Retrospective: Soldner: Secret Wars • Page 2

You say bugs. I say gaming jazz.

But instead they let out a billow of smoke, and a cacophonous boom as if a Jumbo Jet filled with petrol flew into a TNT factory. We've all heard it, but what other game has thought to include it? Exactly.

A lot of games will fall into the trap of stereotyping a country. Oh, you've got a level set in China have you? Well, everything had better be temples then, hadn't it?

Not Soldner. It eschews such lazy (let's call it what it is) racism, and instead has every single country look exactly the same. A Chinese building - that's the same as a US building, of course.

And why should I be able to fire a gun that's on my hip? It's clearly there for decoration, and it's idiotic to go into a fight expecting it would work, and instead having to resort to hoping the AI would take care of itself. Which it inevitably does, because it's kind like that.

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Get me this architect on the phone! I wants me a house.

One mission asked me to rescue a hostage. That can be a lot of hard work in most games, inevitably forcing you to suffer having to protect them from the enemy units. Not Soldner. The rival soldiers spotted my arrival from afar, and immediately set their base on fire. Thank you, kindly rival soldiers.

Perhaps a favourite feature is the ability to intersplice objects on a molecular level. At the start of a task I requested myself a tank and a Jeep. The tank spawned itself inside the Jeep, the two items fighting to occupy the same space in the universe, causing both the violently explode. Other games would never have thought of that.

And in my opinion tanks should be able to spin on the spot as if made of polystyrene, and of course they should get stuck up trees. I'll fight anyone who says otherwise.

But without question, the absolute greatest thing about Soldner, and undoubtedly the reason not to update with any of the patches, is the voice that utters "Soldner" at every loading point. He doesn't shout it enthusiastically. He doesn't growl it menacingly. He doesn't whisper it suggestively. He just says it.

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That sure looks a painful way to carry a rocket launcher.

He's not bored. He's not rude. Instead he says it in the most "a man just saying something" voice that any human has ever uttered. It is the very middle of the very middle of the very middle of all of speech, collectively over the millennia, and was recorded for eternal history in this, the most unique of games. (But patching it causes him to say it far less often, which is ungood.)

Updates have pretty much been abandoned for the game now, having been bumped about between various groups, including all sorts of strops and walkings out due to various contentious reasons. That's to be expected when dealing with a game as important as Soldner.

There are few games that have provided me with as much entertainment as Soldner. While Boiling Point's bugs were impressive, Soldner manages similar brokenness, but importantly in a game that doesn't warrant persistence.

It's a terrible game whose redeeming features are its bugs - it's performance art, improvised comedy, terrible coding. It will always hold a place in my heart and a space on my hard drive.

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