Released in 2003, this shooter from ValuSoft serves up single-player missions that echo contemporary international headlines. In the title role of an elite U.S. Navy SEAL, players will travel first to Iraq, where they must capture a biological weapon before it can be smuggled from the country. Next, it's on to North Korea, to secure and disable a nuclear weapon. The game's final mission puts players in Pakistan, where they must eliminate a group of al Qaeda agents. Luckily, the modern SEAL is equipped with the tools and weaponry needed to get the job done, including a knife and SOCOM pistol, night-vision goggles, global positioning devices, an AK47 assault rifle, a grenade launcher, and more.
Navy SEALs: Weapons of Mass Destruction is actually a sequel to the original Navy SEALs game, which wasn't so hot, either. Oddly enough, this game has nothing to do with actual Navy SEALs. The box says: "This computer software game is not approved, endorsed, or authorized by the United States Government or the Navy SEALs." That disclaimer is hardly surprising because the game makes a mockery of those elite soldiers and of any professional soldiers at all, really. You can bet they're trained to do more than simply run around empty, interchangeable rooms all day, like you do in this game.
One assumes that real SEALs also have to fight actual soldiers, not lobotomized, semi-conscious potheads like you find throughout this game. It would be misleading to talk about the artificial intelligence in this game because there's nothing even remotely intelligent about the enemies here. You can parachute down a dozen yards in front of some "Iraqis" and they won't notice you. You can walk right up to them and then they might notice you and start shooting. That's nothing to worry about since a blind man with an inner ear infection that renders him perpetually dizzy could aim better than these clowns do. The only time you're likely to get shot is when you stumble into a couple enemies in a corridor so tight that there's no way to miss, or one might nail you with a cheap "gotcha" rocket launcher attack.
But never fear: You get teammates! Yes, in case you need someone to hold your hand through this gripping maze of danger, you're accompanied by a computer-controlled buddy -- using the term "controlled" loosely, of course. You can tell him when to hold position or follow you (i.e., constantly block your movement), and when to shoot or hold fire. He's no ordinary supersoldier, though. He can fire off fifty rounds and still miss a target at five yards, which takes years of diligent practice. He can actually do cool magic tricks, too. Sometimes when you tell him to hold position, he'll actually disappear.
Of course, this could just be due to the game's astoundingly bad clipping problems. Watch in amazement as men walk through walls. Gasp in fright as they fall through wood walkways to the sand below. Marvel in astonishment as they crouch, not in the back of a jeep, but right through a jeep. Beware as corpses' arms jut through brick walls, though -- they may try to trip you in a last act of defiance. Either way, the bodies mysteriously vanish soon enough. (We can understand why they'd be in a hurry to leave the game.)
We could tell you about the level design in Navy SEALs: Weapons of Mass Destruction, but since we didn't see anything worthy of the name, the less said the better. Suffice it to say, a bunch of random, repetitive, anonymous rooms strung together and seeded with moronic enemies doesn't equal good level design. You can easily find tons of amateur mods with levels vastly superior to what you see in this game.
The graphics and sound add insult to injury. At best, the presentation barely rises to mediocrity, but it usually flat-out stinks: no music, lame sound effects, audio and graphical glitches, bland and overused textures, blocky weapon models, characters models that don't hold weapons but still stick their arms out as if they did, and more.
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