SCI
Gotham Games
Third Person Action/Adventure
1-4
09.30.02

Conflict: Desert Storm


In 1991, there was a conflict with Iraq, and in this game you will battle Saddam's Army throughout the sands of it. All through Conflict: Desert Storm you'll find that it's based on actual events of the Gulf War, complete with real dates. It offers a very nice history lesson as you play the game, as well as very impressive gameplay.

Gameplay

You start off with two options, training, or campaign. Training is divided up into 3 parts: Basic Training, Advanced Weapons Training, and Squad Training. Training will help you a great deal when starting the campaign mode. When starting campaign mode, you can select varying levels of difficulty, from easy to hard. I found the game quite difficult of the medium level. After choosing a difficulty, you choose which of the two teams you'd like to play as, the US Delta Force, or the British SAS.

While in training, your drill instructor will go over all the basic controls that you need to know. Training goes over the entire button format and the basics of gameplay, and let's you practice driving vehicles. Even during training, the game keeps you immersed as planes fly overhead and the stench of war taints the air.

You start the campaign on August 2nd, 1990 (the day Iraq invaded Kuwait), and you can see the sun coming up in the early morning. As you progress in the level, you can see that the sun will rise and you will be in broad daylight. It's the little details in this game that get me; swaying bushes in the wind, birds flying in the sky, planes flying by, which are just some of the details that are to be witnessed. After you finish the first "Rescue" mission, the real action starts. Every mission succeeding gives you a set of objectives that you need to accomplish, taking out SCUD launchers, tanks, or neutralizing an area are basic ideas of the tasks you'll face.

The AI is super-intelligent. Just when you thought you could run in a room or building to hide from gun fire, you will see that the enemies actually re-group and set up outside your area and ambush you! These enemies never stay in one place. You've got to be careful and take things slow, as you would have to when in combat like this. The combat is intense.

Controlling the actions of other teammates is pretty simple. Giving basic orders requires you to hold down L and then press one of the four face buttons that correspond to a command. Commands are practical, from your "follow me," "hold your position," and the like. The other 3 members in your squad are useful when things get hectic, yelling out things like "Infantry Ahead", or "Armor Ahead". The game makes you feel like you are on a team for those reasons, and for the fact that they will kill enemies followed by a "Target Down". You can also call air strikes with a laser detonator, and moments later you'll see a plane fly over and drop bombs on the target.

A few missions in, you will learn to position each squad member in a certain area to take out enemy forces. I simply had a blast when setting up where to locate each team member. Some weapons you cannot run with, while others you can. As you play you will be stunned by how the moon will begin to rise as night hits the desert, seeing a team member's breath is in the cold air. Your going to learn that you will have to use all of the men on your team for the missions. Some are good for sniping, while others are good for close range combat. When in the middle of a battle, some guys need your help, whether it be for health or ammo, you will have to run back to help keep them alive. Switching between men is very easy, and it should be in a game like this.

A neat feature found in Conflict Desert Storm is player progression. As if this were an NFL game in pre-season, players get better as they get more experience. For example, the more kills a player has, that player becomes healthier, more accurate, and reacts more quickly to enemy fire. Your teammates actually help you in this game.

Graphics

Let's talk graphics for a second. Take this-- in campaign mode, you start off in the early morning, as the level progresses, you will find yourself in broad daylight. The amount of level detail in Conflict: Desert Storm should definitely not be overlooked. As you go around a mountain, the sun will start to come out and shine, right in your eyes. The lighting effects, and shadowing are so authentic that when you are in the middle of a sand storm, it can be very hard to see a tank that is firing deadly rockets at you. Tanks, trucks, and buildings are all very well done in great detail.

The things that bothered me is the fog in multiplayer. It's not that bad, but you can notice it much more then in single player mode. But a game like this might want to use those fog effects due to the fact that you are in the sandy desert, so I'm not going to be too hard about giving the graphics a decent score.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer is co-op (which is a good thing) and allows up to 4 players at once. In 2-player mode, each player gets to control 2 team members. So, you could in fact split up into two groups, and then meet up later. If you lose a team member while playing in the multiplayer mode, a new guy will replace him in the next mission. I'm sure this is the same for single player mode. The only bad thing about losing a man is that you have to start over if you want to get his experience up.

Sound

The sound in Conflict: Desert Storm is right on the money. Not only is the original game music good, but there is an option to use any tracks you want from your Xbox's hard drive. The sounds of gunfire are different for each gun. Every player usually carries a different gun. There are machine guns mounted in little forts, and they sound pretty heavy duty. Explosions are all here with some nice sound effects when a soldier gets blown away.

Bottom Line:

Did you ever play a game that you know is good, and you didn't want the goodness to end? This is one of those games. True-life mission's that actually happened in the 1990's during the war make this game one of a kind. You're not going to find many action war games like this. If you are in any way a fan of military or squad based games, this is a must buy. You're not going to want to put this one down. Conflict: Desert Storm is a game that sucks you in and there's no way to get out of it. Watch out for the nasty sandstorms!

-Steve Melanson




8.2
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