nFusion Interactive's Deadly Dozen places a premium on players' stealth as they infiltrate German occupied territories in World War II. Ten missions take place in six countries including Norway, Africa, France, and Denmark, with an arsenal consisting of sub-machine guns, sniper rifles, automatic pistols, bazookas, bolt-action rifles, knives, and an anti-tank weapon. Armed with timed explosives, grenades, binoculars, med-kits, mines, and more, players lead the 1st Special Missions Unit, the "Deadly Dozen," on unconventional warfare excursions using commando-style attacks.
In addition to a powerful arsenal and state-of-the-art WWII equipment, the elite squad will take advantage of staff cars, motorcycles with sidecars, transport trucks, tanks, and more, as they carry out missions behind enemy lines. Missions are designed to take one to two hours to complete. A level editor is available for download at the official developer's website. The default gameplay setting provides for a "slow-moving stealthy tactical shooter" but an option allows users to speed up the action to a faster mode. Inspired by the film The Dirty Dozen, action takes place in the 1943-1945 timeframe, with one mission occurring just prior to the Normandy invasion.
Graphics & Sound:
Deadly Dozen meets the graphical standards in most areas, with well modeled characters, varying faces, and nice scenery. The vegetation is very nicely done, considering that most games have yet to achieve real three-dimensional plants. The fog effects are a bit overdone, though, hindering your ability to see the enemy before he sees you. Where the game lacks the most, though, is in its explosions. There is not a wide collection of fire effects, so when you blow up a tank, it will look exactly like the grenade you threw a few minutes ago.
The sound is dead on in most areas as well. German soldiers will yell out their strange language when you are spotted, guns can be recognized by the distinctive noises they make, and when all is quiet, you can hear the leaves rustle as you brush by them. As with the graphics, the explosions are the things that need work. The puny sound effects made when something goes kaboom don't rattle your speakers the way they should.
Deadly Dozen is obviously a take of the old movie The Dirty Dozen, and don't tell me it isn't. The title is a dead giveaway, and the story is almost exactly the same. Not a drawback of the game, but you should have a good understanding of what this game is aiming for. Set in World War II, you take control of twelve unruly men who are elite commandos, sending them out to do the Army's dirty work. You are given missions that take place in countries like France, Norway, and North Africa, and it's your job to outfit your troops according to the mission parameters.
From the twelve men at your disposal, you can choose up to four for each mission. Prior to the mission, you outfit them with whatever weapons and items you have available. The weapons range from the Thompson sub-machine gun to anti-tank rocket launchers. During the battle, you can also pick up any weapons the enemy has dropped, and occasionally man a stationary machine gun. Items include things like grenades, mines, binoculars, etc. It's not a whole warehouse to choose from, but there is enough variety to keep the interest.
The missions themselves are what you might expect from a special forces sim, containing objectives like destroy the radio station, steal the secret plans, get out alive, things of that nature. Due to your lack of man and firepower, stealth is the main method of getting the job done. You don't really have a choice here, as a full frontal assault will quickly get your men cut down.
Team-based combat has been done well in previous games, with the likes of Rogue Spear and the Swat series sticking out the most. Here, Deadly Dozen could have taken some pointers. Relying on your teammates to help you out will invariably get you killed. You can issue formation orders to them, but there are more useless formations than not. Since you are always controlling the point man, it is your job to see the enemy first, an enemy that seems to have mystic psychic powers enabling them to always see you first, especially in bad weather. Given the useless nature of your teammates, the game is basically turned into a lone wolf sort of thing. Unless you want to keep three other guys for backups in case you die, there isn't much point in taking them out into the field.
So we've established that the heavy attack won't work here, which leaves only one method for completing the missions, which is a clandestine approach. This works all right, as sneaking around enemies is very possible, and you don't have to kill everyone you see. Yet this also leaves for a lot of trial and error. You don't have all that much cover, and a lot of the enemies will see you before you get a shot off. The trees and bushes provide absolutely no protection in the way of camouflage. It would also have been nice if your guns did more damage, instead of making you commit to long firefights that will attract more Germans every time you pull the trigger.
The difficulty settings range from easy to hard, with the usual medium setting in between. While the first two are manageable, the hard setting is almost impossible. There is no fun to be had from this setting, and should be avoided at all costs. Apart from that, the game should be playable for most people. Actually getting a hang of the game won't take too long, and learning all the different weapons will take even less time.
For some strange reason, Deadly Dozen uses the arrow keys instead of the 'wasd' configuration to move around. All it means is that you have to move your keyboard over some, or if you want to spend a couple extra seconds, re-mapping the keys. The mouse is used to look around, and you have the choice of either first or third person views.
Your characters can also get into cars and motorcycles, giving them a faster mode of transportation. You won't be able to look through the windshield, though, as you're locked in third person view while driving around. Getting used to the controls of each car might be a little tricky, but shouldn't stop you from accomplishing the mission objectives.
A horrible aspect of the game mechanics is when you are getting shot. Getting hit by a bullet makes you recoil, freezing all of your available actions for almost a second. The problem occurs when guys with automatic weapons or pistols start laying into you. When the first round hits, you can't shoot or move, and by the time you regain your abilities, the second bullet is already there. This causes you to freeze in place, without being able to defend yourself, and will usually result in your death. After a while, this will seriously start to get on your nerves, and if you have the patience to stick with the game, it only happens more and more. This effect is a gaping wound that slowly bleeds the fun out of this game.
Deadly Dozen is a game that plays good on paper, but not all that well on the screen. It has all the right elements to be a great game, but like so many other games they're not put together right, creating flaws that inevitably make it less fun to play. Most people will be able to make it through the first few missions with unscathed patience, but its hindrances will eventually get to the most steadfast of gamers.
People who downloaded Deadly Dozen have also downloaded:
Deadly Dozen: Pacific Theater, Dead Man's Hand, Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, Delta Force: Xtreme, Dead to Rights, Call of Duty, Call of Juarez, Day of Defeat: Source
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