Nothing like another standard FPS to get your blood going. After this review, I'm going to get a decent burger at an average burger joint. Maybe some mediocre onion rings to go with that, and a not-so-bad shake.

Another FPS? Is there any hope for a single player game after The HalfLife?

I love reading about games in development (the Daikatana Saga is a story fit to be a novel). Way before SOF was released, I was quite excited to see someone pumping out on of those gore packed, super detailed, story driven FPS. After Half-Life: Opposing Force, I was really itching like a horny male gamer (heh) to play as John Mullins in his never ending quest to get paid. Money for getting the bad guys! What better reason to do that other than sadistic serial killing? I'm sure they'll make a game about that soon enough. No wait, I have the title:

"Cereal Killer: After Breakfast, You're Next!"

Gonna jot this down and file it under, "Stupid Game Ideas." Cause that's really, really stupid.

Soldier of Fortune installation was groovy, briefing you on the life and experience of John Mullins. However, this game takes up around 675 MB of room on your hard drive, which is not uncommon with some of the newer games. Hope you can spare the Giggage.

I did have quite a frustrting problem though; after I launched SOF, played through a level, the game wouldn't let me save though the menu system; The console would take over the screen and display an error. I quicky discovered F6, which was the quicksave, and started to feel a little better about playing. Hey, with these games, ya gotta have save. SOF is a huge game.

I would recommend more than 128 MB ram (256 would be perfect) and at least a 450 MHz processor. At times, this game slightly crawls on my system with loads of baddies running around. Even with a TNT2, PII 400, 128 MB ram, and SB Live! Platinum, it hardly goes over 50 frames per second with the default settings. I didn't mind tweaking some graphic options to make the game more playable. But I love my eye candy, and it looks like I might want to upgrade soon. Mmm...Gigahertz.

Graphically, Soldier of Fortune is nothing really new. Even with higher res textures and their new Ghoul System thingie, it's noticable that they used the dated Quake 2 Engine. Heh, now I've got nothing against the older stuff; it's what makes the newer stuff NEW! I wasn't disappointed with the graphics at all either, just not flabbergasted or anything. I guess the last time the drool hit the keyboard was when I first fired up Unreal around 3 years ago. Gawkman was right there with me at the time, and he was all, "How the @#$@ did they do that?! The framerate didn't drop in that wide open field! WOW!"

The Ghoul Engine, in my opinion, is something really saucy. Raven did an outstanding job in the implementing such realism in movement and precision. You shoot 'em in the foot, they hop on their other foot whilst grabbing the injured one. Pump a round in their crotch, they drop their weapon and reach for the groin. My personal favorite, being the sadistic type of gaming nerd that I am, is some close range shotgun fun. Make the terrorists pay by severing off arms, legs, and even their head. Ahh, the screams of pain and anguish put an unholy smile on my face.

The music is similar to action movie standards. You know what I'm talking about: Brassy, Orchestrated, Heart Pounding, deep and enthralling. My favorite aspect has to be the action oriented music feature that Raven ingeniously crafted into SOF. For example, let's say you're sneaking around a corner. The music has a quieter, more subtle tone, but it keeps you pressing on. If a bad guy suddenly jumps from behind you or above you, the music changes along with the action. This feature is unfortunatley very rare among gaming. The only other game I've seen this in is Zelda 64, and SOF puts that to shame with it's digital music rather than Zelda's MIDI. But that's just me.

SOF gameplay is good, however tough. Besides the save game glitch I had, sometimes I could get past a certain point and would smack my desk in frustration. I guess the real downfall is that SOF does not keep you IN the game. There isn't a deep plot or an intricate storyline; it just lacks the engineering similar to the mightly Half-Life that spoiled us all. Though SOF is action packed and gory to the extreme, it's missing that extra punch that keeps you playing and sweating to the bitter end. Raven, a little tip for your next project, whatever that may be: Take the creative storytelling from Heretic II and the diversity of SOF (plus some cool puzzles), and you'll have a possible Half-Life killer. That's what we want, and that's what we're waiting for.

Hire me, I can do it. :)


Category Comment Rating
Gameplay I enjoyed violent ways of huring those attacking me. 3.5
Graphics Dated...though, the Ghoul Engine made death kills funnar! 4
Music/Sound Excellent score and sounds. Voice acting was a little shaky... 4.5
Replay Value I'd play it again if I got really bored. 3.5
Originality Extremely normal FPS. 3
Final Verdict: 3.7


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