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Mar 13, 2001

GW Xbox > Xbox Previews > Preview Page


Medal of Honor: Allied Assault




Fall 2000


The acclaimed WWII shooter comes to Xbox, packed with better visuals, fuller sound, and more Nazis per square inch than ever before.

Consoles come and go, genres die, and mascots fade into obscurity. But one thing never changes: The Nazis must be stopped.

Okay, so perhaps the real-life threat has receded, but the epic struggle lives on in the world of videogames.

Xbox will be no stranger to this struggle with the recent announcement of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault for the console. The first-person shooter is based on the much-heralded PlayStation game that effectively married the carnage of Quake with the stealth and strategy of games like Thief and Deus Ex.

The Xbox version is an entirely original title with a slew of missions, realistic gameplay, and graphics to weaken the knees of any battle-hardened marine. The game utilizes the Quake III engine, so the main liability of the PlayStation game--grainy, low-poly graphics--will become a drool-inducing asset on the Xbox.

Dreamworks, the original PlayStation developer, is hard at work on a PS2 version of the game, so a new developer, 2015, has taken the helm for Xbox development. You may remember these guys from their excellent Sin add-on, Wages of Sin. Needless to say, the game appears to be in competent hands.

Though the developer has changed, the finely crafted elements that made the first game so engaging will be retained. In the original, your character knew better than to wage war with legions of heavily armed, highly trained soldiers. Instead, players had to couple conventional gunplay with a more subtle approach, such as by disguising themselves as a Nazi to infiltrate a secure area (think GoldenEye meets Wolfenstein). The same holds true this time around, as resourcefulness should come in handier than gun-slinging bravado.

Players assume the role of Lt. Mike Powell, a member of the 1st ranger battalion and, as fate would have it, the protector of the free world. Powell is recruited by the OSS to accomplish crucial missions in a variety of locales, from the war-torn streets of Germany to the searing deserts of North Africa. Your mission-based objectives run the gamut from storming Omaha Beach to disabling a gun battlement at Port Aznew.

To aid the cause, you'll have an array of historically accurate weapons at your disposal. Among the armaments are flame-throwers, sticky bombs, and tanks, such as the M4 Sherman and the M3 half-track. You'll need them, because the Nazis will have no shortage of firepower with their Tiger Mark I Heavy Tank, Stuka Dive Bombers and V2 rockets.

As with the original game, the enemy will not be anyone's idea of a pushover. In most games, the sensible thing for the enemy to do when someone lobs an explosive in his direction is to blow up in an agreeable fashion. But the enemies in this game will have none of that. If you toss a grenade at them, they'll be liable to throw it right back. Or, if need be, they might smother it to protect fellow soldiers from the blast.

The Nazis are no fans of getting shot, either, and it will show in their actions. Faced with a hail of bullets, they'll duck for cover and hide behind walls. When on the offensive, the soldiers will cover each other as they maneuver into killing position. All-in-all, any one who experienced the PlayStation version can tell you that the crafty enemy AI helped fuel the game's success.

The original MOH also excelled in the areas of sound and music, and Xbox promises to up the ante. The original soundtrack composer and sound designers are back on board to ensure that when a Horowitzer fires, you know it's a huge cannon, and not one of those toys you pop on New Year's Eve. Of course, with the superior sound capabilities of Xbox, everyone within three miles may think someone is detonating warheads in your living room. But if our grandparents made sacrifices to fend off the Nazis, why can't they?

The original title also garnered praise for its faithful attention to detail. Real weapons, real places, and even real artwork were researched to guarantee an authentic experience. Capt. Dale Dye, who helped deliver that authenticity, is back to bring gamers the real deal. Combined with the incredible sound and visuals, this commitment to realism should have you mistaking the virtual experience for the real thing.

No online play has been announced, but the game is certainly amenable to the idea. The PC version of the same game will include online play, so we'll have to keep our fingers crossed. The multiplayer aspect will be well represented, however, with the inclusion of deathmatch, teamplay, and cooperative play. A release date hasn't been given, but we can expect to see it on shelves sooner than later. The PC version is slated for a late 2001 release, and we can only hope the Xbox version will see the light of day shortly thereafter. In the meantime, you can brush up on your German for those inevitable encounters. "Nein, Gudenheisen frauer gibbensteinmer sei herschen." Translation: "No, that is not a gun in my pocket."

Tony Scinta
Hitler's worst nightmare.

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