Return to Castle Wolfenstein

My general summary of Return to Castle Wolfenstein is GREAT! The missions are mixed, you can be doing a normal mission (say destroying a Nazi project or finding Nazi research), but then you find yourself blasting zombies left, right or centre! All that you want in a game! Killing zombies and Nazi’s at the same time… perfect!

Gameplay: The AI is brilliant. Trying to hit a Nazi whilst he is rolling and jumping for the alarm button is difficult. When you get him though you think to yourself ‘Come On!’. When you are blasting your ammo into a zombie with a huge axe and after about 20 rounds in his face he goes down, overwhelming satisfaction takes over, until you get clobbered round the head by one coming from behind! The best things about the game is that you can find yourself shooting zombies and Nazi’s at the same time, whilst the Nazi’s are shooting you and zombies and then the zombies are beating you and the Nazi’s up. Pure Mayhem! The only thing that is annoying is the last two weapons are slightly too futuristic for the game, but still fun!

Graphics: If you’ve got a decent graphics card the scenery is amazing! The detail taken on the people, guns and landscapes is amazing in Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Explosions look perfect. Facial detail is outstanding. You can see the scars on the faces of the Nazi’s who have been fighting zombies!The shredded bodies left behind by the zombies are SICK!

Sound: If you have Surround Sound it makes it all the better!You can listen in on the Nazi’s talking about what’s been happening from behind a wall in Return to Castle Wolfenstein. You can hear the screams of soldiers being ripped to shreds in the dungeons!The sound of stalking zombies from all over is wicked as well. Turn all your lights off and put the bass up on your subwoofer and you can feel them breathing down your neck. AWESOME!

Red Alert 2 Game Review

Red Alert 2: I was a fan of the original Command & Conquer and Red Alert. I loved those games. But what I dislike about their sequels is their lack of consistency with their predecessors. Those sequels being Tiberian Sun and this, Red Alert 2.

I don’t think the developers of the first Red Alert had the idea of a sequel because all the Soviet leaders in the original bonked each other off with only Kane surviving. So, I reckon Red Alert 2 was a bit of a shock and it does not really coincide with the original very well.

Having said that, Red Alert 2 does have some reasonable gameplay though and I suppose is a good game by itself. It is a disappointment though that the developers chose to neglect the original classics, they have even decided not to sell the originals any more which seems a bit strange. Come on, even Wolfenstein 3D is still being sold in some stores!

Gameplay: The gameplay is quite good but there is nothing revolutionary. This time, you can order troops to enter and hold some structures, I think its called garrisoning them. There are also some super weapons like the Allied Weather Machine. There is some consistency with the original because the Iron Curtain and the Chronosphere make a return, but if it’s a welcome return I don’t know.

Graphics: The graphics are passable but they are not dare-I-say-again…revolutionary. Most real-time-strategy made these days enable you to fight on a three dimensional battleground, where you can rotate and zoom the view. Red Alert 2 is just your flat 2D battlefield though. I think the developers were saying that this would be there last 2D RTS. Well, they weren’t very experimental were they? Ever heard the the phrase ‘to go where no man has been before’? I reckon the developers should have thought more along those lines.

Sound: The sound is fine as usual. For those of you who liked the music of the original though, Red Alert 2’s music is a bit different. It’s hard to express, so I’ll just say that I didn’t like Red Alert 2’s music as much as I did the original’s.

No One Lives Forever

No One Lives Forever follows the current “Max-Payne” trend of making short, but sweet PC games. Unfortunately the days of NOLF 1, Half-Life, Thief and Deus-Ex length/quality games are over it seems. If you can wait for the bargain bin, you might get your money’s worth because it’s just too short to justify a new-release price.

Gameplay: The best way to describe No One Lives Forever gameplay is by stating what is missing from NOLF 1… which is a shame, because there’s a lot. Most notably: no plentiful and varied environments, no unique environments (like underwater, outer-space etc), no unique boss encounters (they all go down via gunfire), and no more than a handful of interesting missions (no jumping out of planes here).

The worst part is that they took a chapter out of Halo’s book of level re-use — which is bad enough considering the game is short already. All in all the game just feels too compressed without any of the rollercoaster rides you got in NOLF 1.

The most laudable comment I can make is that the arch-villain is very inspired; as are the rest of the new characters. But considering there’s not many new characters (and re-use of the characters from NOLF 1), it’s not really a glowing comment. I also liked the ending.

Graphics: I had the graphics cranked to max with quincunx AA and they looked nothing short of phenomenal. The shader lighting is superb. Although there’s obviously still some light-mapping going on it’s very smoothly done compared to older engines like Q3 and the original Lithtech engine. The textures and models remain top-notch just like they were in NOLF 1.

Sound: Positional sound problems. I also had to fidget with my nforce2 Soundstorm system to get it to work well with No One Lives Forever. Obviously there are some sound issues because there is a FAQ at the No One Lives Forever official site. The music was pretty darn good, but I like that 60s retro rock/jazz fusion. Sound effects were ok.

The conversations are still a big part of the game’s entertainment.