Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Soldier of Fortune (computer game)
Soldier of Fortune is a first-person shooter game created by Raven Software and published by Activision on March 27, 2000 for personal computers. It uses a modified Quake II engine. It was later released on the Sony PlayStation 2 as well as the Sega Dreamcast. Loki Software also made a port for Linux. Based on its success, Raven Software and Activision later published Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix in 2002. Initially released for personal computers, the sequel was later ported to the Xbox.
Soldier of Fortune
|Soldier of Fortune|
|Release date:||March 27, 2000|
|Game modes:||Single player, multiplayer|
|ESRB rating:||Mature (M)|
|Platform:||Windows, Linux, PS2, Dreamcast|
Soldier of Fortune was developed to be based on the Soldier of Fortune magazine. About midway through the game's development, Raven Software hired a professional mercenary, John Mullins , to act as a consultant on the game for purposes of realism and accuracy. A fictional version of Mullins was eventually made into the game's main character.
A very controversial video game, Soldier of Fortune was best known for its graphic depictions of firearms dismembering the human body. This graphic violence was the game's main gimmick, much like Red Faction's geo-mod or Max Payne's bullet-time. The game detailed realistic, extreme graphic violence, in which character models were based on body parts that could each independently sustain damage (gore zones). There were 26 zones in total, and the makers called this the GHOUL system. A shot to the head with a powerful gun would often make the enemy's head explode, leaving nothing but a bloody stump of a spine remaining, a close-range shot to the stomach with a shotgun would leave an enemy's bowels in a bloody mess with his or her intestines oozing out, and a shot to the nether reigons would leave the victim clutching their groin in agony for a few seconds before keeling over dead. It was possible to shoot off an enemy's limbs (head, arms, legs) leaving nothing left but a bloody torso. Non-violence was also a possibility, if you were a good shot it was possible to shoot an enemy's weapon out of their hand, causing them to cower on the floor in surrender.
In spite of its claims of being a realistic and accurate shooter, Soldier of Fortune's gameplay was fairly arcade-ish and not particularly different from other more fantasy-oriented first-person shooters. Because of this it was criticized for basically being Quake with Iraqis instead of Demons. Weapons have perfect accuracy even when you're moving around, and basic gameplay would often involve running into a room, then strafing around shooting everything that moves. Much like a standard shooter character, the player moved extremely fast and could survive a few dozen bullets before dying. In fact, John Mullins could survive more than 4 direct rocket launcher shots to the head. Additionally, in the last few levels the game would introduce futuristic science fiction weapons, the most notable of which was a Microwave Pulse Gun that basically acted like a continous laser beam. In the final battle, the game's main villain came at you with a railgun-like laser while wearing body armor that allowed him to survive a couple hundred bullets before dying.
Many gamers also complained that the plot was too over-the-top and "Hollywood". The story involved the theft of nuclear weapons, and the main enemy turned out to be an Afrikaner Neo-Fascist group based in Germany.
The story was the basic action movie plot. At the beginning of the game, Terrorists steal 4 nuclear weapons from a storage facility in Russia, and proceed to sell them to 3rd world nations around the world. This is a prelude to the acquisition of advanced Weapons of Mass Destruction by this terrorist group.
John Mullins, working as a Soldier of Fortune for a Mercenary Organization known only has "The Shop", and his partner, Hawk, are assigned to prevent the nukes from falling into the wrong hands, and stop the terrorists in their plans.
The first level featured skinheads who had taken people hostage in a New York City subway system. It also included levels in Iraq (featuring Saddam Hussein), Kosovo, and Sudan.
Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix
|Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix|
|Game modes:||Single player, multiplayer|
|ESRB rating:||Mature (M)|
Soldier of Fortune 2 was developed using the Quake III Arena game engine. Once again, Raven Software hired John Mullins to act as a consultant on the game. Based on comments and criticisms of the original game, Raven Software developed Soldier of Fortune 2 to be a more "realistic" shooter, with games like Counter-Strike and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six as inspirations.
The series' main gimmick, its graphic depiction of human bodily dismemberment, made yet another appearance in Soldier of Fortune 2. GHOUL 2.0, as the new engine was called, featured even more gore zones (a total of 36) allowing for increasingly detailed depictions of gore and carnage. A shot to the head could now blow away a chunk of scalp and expose the dripping brains beneath, and blown-off limbs would reveal jutting bones that spurt blood. At the same time, the gore is a bit less "cartoonish" than in the original game: in the original game, a couple pistol shots could blow away a character's head or limbs, in the sequel damage is more localized (entry wounds and such), and the most full-blown gory effects are generally only seen when you used particularly high-powered weapons such as the shotgun.
Attempting to be a more realistic shooter, the game is more like Counter-Strike and less like Quake. The player character is much less of a tank, and while he can still survive more than a dozen bullets thanks to his body armor, a single explosion can kill him instantly. Additionally, weapon recoil makes automatic weapons become increasingly inaccurate as they are fired, so if you run around firing continously you won't be able to hit anything. Running into the middle of a firefight will usually get you killed, and gameplay involves a lot of ducking behind cover and leaning around corners to take shots.
Unlike the original game, there are no futuristic weapons or sci-fi elements. The most advanced weapon you encounter is the very real O.I.C.W.. Hit damage is also realistic, enemies die after only a couple shots from an assault rifle, and even characters wearing heavy body armor die after several hits. There are no occasions like the original game's final battle where you end up facing a character wearing super body armor that allows him to survive a couple hundred shots to the face.
One highly advertised feature of the game was the Random Mission Generator or RMG, a feature that allowed you to randomly create a terrain map. The RMG also allowed you to select a variety of different map factors, such as mission type (i.e. escape, infiltration, assassination, etc.), time of day, type of terrain (hills, snow, jungle, or desert), etc. In theory, this would allow for an infinite number of map permutations to play in. In practice, the randomly generated maps tended to be more or less the same. Additionally, these maps were fairly empty and undetailed.
In Multi-player, there are five gametypes: team deathmatch, infiltration, capture the flag, deathmatch, and elimination. Elimination most resembles Counter-Strike gameplay, as gameplay takes place in rounds, and players cannot respawn when killed until the end of the round.
The theme of the sequel is germ warfare, as Mullins travels the globe attempting to track down a well-funded para-military organization known as Prometheus before they unleash a deadly bio-weapon.
The game's story presentation is similar to that of games like No One Lives Forever and Elite Force. The story plays a much more prominent role in the game, with many lengthy cutscenes as well as several levels dedicated entirely to walking around talking to characters.
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