Violent fun!

User Rating: 8.3 | Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix PC
Let us ask ourselves, why do we play games? Is it for entertainment? For kicks? To escape reality? To vent our anger and not end up jail?

If you want to vent your anger then you should play Soldier of Fortune 2, because it can work wonders that way. You get to show all your anger on the helpless enemies, who don’t stand a semblance of a chance against your Rambo like ability. You can dismember their body parts, send their heads flying across the room, and spill more blood than you would find in a lot of blood banks…combined.

By the time you are done with this game, you will no longer feel the need to attack your classmate/boss/colleague/ with a shotgun and splatter his/her brains on the wall. You can live your like any normal person without any outward trace of homicidal tendencies. Outward traces, mind you.

Now I might have come across as being mocking, but I am not. This game is certainly not normal that way. Let me explain.

This game is a successor to the violent classic Soldier of Fortune. When Soldier of Fortune was released, it was genre defining in some ways, more so because of the realistic violence within in the game. Until then FPS games were about shooting zombies, stroggs or terrorists holding hostages in tall buildings. They all strived to be politically correct. Not Soldier of Fortune. It couldn’t have cared less about politics.

That game was one of the most violent games ever to have been released. Before you go on tell me about 11 other games that are equally violent, let me tell you, I haven’t heard of those, so they are not popular enough. But I did hear about Soldier of Fortune, I played and finished the game. I even killed Saddam Hussein and his posse in the game (I told you the game didn’t care about politics).

In Soldier of Fortune 2, you reprise role of John Mullins. He is a Rambo in disguise. You work for a secret organization called The Shop, which is located somewhere in Texas. You are typically sent on near impossible missions to various parts, to basically save the world. One man against entire terrorist organizations of the world.

The game uses a modified version of Quake 3 engine and Raven’s GHOUL II technology. It’s not cutting edge, even for its time, but the engine had never been modified this way, it actually looks good because of the high polygon count. There seems to be some sort of a problem when the game is played at the highest detail. Everything appears to be like an architectural model, so I had to reduce the detail. The water looked like this during the entire game:

The locales are varied, and you don’t linger in one place for too long, so at least that part it doesn’t get repetitive.

There are a variety of weapons, like knives, M1911A1 semi-automatic, AK-47, the special military OICW, shotgun, Uzi pistols, grenade launcher etc. Pistols and Uzi can be dual wielded, although I didn’t use this feature a whole lot, it’s fun initially.

The sound is top notch, with excellent effects. The weapons sound very realistic and they deliver just as well. The enemies emit a guttural sound when they are shot at, scream in different languages depending upon the location. It’s a good acoustic experience with my Creative speakers and Audigy soundcard. Everything sounds crips and clear. Very nice. But the story didn’t have to be believable, although it tries to be. As I said before, its one man out to save the world from a mad terrorist who unleashes a deadly virus onto the world and tries to make millions by manufacturing the antidote. It really doesn’t matter too much; your job is to kill anyone pointing a gun at you. And that’s where the violence comes in.

The violence is very believable. There are a lot of hit zones on the enemies, so they would react depending on where they are shot at. Apparently there are 16 dismemberment zones and 36 damage zones, and they can be killed in a variety of ways using the same weapon, and they will not have the same reaction.

There is also a violence lock in this game, but I don’t think anyone would have ever used it. I have a feeling it was done to avoid a possible lawsuit. Imagine the consequences if this game were to fall in the hands of a maniac with a shotgun in the closet. This is game is for mature players who can tell the difference between a game and real life.

The enemy AI is pretty good. I played in experienced difficulty mode, or something similar to that, and I found that the enemies are not going down easy. They take cover, throw smoke grenades, and lean from the corner and take shots at you, so you don’t get to walk over them, but they are not the brightest bunch either. They have this kamikaze tendency to rush at you at times, so all you have to do it wait in the corner and pick them off one by one.

The game is pretty long. There are 55 levels in all, set in varied locations like streets of Hong Kong, jungles of Cambodia, onboard a cargo ship and The Shop itself. But it didn’t take me too long to finish the game. It took about 3 weeks of very casual gaming to finish it.

There are some stealth missions in the game, and I use the word stealth very lightly because, they are quite monotonous, where you cannot use your usual weapons. You’ll have to go about your business with knives and a pistol with silencer (provided you included that in your inventory). I felt these levels could have been implemented better. All it takes to raise the alarm is for the enemy to just spot you. No flipping of switches, no speaking into walkie-talkie, everything works on telepathy here.

The strongest point of the game is the action. In those levels where you don’t have to use stealth, you are kept quite busy because there are tons of enemies. By the end of the game, you would have killed almost the entire population of a small city.

Once you are through with the missions, you don’t have to uninstall this game in a hurry, because there is multiplayer as well as a random mission generator. I don’t know much about the multiplayer, I cannot say if people are still playing this game online.

The random mission generator however, is an interesting feature. You can select different types of missions like assassination, infiltration, demolition, escape. You can customize the mission by choosing the difficulty, time of the day, time limit and location. Once you do that, you are off on a single independent mission. This increases the replay value of the game quite a bit.

This is not the most spectacular game you will ever seen, neither is it groundbreaking, but it’s a solid game, that will guarantee some hours of fun.