You are currently viewing an archival version of GF!

Click here to return to the current GamesFirst! website.

Questions? Suggestions? Comments?
Contact us at:

SOFcover_sized.jpg (15035 bytes)

star06.gif (4104 bytes)star06.gif (4104 bytes)

by Majesco

1-01.jpg (6218 bytes)Recently a legion of first person shooters has made its way onto the PS2. Soldier of Fortune: Gold Edition is one of these games. Being ported from the PC, it brings with it some of the most violent images seen on the PS2. After playing the game I question whether the violent imagery is necessary. If more time was spent on the controls and the gameplay, there should be no need for blatant violence to sell a game. Soldier of Fortune is overshadowed by much superior FPS’s out there -- and not only recent releases, but also games that have been out for a while.

3-01.jpg (6330 bytes)The story mode in Soldier of Fortune places you in the role of John Mullins a Vietnam vet who now puts his talents to use as a hired gun. Mullins has been hired to take out a world wide terrorist organization. To aid him along the way are two allies; the first is Aaron Parsons who will be the source of information as you progress through the missions. The second gentleman is Sam Gladstone-- your supplier for weapons when beginning a new mission.

4-01.jpg (7512 bytes)Twelve various weapons are your comfort while in combat. They range from the practical such as a 12-gauge shotgun and 9mm pistol to the extreme rocket launcher and microwave pulse gun. Adding some additional support is five items that will aid you along the way. Grenades, C4 and night vision are just three of the five that you will acquire. The key to all these weapons is to use them against the appropriate enemy.

5-01.jpg (7888 bytes)Story mode can be played on six levels of difficulty. One setting is customized to your liking. Some of the things that can be adjusted are the number of saves, how though the enemy is and how many weapons you can carry. The story mode consists of 10 missions and up to 26 levels to play. This might seem like a lot, but when actually playing the game it does not take that much time to complete.

7-01.jpg (7948 bytes)The real meat and potatoes of the game is found in the multi-player deathmatches. There are seven modes that can be played with up to three other players. There are some that should be familiar with veterans of first person shooters. Standard mode and Capture the flag are the more familiar ones. There are some that are unique, such as Assassin, where you have to take out a specific person. Another is Arsenal; this mode makes you use only a specified weapon to eliminate the enemies. Each specific mode is also customizable with ten options to be turned off or on. These give you control over health pickups and damage among other things.

9-01.jpg (8570 bytes)Some of the biggest problems that stem from Soldier of Fortune have the controls to blame. I have never played a game that needed so much time devoted to configuring the controls so that they are acceptable for play. From the start, the analogs were so loose I was constantly tweaking sensitivity to be bearable. At times it seemed that they would loosen up again, and they needed more maintenance. At least we have the luxury of customizing the controls to suit our needs. Auto aim has been one of those features that die-hards look down on because it makes it too easy to succeed in playing such a game. Well not in Soldier of Fortune; more often than not the auto aim gives you a false sense of security. Auto aim might seem to line you up for the kill, but you would be surprised to find your shots hitting slightly behind the target or hitting the target but not registering at all.

6-01.jpg (9111 bytes)Soldier of Fortune has excessive load times and not just between levels, but during a level as well. It is not unheard of to be running down a corridor and have it slow down. Not only does the speed of the game have issues, but also the visual qualities of the characters leave something to desire. They are blocky and they look like they’re first generation graphics-- not ones to grace a system that is a year old. The use of graphic violence adds the touch realism that is not usually seen in games. There is a fine line between acceptable visuals that add to a game and blatant attempts at a horror movie. Since each person’s tolerance is different, it is up to the individual to decide.

Soldier of Fortune creates some of the most haunting audio I've heard in a game. The haunting part does not come from music but from the sound effects. Enemies and even civilians will scream in pain if shot in a location that does not kill them instantly. That sound stays with you even after they have passed on. Sometimes it seems more humane to make sure that they go quickly instead of just wounding them. Other sounds are accurately portrayed, such as weapon fire and the sound of bullets hitting solid objects.

Soldier of Fortune: Gold Edition offers many things that other games do not or are not willing to, but at the cost of so much. Sure we have enemies with over 20 reactions depending on what part of the body is attacked, but we loose graphic quality and controls. This game leaves an impression on whoever plays it, but unfortunately that impression is one best forgotten. 

Jake Carder   (01/31/2002)


Ups: Action-packed FPS; lots of weapons; customizable multiplayer.

Downs: Graphics; controls; possibly just too much gore?

Platform: PlayStation 2