Name: Delta Force Land Warrior
Developer: Novalogic
Price: £29.99
Min System Spec: PII400 Celeron 64mb Ram 3-D Card
Recommended System Spec: PII400 128Ram 16mb 3-D card
Official Web Site http://www.novalogic.com/games/DF3/
Reviewed By: Fugue

 

When the first in the Delta Force series came out in late 1998 it quickly became a success, there followed the inevitable sequel, Delta Force 2 which still enjoys a huge following particularly with the online community. Now Novalogic have just released the third instalment in the UK, Delta Force: land Warrior, which unlike its predecessors has dropped the rather scruffy old Voxel graphics in favour of a brand new 3D engine.

It is this that is most apparent when you load the game, that said the graphics are hardly jaw dropping but it is a real improvement on the previous games. It runs smoothly at higher resolutions and the locations are nicely detailed and quite varied. The character and weapon models
still retain the same blocky appearance which considering this is part 3 is slightly disappointing.

The terrain looks much smoother and weather effects have been
improved, wandering through a swamp in fog and rain creates a very
tense atmosphere. Some nice effects have been added such as a shot hitting the water will create a small waterspout and ripples, shooting through trees will result in falling leaves. The same tracer effects along
with ejecting cartridges from weapons are present along with the familiar radar and map screens.

The gameplay basically remains the same, you play the part of a special forces soldier taking out terrorists in a variety of locations ranging from oil rigs to snow covered mountains. Instead of landing straight on your feet
the action often begins with transport by boat, Blackhawk helicopter or parachute drops, 17 quick missions are included along with a story driven campaign mode.

Game Characters

This time there are five characters to choose from, each has their own special abilities which effect how your character moves and shoots as
well as the amount of hits taken before you die. It is possible to complete missions with any of them but as you progress their abilities become
more apparent.

"Longbow" is the sniper expert, choose him over another character and your view through the riflescope is steadier. Sniping has been modelled to near perfection in Land Warrior, not only is ability specific to a character your shooting position also effects your aim. Shoot standing up and your aim wobbles, kneel down and the wobble is reduced, lie down and its steadier still. You also have to take wind direction and distance into account when taking long shots. There are three rifles to choose from, the Barrett .50 cal and M40 Remington from the previous games and a new silenced PSG1.

"Snakebite" is the stealth/covert ops character, special abilities allow you to move quietly and make silenced weapons more effective, light and fast with an extended reach using the knife.

"Mako" is the underwater demolition specialist so is the fastest and most manoeuvrable swimmer, can also hold her breath for longer.
(In multiplayer games also acts as a medic, can restore health if team-mate is reached within a time limit)

"Gas can" is the all rounder, proficient at most tasks and the best bet
when running head long into enemy territory, accurate with most weapons.

"Pit Bull" is the heavy weapons character, more accurate with the SAW and FN-MAG but increased firepower leads to a slower running but has more armour so can take more hits.

Weapons

Most weapons are similar to Delta Force 2, with some notable additions;
a new anti tank rocket (AT-4), more side arms (Socom and Glock 18)
and several new machine guns such as Steyr Aug; H&K G11; AK47 and OCIW Land Warrior to name but a few. Most weapons in the game have firing modes for Auto, Semi and Burst; all have distinctive sounds, which
in general are far better than the DF1 and 2. Many of the light machine guns have a fully adjustable scope easily toggled with the right mouse button. You have the option of dropping your primary weapon in Land Warrior and picking up any that happen to be lying around next to dead guards, very handy when you find yourself low on ammo.

Enemy AI

The enemy AI is in general pretty bad, even on the hard setting the game
is not particularly challenging. Come face to face with a guard pointing a loaded Jackhammer shotgun at you and nine times out of ten you will get the drop on him. Most missions are however action packed and crawling with enemies, in open country and hiding in buildings so there are enough of them to make life difficult. You also have to contend with paratroop
drops and vehicles loaded with bad guys arriving in areas you thought were clear. Team mates as in the previous two games are prone to dying quickly, in most missions you will be returning to the extraction point by yourself so it is just as well they can be carried over in campaign missions regardless of their fate.

Multiplayer

The Delta Force series has built its success on its multiplay features and Land Warrior is no exception. According to the manual anything up to 50 players can wage war on each although 32 is the standard in most games. All the standard team games are included (Co-op, Capture the flag, king
of the hill, etc) and you have the choice of playing on LAN(IPX) or Novaworld where stats are recorded so you gain promotion and medals,
or on public servers. The latter are where the hardest games can be
found, staying alive long enough to work out what is going on is not easy
so for newcomers to DF I would recommend Novaworld.

During busy periods it can be difficult to log on to Novaworld, to help a fan has released a utility called "IP4LW" which is a clever little application that allows you to connect to Land Warrior games using IP addresses rather than NovaWorld. This feature is especially useful for squad games when the servers can become extremely busy preventing all participants from joining the game. (I have not tested this on the UK version but it is supposed to be compatible).

Editors

Another very good feature is the mission editor, complete with a reasonably detailed manual on the CD it is fairly easy to create you own maps placing everything from chairs in buildings to trees. You have complete control over virtually every aspect of the game, even deciding whether people you place on the maps are afraid of water and will only go in so far (I'm not kidding!) With such a huge fan base there are already plenty of multi and single player maps available to download (one site alone had 160). In many ways some of these maps are far better than those included with the game, (shame on Novalogic) with time and patience it is possible to create some excellent missions. There are also some mods in the pipeline including a WW2 version of the game (at the time of writing this appears to have been put on hold). Land Warrior is a fairly good game let down by appalling AI; it has plenty of replay value thanks to the editor and is a fast paced multiplayer game. The lack of command over team-mates is frustrating and is something that all the games are missing (You are limited to a few commands made on the commander's screen). There are already rumours of a fourth game, and it is understandable Novalogic have stuck to a tried and tested formula, however with current hardware pushing graphics to the limit the series is starting to look dated.

Conclusion

Its fast paced and action packed but seriously flawed, on a plus side Delta Force fans who in the past have had to put up with bad frame rates on low resolutions will no doubt be pleased to see a more polished look.


FAN SITES

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Reviewed on
Windows 98
PentiumIII 450
128mb Ram
Voodoo3 3000 AGP DirectX 8.0

How it Performed
Ran smoothly with no slowdown at the maximum resolution of 1024 x 768 with all the audio/video options set on high. No crashes but a few minor graphics glitches with the odd vanishing building.

Score
5/10

Reviewers Comment
Land Warrior is really one for die-hard fans of the first two games only; compared to H&D and Project IGI it looks dated and the AI is probably the worst I've encountered in a FPS. On a plus side multiplayer is a blast and the mission editor is excellent for those with the patience to wade through the huge range of options and settings. Hard to score, so much I liked but just too many gameplay faults to recommend as a must buy.

 

 

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