Delta Force 2

Soldier sim sequel reviewed

Gameplay Over Graphics

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Observing a hostile base from a safe point

Novalogic caused quite a frenzy when they released the original Delta Force, where you played the old clichéd role of the US soldier whose job it was to infiltrate hostile territory and neutralise enemy activity. Devoted addicts were understandably excited when news of a sequel spread, but is it just more of the same?

Well, there is literally tons of gameplay here. You might think that missions would generally be the same - move, shoot a bad guy, move, shoot a bad guy, reload, move, etc. But you couldn't be further from the truth.

You can choose between two single player campaigns, each with their own story line, and you don't have to complete one to start the other. The story lines are easy to follow and quite interesting, although a little predictable. In some cases when you complete a mission you will be given the option of choosing from two possible missions. If you are stuck in one, then being able to choose the other makes a pleasant change...

In games such as SiN though, what you managed to achieve would aid your efforts later on - less reinforcements if you took out a radio station, for example. This is not the case in DF2 though, and even if you manage to to kill and destroy everything it will not effect your objectives later on.

As well as the campaign game, you can also choose to play one of the many quick missions which are independent from anything else, and just plop you into a defined scenario.

In Command

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A typical briefing screen

Once in a mission you can give your team mates orders to follow using the new commander's screen, which is basically a larger version of the map with the positions of most enemies marked, although it is annoying when a stray foe who was not marked walks right up behind you when you are using this screen.

As your allies are already given their own objectives beforehand though you don't have to spend much time bothering with this, and if like me you aren't a Rainbow Six fan then you will enjoy being able to jump straight into the action.

The map in the bottom right is effectively a smaller version of the commander's screen, and you can zoom it in and out. It's as useful as you would expect a map to be when you are dropped into the middle of unknown territory, and paired with the binoculars it gives you a major advantage.

Moveable waypoints mean you can now go the way you want to, which is useful as sometimes you won't be able to follow waypoints precisely, as booby traps and sniper towers will occasionally force you to divert your route. My only complaint with the map is that it makes some hills seem much steeper than they are, but turning on the contour lines in the commander screen overcomes this, if you have the time.

Your squaddies are also very useful. In some instances they stormed a base and cleared much of it out for me, and at other times they provided much needed covering fire. They lack in the personality department, but in action packed games like this that's the last thing on your mind...

Voxel Astra

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Pouncing when a enemy has his back turned is risky... but fun!

Many people have complained about DF2 using voxels, but by doing this Novalogic have managed to create huge outdoor areas. Rolling hills are visible for miles, blending into the sky on the horizon. There are also snow-coated environments with (you guessed it) falling snow.

Fog is impressive - your enemy slowly emerges from the mist as you kneel in the swamp with your itching trigger finger ready. You fire a single shot, and all hell breaks loose as his companions attempt to track you down. Other missions take place at night, so you must don your night vision goggles in order to see what you are doing. This adds another dimension to the gameplay, as enemies find it harder to see you and vice versa. It works quite well, and you have to rely heavily on your map and binoculars.

Explosions look excellent, and there are so many ways to create one - shooting a can plastered with 'danger' signs, or setting up your laser targeting device which guides artillery. Or perch up on a hillside and luzz grenades into a camp below, hearing the screams and speaker-rumbling booms. Smoke then slowly spirals up into the air where the charge was let off.

Weapon models are very mediocre though. The M4 is the best of the lot, obviously because it will be the weapon of choice, yet much of the other equipment looks poor. Take the sniper rifle for instance, which looks more like a strange walking stick. The knife looks alright, but its animation is simply a slow pull towards the screen.

Sound And Vision

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Checking an enemy boat at a dock for hostiles

The final word on the graphics is the textures on the vehicles, which look so realistic that you just wish you could climb inside and drive around. Disappointingly this is only just a dream. Trucks, boats and such can transport you, but you are never in full control.

In one case you are told that you must take over a train, so you clamber into your friendly helicopter and jump out when you are over the target. I especially liked this mission, as you are dodging shots from snipers on hills while climbing over ladders on carriages in true James Bond style. In another example you are "inserted" by parachuting down to a hill side.

Unfortunately when you destroy, say, a helicopter, it turns from a lovely textured model into a wire frame that looks like it has just been placed on a barbecue, and falls out of the sky like a lead brick.

Sadly the AI is weak in places as well, and sometimes a man a few feet in front of you will shoot wide as if he is totally blind. Mind you, if they were all top notch sharpshooters you wouldn't stand a chance of survival, and in many areas you will be wondering where the hell the soldier that just killed you was hiding. And being able to fire through certain materials (such as leather, windows, and wood) makes stealth work paramount.

The thuds and wisps of bullets as they pass by your head all add to the effect. It also allows you to distinguish where the enemy is shooting from, and they too will instantly react to shots they hear fired, yelling to their comrades. The soldiers will then all kneel or hit the deck, trying to pin point the source of the panic.

The crunching of gravel underfoot and the splashing of water as you dive into a swamp does its job as well, but best of all has to be the extremely clear communication amongst your own team members. Although you cannot communicate with them, they will often give you hints like "there's a patrol just north of your position".

Conclusion

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A comrade risks his life and opens fire, revealing his posistion

As well as the single player game, there are also many forms of mulitplayer - team deathmatch, king of the hill, co-operative, capture the flag - and you are bound to enjoy at least one of these.

I found multiplayer extremely difficult though, and as soon as I stepped outside my own base I was annihilated in a flurry of bullets. But there are a large number of clans out there, so if you fancy yourself as a sniper lurking in a shadowy corner and can prove your worthiness, there is bound to be a place for you.

If you enjoyed the first Delta Force, or if you like Hidden & Dangerous type games and need something new to hold your attention then you will almost certainly like Delta Force 2. If instead you want to test your latest 3d card to its limits and want a fast paced first person shooter, prepare to be disappointed.

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Eye Candy    

Download The Demo

Try before you buy - download the Delta Force 2 demo. This new demo includes one single player mission and four new multiplayer games, highlighting many new features that can be found in the release version of Delta Force 2.

8 / 10

Read the Eurogamer.net review policy Delta Force 2 Squirrel Soldier sim sequel reviewed 2000-02-26T12:21:00+00:00 8 10 Follow Eurogamer.net on Steam to get more PC game recommendations

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