Digital gore. Don't you just love it? While the previously mentioned Dreamcast FPSs gave you the chance to blast your opponents into chunky pieces, Soldier of Fortune offers something new - now you can not only gib your foes, but shoot individual limbs off entirely. In fact, Raven, the developers, have paid so much attention to gory details that enemies have 26 body zones which will fly off at the drop of a hat... or bullet. This attention to the gory reality of bullet-play was a major selling-point of Soldier of Fortune when it was released for the PC. Will it be enough to draw DC gamers as well? Is there a good game beneath the blood and guts? Read on and find out!
The levels are quite detailed, as you can see.
Of course the fact that Soldier of Fortune is filled to the brim with gore doesn't mean that the game doesn't have more to offer than simple mindless violence. Soldier of Fortune, like many modern shooters, offers the gamer a storyline to follow while he or she is blasting various limbs off the enemy. This time you're an elite mercenary by the name of John Mullins, who is working to prevent terrorism around the world. Sound familiar? It could be your average first-person shooter storyline, but there's something about Soldier of Fortune that makes it somewhat different to other shooters. Your duties take you to far away lands such as Bosnia, Iran, and Japan. Can you see something new here? Soldier of Fortune aims for realism, while at the same time giving the gamer a very violent, fun, and extremely approachable first-person shooter. From what I've already said, you might think that Soldier of Fortune is slightly more tactical than other games in its genre. This is only partly true, but unlike PC shooters like Half-Life, there are no puzzles to solve. And don't think you'll find the tactical planning found in games like Rainbow Six either... It's simply hardcore action all the way.
Small additions to Soldier of Fortune include the presence of not only foes, but friends. You'll find other mercs from your team who are more than willing assist you throughout the game, as well as somewhat annoying civilians. Both team-mates and enemies are satisfactorily detailed too, and actually move like real people, as opposed to animatronic humaniods. However it's unlikely that you'd notice this. It is of course shoot first and ask questions later in Soldier of Fortune.
Not even innocents are safe in SoF. There goes his arm!
If you want to make a popular shooter, than the graphics have to be respectable. While Soldier of Fortune doesn't quite compare to game such as Outtrigger and Quake III Arena in strick graphical terms, it's still a very good-looking game. The title's visuals provide all the effects we've been treated to in the past, including colored lighting, fancy explosions and, of course, blood. The fact that that Soldier of Fortune isn't a multiplayer-oriented title such as others like Quake means that it can offer higher ingame detail with less slowdown.
Level design, however, is an area in which Soldier of Fortune really shines. The levels are massive, and textures are used effectively in each level to create a beleivable environment. Crumbled walls intricate sewers and even a large moving train will keep gamers entertained without boring them by shoving the same locales in their face for the entire game. The Iran stage in particular features some stunning architectural work on the part of the level designers.
I do have a few graphical gripes, but I'll save those for later...