Medal of Honor: Allied Assault--new screens and details

Electronic Arts shows off its forthcoming Quake III-powered WWII shooter. Brand-new screens and gameplay details inside.

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Inspired by the Medal of Honor first-person shooters for the PlayStation, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault is a World War II-themed shooter that's being developed for the PC and, as of today's announcement, the Microsoft Xbox console. The game casts players as multitalented military operatives tasked with a number of extremely important assignments behind enemy lines in a number of German-occupied countries, including North Africa, Norway, and France. Though the game is a pure shooter at its core, it'll definitely let players take on large groups of enemy soldiers. The developers of Allied Assault intend to maintain and preserve at least a superficial level of real-world authenticity.

Today, Electronic Arts showed an updated version of the game's Quake III-powered 3D engine, which renders the scenery in Allied Assault with a strikingly authentic level of visual detail. For example, a tree standing next to a Victorian home casts a realistic shadow onto the side of the building--players will be able to clearly make out the leaves and branches in the shadow. Various lighting conditions, from hazy, sunny mornings to moonlit evenings, are immediately recognizable and very believable. Also, though the character models that were shown weren't animated, players will be able to clearly see their unique uniforms and facial features. Vehicle models, including motorcycles and half-tracks, were similarly well done. Players will be able to commandeer or at least shoot from such vehicles, including a tank. The game's environments seem quite expansive, especially as compared with other Quake III-powered games, which tend to have fairly cramped levels. The levels were loading fairly quickly too. The designers pointed out that the Quake III engine has undergone significant modification for use with Allied Assault, though none of the enhancements from id Software's Quake III: Team Arena expansion pack were incorporated.

We didn't have a chance to hear the game, but reportedly, the sound effects and musical score are getting a lot of attention. The sound designers for the game, who recently worked on EA's atmospheric, horror-themed shooter Clive Barker's Undying, are making every effort to put the same level of quality into the game's audio presentation, as can already be seen in its graphics.

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault is on schedule to ship in October and will feature a full, story-driven single-player campaign as well as deathmatch and capture-the-flag multiplayer modes. The Xbox version will have an exclusive mission; the developers haven't committed to making the multiplayer modes in the two versions of the game compatible but are instead focusing on optimizing the game for each platform. Electronic Arts plans to show the game in full force at this coming E3 convention in May, during which Allied Assault's ambitious Normandy invasion mission--inspired by the opening sequence of the film Saving Private Ryan--will be shown behind closed doors. Stay tuned for additional information about this promising first-person shooter. For much more information, have a look at our full preview of the game.

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