in this monkey's knowledge, is the weapon realism and muzzle flash. Gone are the days of lopsided weapons and fire-cracker flashes, Day of Defeat works hard to give you nice, lush, and realistic gear that looks and "feels" (through ambiance) much like the real thing. 3.5 out of 5

      Playability: There's an eternal struggle among shooters: realism or speed. Invariably a game breaks down into one of those two categories and only those that are the best in their polar categories, the intensely real near simulators like Rainbow 6 or the wildly frenetic chaos of twitch shooters like Unreal Tournament, typically get any attention. With rare exceptions anything that falls in between goes the way of the dodo and it's a brave, or stupid, developer who vies for that interest.
          Now enter Day of Defeat. Clearly aimed at that tumultuous middle ground, Day of Defeat combines some of incredibly realistic weapons modeling with decidedly fast paced objective based play. Adhering near religiously to historically accurate weapons (complete with approximately accurate recoil and machine guns that must be placed to be effective) and implementing some pretty solid realistic damaging, Day of Defeat puts players in the role of either Axis or Allies for team against team combat. And while team WWII games aren't anything new, what's remarkable about Day of Defeat is the way its been streamlined into simple flag controlling and target objective missions while remaining very compelling.
          The secret to Day's success in this little venture is in universally useful "classes". Rather than dealing with traditional player roles, like medic, soldier, and heavy weapons guy, all players are the same person just with well balanced but different load outs. So, for example, a light infantry man will carry an M1 Carbine (low power but good rate-of-fire rifle) with several grenades while a machine gunner gets no grenades but can lay down heavy fire--though only from an emplaced position. And while, again, that kind of balance may seem like nothing new to the genre it really is carried out with exceptional panache in Day of Defeat. Enough so that, almost universally, no class is useless or ignorable…which is not something you can say in many games. 4 out of 5

      Story and Drama: More of mod than a full game, Day of Defeat deals exclusively with multiplayer content and so has no story (though many of the objective maps are based on historical WWII battles). No Rating.

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Designed exclusively for multiplayer play, Day of Defeat does a wonderful job of creating compellingly frag-filled objective based games. Pulling in historic weapons and creating interesting maps was a big part of that, but more importantly it's the balance Day manages to strike between the axis and allies that is so very impressive. Despite the glut of WWII shooters out there, every single game shares one concept in common; that being on the Axis sucks. Now, granted, in many respects that's appropriate as most of their squad level technology and equipment was vastly inferior to the Allies, but still-there are ways to keep the game realistic but still have the teams even, and Day of Defeat has done it.
           Not to be all praise, however, Day does suffer from one critical, and near unforgivable flaw; the lack of bots. While, obviously, the game is designed for internet play it is insufferable that you have to play it that way. Of course, with lan support, if you can get enough buddies together you can play locally but the lack of simple deathmatch (it is only objective based) means you won't have much fun unless you can get a whole lot of people into one place at one time. Which, without question, bites. The other critical flaw with internet only play, especially with a game as easy to modify as a Half-Life mod, is that the game existed for approximately 45 minutes before hackers busted it open and started in with the cheats. Thus, in your internet games, which is about the only way to play it, the odds are very, very high that at least one of the people you're playing against has things stacked very heavily in their advantage. 3.75 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       I have always said I'd take great gameplay over good graphics any day of the week, and Day of Defeat delivers gameplay in spades. Thus, if not for the painful stipulation of internet only play (and with it the inevitable cheating and hassles), you'd be looking at a solid five score. But that reality, coupled with the mediocre graphics, means Day has to be happy with its 3.75…which is too damned bad.

      The Good: The best World War II FPS around, hands down.

      The Bad: Which is kept from being a game for the ages by mediocre graphics and its internet only botless play.

      The Overall Ugly: Hopefully someone gives these boys some budget to play with and they can turn out a full bells and whistles game soon.

      What it's Worth: At 20 bucks it's worth market....without a doubt.

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