2000 Reviews

Soldier of Fortune Demo

  • Review Date: 2000-02
  • Release Date: 2000-02
  • Developer: Raven Games
  • Rating: 9.0

Soldier of Fortune was not really a game I have been eagerly awaiting as much as others such as Daikatana. I had seen screenshots of it, and the level design didn't look very spectacular. Good, but not great. Nevertheless, I decided to download the demo to see what it was like, and after about a week of trying to get the nearly 100mb file I was finally able to check it out.

As soon as the game started I was impressed. There was a short cinematic sequence - nothing spectacular, just enough to set the story. It reminded me of Kingpin, except it was far superior! Then the game started and I was quite surprised about how it looked. It wasn't all that bad at all.

The first level of the demo you play inside a subway - not the most original idea, but good nonetheless. And even better when you actually start wandering around the lonely and misty subway tracks. At the end of the level there is a big fight on the tracks with you surrounded by enemies which you can hardly even see due to the fog. It may sound very frustrating, but I made quick work of it and it was a very fun end to the level.

The second level took place on a train! I was instantly reminded of a recent train assault mission from Unreal Tournament. I like the SOF one better as there is also a nasty helicopter to watch out for as it tries to blast you away.

Both levels have objectives, which is nice to see after Half-Life lacked them. The first level you need to find a gang leader... which of course escapes near the end. The other is a James Bond type mission - some nukes have been stolen and you have to get on the terrorist train and destroy them before the enemies can use them against you. Obviously the whole game is going to be full of missions like this, which could make it very interesting for the custom map scene as mappers think up unique missions, and hopefully not your usual Quake2 'shut the place down and get out!'.

The enemies, while not all that unique, were fun too kill. But obviously this game is supposed to be realistic, so all your enemies are humans (at least in the demo). However, there are some other things Raven have done with gameplay to set it apart from other FPS' and keep it successful. There are a number of difficulty settings, one of which is custom! You can set how many saves per level you are allowed, spawning of ammunition (I assume) and enemy toughness.

I played on medium and found that it was in fact medium! Unlike many games recently which have been too hard such as the Wheel of Time, it is good to see that Raven have not screwed up the difficulty like many companies do.

You can kill your enemies many different ways. A shot to the waist or legs often won't kill them. But a clean headshot will drop them to the ground. And a headshot with the shotgun at extremely close range was awesome! You could see as the body dropped that there was either no head left of part of it had been blown off. But don't worry, there are settings to turn the gore down if heads being blown apart upset you.

Overall I really enjoyed the Soldier of Fortune demo and can't wait for the full game now. Maybe the design isn't as spectacular as in games like Unreal and Wheel of Time, but it looked good enough and the gameplay was great so it may just be a winner!

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