January 08, 2008

Oh, Yeah, Airborne

I mentioned awhile back that I purchased the PC game Medal of Honor: Airborne, but because my existing computer at the time was just a pubic hair (in computing terms) shy of being able to run the game, it sat forlorn on my desk, accumulating dust.

Well, now I have my new computer, which is more than capable of running all the latest PC games, at least until next year or so, so I've been playing Airborne pretty regularly for the last eight evenings.

Airborne takes the Medal of Honor WWII first person shooter genre into the skies, at least briefly. As an Airborne soldier with the deliciously American name "Boyd Travers," you're a young buck who is not afraid to leap from an aircraft into the unknown turmoil below.

The richness of detail, combined with the additional component of jumping out of an airplane, looking down at it all, must have been a crazy difficult 3-D animation engine trick to pull off, but the good folks at Electronic Arts accomplished it in fine form, althought they could only manage about five or six missions for the entire game. Which. . .

There was a time when I had the patience for meticulous first person shooters that required me to creep along, ducking behind walls and crates that are curiously impervious to rounds fired from a Tiger tank. But, after two leaps from an airplane and getting fragged within seconds by unseen Nazis, I was out on the Internet, looking for cheat codes. Specifically, I was looking for the "God" cheat, which basically makes you invulnerable. Finding the cheat of my choice, I set about tweaking the game file so I could wipe Nazis out at will without fear of any consequences. There's something deeply wonderful about watching a Tiger tank take a shot at you, and you can watch the shell approach and everything and basically just stand there, like Superman. You'd think that would demoralize the enemy somewhat, but they just keep on coming in waves.

Oh, and the game developers have apparently been working tirelessly on the AI algorithms that dictate enemy movement, because these Nazis have MOVES. They duck, they run, they jump, they dodge; they basically don't stand still for very long. The only thing they don't do, as far as I can tell, is the MC Hammer dance while taunting "Can't Touch This." The best solution to this problem, I've found, since I can't die, is to rush them with a shotgun until you can see the whites of their pixilated eyes, and then pump a round into them. Very effective.

As I said, there aren't many missions--although I'm sure an expansion pack is due out any month now--but if you were to play by the rules, each mission would no doubt take ages to complete; in God mode, you can pretty much mow your way through the missions within 45 minutes, max.

I play it primarily to take in the whole "WOW" experience of the graphics, which are just dripping with detail and realism. As with the last Medal of Honor games, this one could use a little more blood and gore, as twisted as that may sound, but somehow seeing someone getting launched 20 feet after a stick grenade goes off between their legs, and they don't even lose a limb, is just disappointing somehow.

Posted by Ryan at January 8, 2008 12:30 PM | TrackBack
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