Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
It's a World War II first-person shooter that brings with it a wealth of experience from the PlayStation versions. You play an American Lieutenant sent on missions throughout Europe, bombing Nazi facilities and making full use of stealth. The game features highly detailed graphics powered by the Quake III engine, which is also being used for the James Bond game that's in the works, The World Is Not Enough.
What's The Big Deal?
Allied Assault brings you the glory of epic-scale battles in amazingly recreated scenarios, combined with stealth missions and clever gameplay. In many ways, this is the thinking man's Return to Castle Wolfenstein.
World War II has inspired many great games, all the way from Wolfenstein to Commandos and Hidden & Dangerous, but not many have started their lives on a console. Originally masterminded by DreamWorks (Spielberg's company), Medal Of Honor set out to translate the vision of Saving Private Ryan in all its epic and gory glory into a videogame. Judging by the screenshots, that vision is only set to become a reality with the PC version, Allied Assault. Before you start waving your fists in angry accusation at the thought of another second-rate console conversion that only makes use of a tiny proportion of your machine's capacity, let me tell you that developer 2015 is building the game from scratch rather than attempting a port. Furthermore, they're using a tweaked version of the Quake III engine and have somehow managed to create incredible outdoor areas and crammed loads of detail into every element of the graphics. Sound good? Wait till you hear about the gameplay.
Closer in style to H&D than Wolfenstein - or indeed any Quake-powered game to date - Medal Of Honor places a lot of emphasis on stealth and sabotage rather than mindless shooting action. In fact, if you try to go for the gung-ho approach you'll be shot to pieces faster than you can say Project IGI. As Lt Mike Powell you'll be charged with all sorts of missions - rescuing POWs, assassinating high-ranking Nazi officers, blowing up German factories - starting out in North Africa and working your way through Europe. Not surprisingly for a game with the word 'medal' in the title, successfully completing missions will get you all sorts of commendations, from the Purple Heart through to the titular Medal of Honor.
The typical scenarios will encompass the Saving Private Ryan-style ode to mutilation that is the landing at Omaha beach in Normandy and small-scale battles in bombed villages full of collapsed buildings and crawling snipers. Apparently the Omaha beach mission was shown to Steven Spielberg who was blown away by how intense the bullet-thick air and high body count felt. And that was only an early version of the level.
But the game offers much more than big showdowns. There's room for subtlety too. Stealth extends to being able to ride on vehicles - tanks, trucks, motorcycles - even if Nazis are driving them. We're also hoping to see one of the features from the console version, which allowed you to steal enemy uniforms and move freely among the enemy, or get shot if you gave yourself away by failing to salute a superior. The multiplayer aspect is still being tweaked but expect there to be both deathmatch and co-operative modes. After all, those Private Ryan scenarios would make fantastic Counter-Strike maps.
I've been hyping Wolfenstein for the past year now, and it still looks like it's going to rock when and if it finally hits the shelves -but I saw something at E3 that made me revise my opinion about it being the hottest-looking shooter waiting in the wings. Using my press credentials to full effect, I was whisked to the front of a huge queue of Joe Publics to witness a massively impressive in-game demo of EA's Medal Of Honour: Allied Assault. My jaw proceeded to drop, along with (nearly) the contents of my stomach (beer and seafood).
Is that the sort of reaction you want from a game? Well, it's the same one I had watching Saving Private Ryan with a hangover, and for a game that owes more than a passing nod to Hank's finest hour, I reckon the developers would have been proud.
After launching out of the landing craft I spent the first couple of minutes ducking Fizzing bullets and dodging the mass of corpses littering the beach. A quick sprint through the tank traps, and I was in front of a bunker, ready to dump a grenade and clear the way for some up-close-and-personal action. It was pretty intense stuff and if not as horrific as the film, still pretty grisly for a WWII-based shooter. Like Wolfenstein, Medal Of Honour also utilises the Quake III engine to provide jaw-droppingly lifelike visuals. Where the games differ is that Medal looks that much more realistic. Running through villages with planes spiralling down to the ground, and using the sniper rifle to pick through individual leaves on the trees in order to get a clear shot on a target while tanks rumble in the background, made me feel I was inside the Spielberg epic. In comparison Wolfenstein looks more polished, more Quake-like and less gritty.
Allied Assault is set between 1942 and 1945, and takes place over 20 single-player missions with solo and squad-based play. These include the aforementioned Normandy landings, the assault at Arzew, a rendezvous with the Resistance outside the village of St. Lo, a brief sojourn to the deserts of North Africa and a push through Nazi-infested lines towards the bridge of Remagen. Each mission culminates in an objective similar to the Assault levels of Unreal Tournament, so you might be charged with silencing gun batteries, or sabotaging U-boats, providing you can survive the initial charge up Omaha Beach of course. EA is working with the Congressional Medal Of Honour Society (CMOHS) to ensure real-life accuracy (Spielberg luwie, typecast movie general and military expert Captain Dye is also heavily involved). So, you can expect real-life weapons (21 in total, including Thompson sub-machine guns, Mark 2 Frag Grenades, flame-throwers and our favourite, the 'sticky bomb'). You'll also find vehicles you can interact with (ie shoot at) like Sherman tanks and M3 Half Trucks, day/night and weather effects and the ability to call for artillery strikes if you're too much of a wuss to deal with things on the ground.
I came away from the demo reeling, and that had nothing to do with events in The Viper Room the night before. I reckon this has the potential to out-Wolfenstein Wolfenstein, and although the hype surrounding it isn't going to be as fierce, I suggest you keep an eye out for the huge preview we've got pencilled in for the future. Of course, I could be completely wrong. There's a lot of work between now and the finished product, although EA is aiming for a release later this year, and somewhere along the way it could all fall to pieces. Somehow though, I don't think it will.
Download Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
PC compatible, P-100
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault Screenshots and Media
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