In Delta Force, players combat terrorism around the globe. Created in Oct '77 at Fort Bragg as an immediate response resource to world terrorist groups, the team consists of elite troops from the 82nd Airborne, Special Forces Green Berets and U.S. Army Rangers. Rite of membership encompasses intense training in Close Quarters Battle, specialized reconnaissance, hostage rescue, and counter-terrorism techniques.
In the game, players join a team so secretive that the U.S. Department of Defense does not confirm its existence. From both first and third-person perspectives, players participate in over 40 single player or cooperative missions covering a wide range of actions in many of the world's dangerous flash points. Whether in Asia, Africa or Russia, among others, intense action is guaranteed with access to a deadly arsenal consisting of five primary and four secondary weapons, side arms, heavy equipment, and accessories.
Multiplayer action accommodates up to 30 players with four modes: Cooperative, Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and King of the Hill. As in single player action, a wide variety of options, ranging from time limits to use of a Global Positioning System to track movement, are available. Delta Force supports Internet, LAN, serial cable and modem play, and comes with a default browser setting to the NovaWorld server.
Reviewing this title turned out to be a lot harder than I had thought. At first I thought it would be pretty simple - play the game, compare it with Rainbow Six and move on. The thing is, Delta Force isn't Rainbow Six, a fact that becomes obvious during your first mission. Unlike any game that's come before it, Delta Force walks the fine line between the strategy heavy Rainbow Six and traditional action games like Quake and Half Life. Let's take a look at why this title managed to please both the thinker and the fighter in all of us.
Delta Force was designed to be a military simulation loosely based on the actions of the super-secret (okay, they're not all that secret) Delta Force strike group. Delta Force was created in 1977 to combat the then expanding crisis of terrorism. The team, which is made up of Special Forces Green Berets and Army Rangers, has basically been taught to kick a lot of ass with just about anything at hand. Better still, because they're such bad-asses, the military usually decks them out with the best weaponry currently available. End result? If you're causing trouble the Delta Force will have absolutely no difficulty ending it. You die, they go home and train some more.
Unlike most action games that tend to throw you into a fight with no good reason, Novalogic has filled Delta Force with missions that revolve around possible situations in real-world terrorism hot spots. You can start any of the five campaigns at any time, but you must finish certain missions before the game will open up others within a certain theater. Although the game is still somewhat linear, missions often open up two at a time, offering you a choice of which mission you'll play first. This is particularly nice as it prevents you from getting stuck on one mission and being forced to play it again and again until you get it right. The missions themselves are well designed, taking place in huge worlds that utilize the topographical terrain maps that Novalogic is so well known for. The five basic theaters are offered up in order of difficulty, starting with the war on drugs in Peru, moving through a hostage situation in Chad and a bio-terrorist threat in Indonesia and winding up with some heavy activity involving civil war in Uzbekistan (get out your maps kids...) and a nuclear missile crisis in Novoya Zemlya.
Even though you'll always be moving towards the elimination of the overall threat, each of your individual missions will consist of more basic military actions. Examples include intercepting convoys, base removal (this means kill everyone you can find... these missions often get pretty damn ugly), and more subtle missions in which you'll sneak into camps and acquire (read: steal) codebooks or laptop computers from the enemy (at least you're supposed to sneak... I usually end up killing everyone here as well). There's a zillion different ways to approach each mission, and everyone will have a different style that suits them best. Jason, for example, likes to crawl over ridges and use a sniper rifle to pick off guards one at a time while I prefer to grab the SAW and run in like Rambo blowing the bejeezus out of anyone stupid enough to get close to me. Just for the record, Jason's a lot better at this game than I am.
The tools you choose to take with you on your missions will also affect your style of play. For most missions you'll want to use the insanely versatile M4 + M203. This sweet combat rifle has a 4x scope that'll let you pick off enemies at a distance, a selector that will enable you to fire in three shot bursts or in single shots, and a big ol' grenade launcher that is perfect for shooting into the windows of sniper hidey-holes (warning! This is not a good idea on hostage rescue missions). For missions that require secrecy, you might want to consider the H&K MP5, a 9mm submachine gun that come equipped with a suppressor. Unfortunately, this little beauty (for some unknown reason) does not come equipped with a sight, so you'll need to get pretty close if you want to be ensured a kill. In some missions you'll want to find a nice place to hide and kill. For these types of outings, you'll have two choices. First there's the M40A1 Sniper Rifle which boasts a 800m effective range and an 8x scope (you can see up the enemy's nose with this eyepiece). If you're fairly sure that you're going to be a really long way away, you may want to instead consider the Barrett Light .50 which has an effective range of 1500m (that's a kilometer and a half for those of you who failed metric math) and also has an 8x scope (which you'll need to see targets at that range). All of these weapons are great for their tasks and do a fine job of keeping you safe as long as you keep your head about you in combat. Still, if you want to kill a whole bunch of folks, there's just no substitute for the M249 SAW. This big, bad gun has huge clips and is fully automatic. You can kill an entire camp of soldiers as long as you can keep them from shooting you first. While it's not a weapon of subtlety, there's no weapon in the game that delivers a greater feeling of power.
Although your gun is by far the most important tool you'll carry with you, there are also secondary items that you can bring that will help you complete your goals. Need to destroy a satellite dish? Carry a couple of LAWs with you. These portable missiles make pretty much anything you aim them at disappear really quickly. Some missions will require you to use satchel charges to destroy targets that are protected from LAW fire. Or, if you've got a moving target, you may want to set up an ambush using M18 Claymores. Finally, if you just need to wipe a whole bunch of enemy soldiers, you'll probably want to opt for the double ammo load. Once you've got your primary and secondary weapons selected, you'll need to finish out your equipment phase by selecting a sidearm. There are only two choices here, the silent but remarkably ineffective HS .22 suppressed, and the deadly but remarkably loud Spec Ops .45. If all else fails, don't forget that you'll always have access to your trusty knife and a handful of fragmentation grenades. Some missions will even allow you to use a laser designator to select targets for an airstrike.
Here's where Delta Force starts to deviate from the path of strict realism. Make no mistake, Delta Force is an action game. Although you usually have one or two companions on each mission, they seem to be good for absolutely nothing except for getting killed. If there's a camp of thirty men that needs to be taken out, you can be relatively sure that at the end of the mission when everything is tallied up, you'll have about twenty-nine kills to the computer controlled soldiers' one. Unlike Rainbow Six, you can't tell your men what to do, nor can you switch controls over after you die. Once you go down, the mission is aborted. Still, this is what Novalogic was going for. Delta Force isn't, nor was it ever intended to be a strategy game. In this title you are the only hero. Computer controlled enemy soldiers are a little bit better, they'll run when you shoot at them, and they'll try and find high ground or cover to fire at you from when they can. Better still (or worse as the case may be) they'll try and circle around behind you when they can and catch you in a deadly crossfire. The best way to handle situations like this is to kill them all before they get a chance to maneuver.
Multiplayer is another story entirely. When you've got a huge world filled with about twenty heroes, things can get pretty intense. As with the single player mode, multiplayer in Delta Force tends to lean much more towards Quake or Starsiege: Tribes than it does towards Rainbow Six. The worlds are wide and open, and there's an almost infinite variety of different ways to harass your opponents. When you walk into one of the game's villages, you can never be sure if it's held by your team or the enemy, a mystery that will be sorted out the minute you pop your head up within sniper range. If you live for the first ten seconds, it's probably a safe place to be. On the NovaWorld site, you can always find several different games going on that you can jump right into, from capture the flag battles to straight out team deathmatches. I found the service to be extremely easy to use and the team play to relatively lag-free. Best of all, it doesn't cost anything to play. You can also set your own games via modem or network connection. Multi-player is made even more fun by the addition of a somewhat unique scoring system. While most kills earn you one point, if you can manage to sneak up behind a foe and knife him, you get three. This makes for some pretty hard decisions as you try and decide if it's worth the danger to try and get in close to an unsuspecting foe.
In the end, I enjoyed Delta Force a great deal. It's fast action fun with a lethal edge that's missing in most of today's trigger-happy releases. Still, it's important that gamers realize that this is a game without the heavy strategic element of other combat sims. Although I found it a great deal of fun to play, it's lack of depth kept me from giving it as high a score as Rainbow Six. Still, if you're looking for a solid action game with loads of replay value, but that doesn't require all that much deep thought to play, Delta Force is the game for you.
People who downloaded Delta Force have also downloaded:
Delta Force 2, Delta Force: Land Warrior, Delta Force: Task Force Dagger, Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, Delta Force: Xtreme, Delta Force: Xtreme 2, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings
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