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Medal of Honor

Developer: Dreamworks Interactive | Publisher: Electronic Arts
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 10/31/99 | Genre: FPS

Everybody knows Steven Spielberg as a directorial demigod, but he looks to expand the breadth of his dominance to the gaming world with Medal of Honor, from his developing company, Dreamworks. Be it game or film, anything in the vicinity of Spielberg's name has the potential for becoming a masterpiece.

Medal of Honor is Spielberg's latest foray into the horrifying yet captivating setting of Nazi Germany during World War II. You play the role of an OSS agent with superlative martial and cognitive skills, commissioned to perform a series of difficult 쯤d jobso thwart the nefarious Nazi regime. The missions you carry out differentiate as widely in operation as they do in difficulty while the fact that they are altogether enjoyable remains static. On several occasions you get to don traditional Nazi garb in order to infiltrate their bases using stealth, subterfuge, and a vocabulary so limited you couldn't fool a German shepherd. But miraculously, you manage to effectively inveigle your way through these areas due to typical Nazi ignorance. Other stages will find you fighting off hordes of the boys in brown with a historically accurate arsenal of sniper rifles, pistols, a variety of grenades, machine guns, even a bazooka (for those ?ber-Germans). Think of it as a marriage between Doom and Wolfenstein with Schindler's List as the Pastor. Now that you have that disturbing image in your head, I will move on to something completely different.

Holistically, the game looks and feels like your garden variety FPS (First Person Shooter), but Medal of Honor's mature motif and sophisticated style allows it to shine through as a distinctly different work. It is not unusual for the enemy AI to pick up and return your ripe grenades and there were more than a few times where I was pinned behind a crate by enemy fire. To add a little spice to your skirmish soufflȬ the game records the location and frequency of where you hit the enemy. If you are feeling maliciously persnickety you can go through a stage making sure every Nazi you encounter is unable to have children. And in case you were wondering, shrieks of agony sound the same in all languages.

The game has an insipid, war-torn palette with variegated hues of brown and green predominantly, but the objects are sharp and detailed, which simultaneously mitigates embarrassment and ammo consumption, as you won't sit there for 10 minutes expending all of your shells into a hedgerow. Medal of Honor again appeals to war buffs by being histrionically historic. There are frequent intermissions where you are briefed on the condition of the war and what's becoming technologically adventitious; all while you are scooping hallmark landmarks toting authentic garb and gear. Dreamworks did their homework when making this title and the results are worthy enough to be stuck onto any willing refrigerator door.

The graphics and gameplay are then accentuated by the sound, the linchpin of Medal of Honor and quite possibly the best utilization of the Playstation's aural capabilities to date. Sure, you have heard dogs bark and bombs explode in games before, but it is really a treat to break a sweat in trepidation before advancing upon a maniacal mutt's crescendoing ululation and to suddenly jar in your seat as the wall adjacent to you is brutally destroyed by rocket shrapnel. Suspension of disbelief becomes a common occurrence as you traipse through the games varied sceneries immersed in the tumult that was World War II through stunning audiovisual re-creation.

Medal of Honor is probably the best example of the FPS genre on the Playstation, and I can recommend it to just about anyone who enjoys a quality game. With a competent versus mode, a dynamic interface, and enough secrets to keep Benedict Arnold busy for a year, anybody who doesn't get this game is most likely DOOMed.

By Ira Humphrey - 08/01/01
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Screenshots for Medal of Honor

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