Saturday, August 8, 2009

Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix

Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix [PC Game]

love Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix [PC Game] | 1.2 GB love

Soldier of Fortune II is actually one of the few games in which skipping the plot actually makes the gameplay portions clearer. Both the training and the early cutscenes imply that you're going to need to resort to stealth to successfully navigate the first mission. If you skip the plot, you'll miss this part and probably just go in shooting, which is actually the only practical way to approach the game. It appears that the developers planned to incorporate some sneaking elements into Soldier of Fortune II and then somewhere along the line gave up--but then never managed to completely remove the essentially nonfunctioning stealth features. Generally, you can sneak up on the first enemy in a level. Once you've successfully snuck up on him, you can decide to never move again and stay hidden forever--or you can decide to kill him, at which point it's time to stop sneaking and start shooting. A completely superfluous prone stance, an unnecessary option for picking up dead bodies, and the enemies' ability to see you even if you're lying in tall grass all contribute to the half-finished feeling of the stealth mechanic.

However, aside from one small section of the first mission, the game never requires you to sneak around. Soldier of Fortune II is quite long as a single-player shooter--it should take somewhat less than 20 hours to finish--or more than that if you don't disable the limited save option. As the game progresses, you can almost sense the developers figuring out what works and what doesn't. The early missions include a lot of references to stealth and offer a few not-very-interesting gameplay sequences set on rails. Happily, the final two-thirds of the single-player game focuses almost exclusively on what Soldier of Fortune II does best: wild gunfights.

Enemy artificial intelligence is much better than the original game's. Characters no longer fail to react when the guy standing right next to them has his brains blown out. Though they don't exhibit much squad coordination, they use cover extremely well. Enemies will often find a spot and stick to it, poking their heads out to take potshots at you. They're also deadly with grenades, which keeps you from staying in one location for long and encourages accuracy on your part, as headshots will immediately drop an enemy. Along with explosive grenades, the computer opponents have some ability to use flashbangs, though they're a bit less successful with these. Sometimes it appears as if they're actually coordinating an attack by throwing a flashbang at you and then advancing through the cover of smoke. Other times, they'll toss a flashbang two feet away from themselves and in the opposite direction of your position. Still, it adds an interesting wild card to the combat. You'll quickly learn to run as soon as you hear the clinking sound of a bouncing grenade. Since the AI tends to run from grenades as well, you'll sometimes be sprinting neck and neck with a fleeing enemy soldier, both of you temporarily united in your desire to escape the impending explosion.

Minimum System Requirements
System: PIII 800 or equivalent
RAM: 128 MB
Video Memory: 16 MB

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