Remember the 2002 budget game Shadow Force: Razor Unit? Probably not. As forgettable as budget PC games get, Shadow Force was a shabby, uninteresting first-person shooter that put you in the soldier role as a member of the Air Force Special Operations Unit. The levels were ugly, the AI was a mess, and the game was simply not worth the time or effort it took to play. Nearly two years after Shadow Force, Activision Value released a "new" game called Delta Ops: Army Special Forces. And by "new," we mean "Shadow Force with a new name."
The only indicator that an otherwise-unsuspecting customer would get that this is actually a 2002 release is found on the back of the box, where the package admits, in fine print, that Delta Ops was "previously released as Shadow Force." However, if you look a little deeper, you'll see a few other signs that this game isn't a recent development. For instance, the game tries to install DirectX 8.1 as part of its install process, even if you already have a later version installed.
After an entirely needless training session, the game drops you into the desert for 10 levels of bad enemy AI, ugly graphics, and, above all, very boring gameplay. While the game gives you objectives to complete, none of them are interesting enough to cut through the game's problems. Even when you compare it to the fairly low standards of most budget games, Delta Ops comes up short. The weapons are bland, the controls for picking up or manipulating items are clunky, and there really just isn't enough to do.
Interestingly enough, some changes have been made to the game, but they don't really improve matters very much. Finding multiplayer games--if there were any--in Shadow Force was nearly impossible, since the game didn't have an in-game server browser, and it didn't offer support for third-party browser tools. Delta Ops has a server browser and a lobby option, which is nice because it takes the guesswork out of the process and lets you know right off the bat that there aren't any multiplayer servers running. In the strange event that you were to actually find a server running, or if you wanted to mess around with the game's dodgy, well-hidden bot support, you'd be able to play deathmatch, team deathmatch, or capture the flag in 16-player matches.
Graphically, Delta Ops wasn't a looker when it was released in 2002. So, as you can imagine, it certainly doesn't look any better today. The movement feels jerky, the textures are a total mess, and the environments are completely bland. In addition to that, on some machines, the game runs at a stuttery, unplayable pace. This isn't a system requirements issue, since the systems we tested it on outpace the game's measly Pentium II requirements by a long shot, but it affects everything--from the gameplay to the video intro to the menu screens.
The game's sound certainly doesn't save it either. Delta Ops has some voice work that pops up throughout the missions--usually to point you in the right direction--but it sounds incredibly unprofessional, both in content and in recording. It's almost as if the developer just had the programmers step up to a broken stick microphone so that they could record some random dialogue.
There's really no need for this game to exist. For Activision Value to have essentially repackaged a bad old game as a bad new game is an obvious and despicable attempt to cash in on the recent military operations going on in the Middle East. Despite this, Delta Ops: Army Special Forces is an awful game that isn't worth your time or money. Avoid it at all costs.