Delta Force 2
Along with Spec Ops and Rainbow Six, Delta Force was among the first wave of 3D military shooters and a welcome addition to a blossoming genre. Out were plasma rifles and formulaic aliens, and in came camouflage, M-16s, and for once a foe we could enjoy putting bullets into - humans. Unlike its peers however, Delta Force didn't take the 3D-accelerated route to the front line; instead, developers NovaLogic decided to stick to their tried-and-tested VoxelSpace technology. Everyone knows that voxels are blocky and ugly, so why in Sam Hell are they still using them for the sequel?
Like the film buff who went Betamax and the gamer who bought a Phillips CD-I convinced it was the future of'interactive entertainment', NovaLogic's strained grip on its ageing VoxelSpace technology seems baffling. Or it does until you realise that in this age of shit-off-a-shovel 3D hardware acceleration, there is one thing the likes of Voodoo can't do, and that is deliver the blurry-eyed realism that the latest VoxelSpace engine can. The kind of realism that characterised the first Delta Force game, in fact - where you think you can just make out shapes moving through tall, swaying grass. Quake 3 may have ladylike curves, thousands of polygons and smooth metallic textures, but where's the grass? There isn't any of course, because it would look so flat you'd be able to see a cowpat at 100 yards. By comparison, Delta Force's landscapes look like a giant undulating, upturned hairbrush - just the way the great outdoors should be.
Unfortunately, while Delta Force had a realistic look, the gameplay was less convincing. Missions were bland and could be completed in a few short days, the tactical elements were rudimentary and some of the animation was abominable. Unlike some sequels, Delta Force 2 has some catching up to do, which it seems to be doing...
Delta Force 2 will sport 32-bit colour (as opposed to 8-bit in the previous game), and higher resolutions should also provide a less blocky landscape and a greater depth of view. The laws of physics have been implemented as well, with players having to compensate for wind and the forces of gravity.
Most importandy, the gameplay will be a lot more varied than before. Over 40 missions based across Africa, the Middle East, Russia and Antarctica will be included, each offering a range of objectives - from search and destroy, to reconnaissance and rescue.
Perhaps the greatest enhancement for the sequel will be the Commander's Screen, where players plan their moves beforehand, much in the same way as in Rainbow Six and Hidden & Dangerous. This feature was sorely missed from the original game.
So far, so good then. The multiplayer game will be expanded to include Voice-Over-Net technology and up to 50 players can shoot it out on each map. Unfortunately, unlike our American cousins who will get the game next month, we have quite a wait in store. Mirroring the events of last year, us Old Worlders will have to wait until next February, by which time demand will have reached such a feverish frenzy that people will be camping outside their games store. That's the theory, anyway.
Delta Force 2 is the latest entry into the already crowded tactical military simulator market, but it's radically different in its use of voxel graphics as opposed to the textured 3D polygons we're all used to. You control a single, well-equipped soldier in an assortment of ready- to-go, single-player missions and, ive progressive campaigns.
Fighting alongside you are up to four other team-mates over whom you've no control - despite having a neatly-presented command map, complete with waypoints and objectives. You can't even tell them what weapons to choose and use.
So with no real strategy involved, your task is simply to look after numero uno. If it moves - shoot it, if it doesn't - blow it up. And if you can complete the mission objectives at the same time - anything from laser designating tanks for air strikes to ambushing convoys and rescuing hostages - then good luck to you. It's all great fun and extremely hectic, if ultimately, rather shallow.
While the beautiful voxel graphics engine turns out colourful, ultra-realistic terrain, it isn't helped by any 3D cards apart from the 32-bit TNT, TNT2 and Rage Fury. If you happen to own one of those, you'll be in heaven. If not, you'll need at least a 500MHz Pentium for smooth play, and something even faster if you want to try higher resolutions than 640 by 480.
Novalogic have put gameplay first and realism well down the list. The game itself feels like a cross between an Action Man cartoon and a Bond movie -all bullets and blood but no brains. Lacking the grim realism of Spec Ops 2 or the strong tactical elements of Hidden & Dangerous or Rogue Spear, this game remains easy to play and highly entertaining but has disappointingly few weapons to choose from and only average sound effects.
It has the usual first and third person views, plus a movable camera and a cool on-screen sniper scope. The bundled map editor, built-in Voice-Over-Net technology and wide variety of deathmatch modes makes for good multiplayer sport, but the mediocre animation, blocky graphics and lack of real depth leave it well behind its competitors.
Processor: PC compatible, P-100
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode
Delta Force 2 Screenshots
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