Delta Force: Black Hawk Down Review
Black Hawk Down is a deeply flawed shooter that has a moment of disappointment or frustration for every moment of fun.
Novalogic's Delta Force was originally one of the foremost tactical shooter series in computer gaming. However, if last year's Task Force Dagger is any indication, the series is in decline. The newest game in the series, Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, focuses on the UN intervention in Somalia in the 1990s, as portrayed in the popular novel and motion picture Black Hawk Down. The new Delta Force game makes some improvements to the series, but it's difficult to take seriously, especially considering some of the game's action sequences, which resemble old arcade games more than they do actual military operations.
Black Hawk Down is loosely inspired by missions undertaken by elements of Delta Force, the US 75th Ranger Regiment, the 10th Mountain Division, and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The game is also filled with real-world vehicles and weapons, but don't let that fool you. Black Hawk Down is mostly a straightforward, simplistic action game with some real-world trappings.
The game's first single-player mission provides a good idea of what you can expect from Black Hawk Down. It lifts ideas from the movie and throws them together in an unrealistic and clumsy fashion. The mission itself resembles a rail shooter, an arcade-style shooting game in which you're forced to move along a predetermined path while shooting any enemies in your way. For whatever reason, developers insisted on using this idea over and over. In the first mission, you take part in a rescue operation for a UN convoy that's come under attack in the countryside. You operate a .50-caliber machine gun on one of a group of humvees that blithely drive right into hordes of enemy foot soldiers and vehicles approaching from all sides instead of slowing to properly engage the enemy, stopping, or taking an alternate route. You have no control over the foolish humvee drivers, but instead simply have to blast each new target that appears.
Once you've finished this shooting-gallery segment--and most of the game seems like a glorified shooting gallery, since Somali gunmen will often stand in neat little rows --you run on foot to a small enemy camp to snipe more bad guys. Then, it's a return to more rail shooter action, as you use a minigun mounted on a Black Hawk helicopter to slaughter more unthinking enemies. All this in the span of 5 or 10 minutes.
Anyone looking for a realistic military simulation will be very disappointed with Black Hawk Down. But if you're looking for a simple, old-fashioned shooter, you may enjoy parts of it, assuming you can put up with some major problems. The single-player mission goals often seem contrived or repetitive, and the campaign as a whole seems disjointed and amateurish. It's poorly balanced too--most missions are far too easy, but a few require endless and endlessly frustrating retries. The missions are also unoriginal. Understandably, they lift ideas from the Black Hawk Down book and film, but without doing them any justice. One mission even attempts, however poorly, to re-create the Omaha Beach landing sequence from Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, of all things.
As in previous Delta Force games, Black Hawk Down's AI is extremely poor. The supposedly "elite" Delta Force and Ranger troops shoot each other, push you into the line of fire, and repeatedly miss targets literally right in front of them. Their aim is so atrocious that they can actually walk right past an enemy in a narrow tunnel and not hit their target. The Somali fighters are just as bad. At point-blank range, these militia soldiers often turn away from you and shoot a nearby wall instead. So, it's basically up to you to play Rambo, running around and shooting all the sitting ducks. In fact, the game even keeps score for you--you can expect to kill more than 1,500 Somalis during the campaign.
- Player Reviews: 94
- Game Universe:
- Delta Force: Black Hawk Down (PC, PS2, XBOX, MAC),
- Delta Force (PC, PS2),
- Delta Force: Black Hawk Down - Team Sabre (PS2, PC),
- Delta Force: Xtreme (PC),
- Delta Force: Urban Warfare (PS),
- Delta Force: Task Force Dagger (PC),
- Delta Force: Land Warrior (PC),
- Delta Force 2 (PC),
- Black Hawk Down: Team Sabre (MOBILE),
- Round Up 5: Super Delta Force (ARC)
- Online Modes:
Competitive, Team Oriented
- Number of Players: