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   Title: Soldier of Fortune

   Format: PC

   Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

   The Hype: Take the number one PC gaming format (the first person shooter), combine it with the number one "wannabe" mercenary magazine (Soldier of Fortune), slap it all on the dated Quake 2 engine, and what do you get? A game that will probably please the people who like to pretend pushing buttons on their computer really makes them a macho soldier but otherwise should have been made for the times.

      What This Monkey Thought...

   Graphics: Simply put- Piss Poor. When you’re competing with Unreal Tournament and the higher end Half Life mods putting out anything on the old Q2 engine is just asking for trouble. Characters are blocky and blurry, environments are typically dark and pixalized, animations are dull, and lighting is harsh or non-existent. The only thing that the graphics do have going for them is the gore effects which are, in all honesty, fantastic (with jutting bones and holes through heads) but that only carries a game so far and becomes trivial quickly. Next time guys, take a hint from all the crap that John Romero’s been getting (from this magazine like so many others) and work with a modern engine. It’s not like there aren’t enough of them out there. 3 out of 5.

   Sound: Run of the mill simulated sound effects really could have used more sampling from real weapons. Fun, not a real let down, but sure didn’t impress me. The music is okay but repetitive. Basically, the same as just about every other game in the genre. 3 out of 5.

   Game Play: Well, let’s call a spade a spade and just say that it is EVERY OTHER FPS OUT THERE! No, contrary to all the hype, this isn’t offering anything new. I had hoped the inclusion of "gore zones" would mean that you could get accurate hit locations something a kin to Rogue Spear- all it means, though, is that there are more different places to shoot people and get blood to splatter different ways. The use of "real weapons" is also a misnomer, as the damage scales and effects are just like all the other weapons from other FPS’. If anything, they are more dull with the decided lack of alternate fire modes and the scarcity of different weapons in single player modes. It also suffers all the same fallings as its brothers with jump and push puzzle solving, ridiculously high kill ratios, and sniper rifles that do more damage when they’re zoomed in. 2 out of 5.

   Level and Environment Designs: Okay, I want you to close your eyes…That’s right…Now, envision every Quake 2 level you ever played…Good…Now, remember all the pointless jumping platforms in the middle of no-where? Remember all the doors that mysteriously can only be unlocked by doubling back four rooms prior and pushing a hidden button? Remember the enemies piled up for no particular reason in one room?…You do? Excellent…Now, imagine those levels are set in a subway station and a military base. Yup, this game has every cliché known to man, and a few new ones, like anti-aircraft turrets that are for NO REASON pointed into the base hall ways instead of watching the skies and watch towers that could only watch an internal section of the base that there is no reason to guard. In other words, my children, the levels SUCK THE SWEAT OFF A DEAD DONKEY’S BALLS. Thank you. 1 out of 5

   Multiplayer: I suppose you could say that multiplayer is the place where this game shines as it is fairly stable and has all the options you’d expect. Except, frankly, it offers nothing new, has a high sys requirement, and has weapons that are a lot more dull than its competitors. I would (and we have) traded back to Half Life or even Quake 2 in a second. 3 out of 5

   Replayability: Personally, I found none in this game. Oh, gee, might I have missed a hidden door the first time through? I did? TOO FRICKIN’ BAD! I don’t want to go through the same damned unoriginal levels again. And, as you might expect, higher difficulty levels just mean throwing more and more bad guys at you. 2 out of 5

   Story/Dramatics: Give credit where credit is due, for an FPS Soldier of Fortune has a pretty heavy story line. For any other game, it's still choking on the chicken bone of inadequacy, but for an FPS it’s okay. You follow the plight of two mercenaries working for "The Shop" who get various assignments and have to go kill people to save the world. Not original, but hey, at least it’s intact. 3 out of 5

   Instructions and Learning Curve: Have you played a first person shooter? Good, then you know how to play this. The only thing that annoys me, and boy does this annoy me, is that only half the weapons are listed in the instruction book. I know it’s supposed to make it a "surprise" but all it does is waste my ammo while I try and figure out what weapons do. 3 out of 5

   Installation and Real System Requirements: Here we have yet another pain in the ass. Of the four computers we tried to install it on here in the office, it only worked easily on one! Definitely some problems in the install coding. The real system requirements are also ridiculously high, as I wouldn’t suggest playing it on anything slower than a 300 mhz with a good video card. And when you realize that it’s just glorified Q2 that sucks ass. 1 out of 5

   The Verdict:

       No. Big frickin’ no. We returned the copy that we bought and if you bought it I’d suggest you’d do the same. Hell, if you haven’t bought it, go out and buy it, then go back and return it fifteen minutes later just to make a statement on how lame this game is. It offers NOTHING new in the FPS genre and actually suffers well below average in a lot of categories. I’d avoid it like a prostitute coughing up blood.

   The Good: Hmm…Let me think…Oh yeah, it has "Gore Zones" so it’s a bloody messy treat. And that’s all.

   The Bad: Everything else.

   The Overall Ugly: For you idiots who only play first person shooters and buy all the latest first person shooters because you figure anything that’s a first person shooter is great, go buy this. Everyone else- Don’t.

   What it's Worth: Not even the $2 you hacker pirates would spend to burn a copy unless you’re really in the mood for gore- then go buy it but make sure you can return it after a day and a half!

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