Medal of Honor: Allied Assault Review

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Graphics: 8.0
Sound : 9.0
Gameplay : 8.0
Multiplayer : 7.0
Overall : 8.0
Review by Andreas Misund Berntsen
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, or as it’s commonly referred to - MOHAA is a first person shooter taking place in the second world war. You’re probably aware of the game Return To Castle Wolfenstein, which also took place during the Second World War, but there are some fundamental differenced between these two games. Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a game where you don’t just hunt down pesky nazi troopers, but also more “alternative” enemies, like monsters etc. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, which originally came from the Playstation completely sticks to the thing, people. You’re in the role of a real tough-guy, being exceptionally well trained in all kinds of imaginable combat, so therefore you’re sent in to deal with various missions, each with their own sub-missions which can be to sabotage tanks to crate a diversion for something else to happen, or to escort a pilot to one of your hideouts, and my favorite: the Normandy invasion. After I installed the game I made sure I was alone in the entire house, connected the pc to my surround receiver, which then goes to my fairly big speakers. When starting the first mission you’re put inside a regular army truck together with a squad of your fellow solders. You watch the lieutenant brief you and your mates on the details. The truck enters the outer portion of a nazi. In the truck behind the one you’re in the driver negotiates with a nazi guard. The nazi guard makes the bad decision of getting pissed off, resulting in him setting loose a bunch of crazed American solders who aren’t particularly fond of him or the entire group of solders in the building which you set off to eradicate. The hunt is on.

The tempo is very high, your team works great together, until the ambush. It sounds like a crossfire hurricane as the speakers pump out sound that makes the CD cover move around my table. That was when I knew; this was going to be fun.

During the game you’re as I previously stated sent out to do various missions. I must say that you don’t really establish a relationship with the main character or his leaders, like in Return To Castle Wolfenstein, since there are no fancy movies in between missions, which for me was like a reward for completing a mission. A lot of the missions however are like a reward of their own, while some of them seem a lot like something you’ve seen before some are really outstanding and really do keep you excited. However, it annoyed me that you will indeed use quick save / load A LOT, which can make the game frustrating. Imagine the luck involved in moving from one of the boats in Normandy to the beach where you can take cover, WITHOUT having the ability to save. You might be thinking of Saving Private Ryan now (if you’ve seen the movie), because I sure am.

The Graphics:

Being powered by the Quake 3 engine is never a bad thing. Once again John Carmack shows that his brilliant engine can pull off some great stuff, but a lot of the credit of course needs to go to the developers of the actual game. The levels are regularly fairly complex; they look like something I feel would be realistic in terms of for instance guard and machine gun placement. Well made textures on buildings, real looking soldiers and some nifty new effects; volumetric clouds for instance is something that’s fairly new but which is deserves attention. It was given credit in IL-2 Sturmovik, and does also look good in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. In one level you set out to sabotage some military equipment that happens to fire missiles (luckily at a fixed maximum length). When one of the missiles smashes into the ground and makes a decent boom it also makes a great looking cloud! How incredibly insignificant you might think, but clouds are actually something that has been hard to make good ones of, so this is definitely a step against the ultimate goal - to create a fictional world as visually close to the actual reality as possible.
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault doesn’t have the weapons effects (like the beloved flamethrower) of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, but the character animation looks more real, which is especially a plus in levels where you get to interact with your team members.

Since this is a game that resembles Saving Private Ryan there’s one thing I really did expect to see loads of, old-fashioned blood and gore. However, to be able to sell this game to younger customers they needed to loose something that’s almost default in any first person shooter these days, being the red goo. I do feel that only a small to a moderate amount of blood would make the adrenaline rush of playing the game even better. Using the riot-shotgun on a nasty ol’ nazi can be a great way of getting out your aggression, especially if it really looks like you’re giving him a world of pain. A solution to the problem could have been to have an option as to whether or not blood / gibs should be included, and perhaps having a password lock on that specific option.

The sounds / music:

The evening when I began playing the game a friend of mine said: (in Norwegian) “this is actually some really cool sound effects!” Actually, I can’t agree more. Even though some of the levels look a lot like something you’ve plowed through earlier there are some of the remaining levels that are really unique, not just in terms of design, mission objectives etc, but also very well made sound effects. Mainly there’s the sounds of the weapons, which is above average, the voices of friends and foes, which is just as good as any other similar game, and finally miscellaneous sound effects like walking / running, trees, doors, alarms etc. The effects are better than any other first person shooter of this kind that I can think of, and can in some ways be used as a reference. The music on the other hand is also good. Not great because there isn’t really a lot of variety in it, often with kind of silent music during sneaking around with your silenced pistol, and the same kind of silent music when you whip out the shotgun and start filling nazis full of led. I say they should’ve added more music of as good quality as what’s already there, and let it change dynamically according to the situation you’re in.

The gameplay:

Like in pretty much any other first person shooter you move the regular way, meaning by default using W, A, S and D, the number keys for the weapons along with ctrl for crouching. I was hoping that I would be able to strafe-jump (a technique most commonly used in Quake 3 to move faster by holding either of the strafe keys and pressing the jump button in certain intervals) in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, but since the tempo is by far not the same and that it’s designed for you to sneak around while removing “obstacles” and not to bounce around at light-speed spamming with the plasmagun (reference to Quake 3 again). All in all the gameplay works generally very well for this kind of a first person shooter, even though there does not exist a sniper on this planet that can hold a rifle as firmly and without shaking it a millimeter as Mr. Good Guy.

Multiplayer:

Let’s see, there are four fairly self-explanatory modes to play: Free for all, Team match, Round based match and Objective based match. There’s a total of 7 difference maps to play on. They’re all of well variation; they mostly look great and have interesting points you need to control to get the advantage in a game. However, even though this is okay and all there’s nothing “more” than that, no “cream on the cake”. I would’ve liked to see bot support, some innovative modes that aren’t in other games and some cool class (allies versus axis you know) specific weapons, something as equivalently cool as Return To Castle Wolfenstein’s flamethrower.

Conclusion:

Another month, another first person shooter it seems. Luckily Medal of Honor: Allied Assault is a very solid game with some very good features. It has pretty good graphics, excellent sound effects and plays well. The game is more historically accurate and is probably a more interesting pastime than Return To Castle Wolfenstein if you find monsters and blood not as cool as “the real thing”.

Score: 8 of 10.