Take to the shores during the storming of Normandy beaches in WWII GI from GT Interactive. Fight the German-occupied forces in this first-person D-day shooter whose story revolves around the Allied invasion. Explore German bunkers and undergound trenches through two battle campaigns that inlcude seven missions each. Play against the computer or link up with a rival in a head-to-head competition mode that boasts an additional 16 multiplayer-specific maps.
The premise is pretty simple, if not exactly original - you jump into the role of a soldier storming the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. If you make it past the six or so soldiers guarding the beach ("all the challenges of the real Allied Invasion?" I was pretty sure the Germans had a whole bunch of guys defending those beaches), you'll get a chance to explore the German bunkers, killing enemy soldiers as you go. There are two major theaters, each with seven missions apiece that take you through some of the major engagements of the war. Not a bad idea in theory, but WWII GI shows just how important practice can be when building a video game.
WWII GI is a disappointment from the moment you open the box. With a subject as rich in source material as World War II, you'd think that the development team would have taken some time to explain the historical significance behind each of the missions, or included a manual that described the real world parallels with what you were doing on screen. Nope. In fact, there was nothing in the box but the CD jewel case which included a small (29 pages of large type) manual that was completely unhelpful on just about every subject. Once in the game, you'll see no cutscenes, no movies and will read nothing of any real interest about the second World War. Bad.
The game's graphics are exactly what you'd expect out of a Build engine title - they suck. Everything is hyper-grainy, movement is blurred, and the effects are laughable. There's really not much more to say here except, if you've seen any first person game that's released since Quake, you're just not going to be able to play this game for more than 5 minutes without hating yourself for it. Sound effects aren't much better and consist of tired gunshot noises and speech that repeats every time you enter the same situation. The Sarge at the beginning of the first mission repeated his speech so many times that both Tal and Steve have it memorized just because they sit near me. Steve's still muttering to himself, "What the Hell do I look like? A German solider?" At least they didn't have to play this dog for days at a stretch. Let's move on.
The gameplay itself is terrible, but admittedly, not as terrible as I imagined it would be. While the control and movement is comparable to Doom or Duke Nuke 'Em, the level designs are actually pretty nice and do a good job of encouraging you to actually move like a soldier. If you don't keep your head down, it'll get shot off in a hurry. Still, bad gameplay with bad graphics in a good level is still a pretty big waste of time. The thing is, there's just no real reason for you to ever load this game up when there are so many good games available on the shelves already. The game does have a multiplayer mode, which boasts 30 different levels (the 14 from the single player missions and 16 multiplay specific) for you to go head-to-head against your friends in. But even though the game ships with these maps and three different play modes (deathmatch, capture the flag, and fireteam) the odds of ever being able to find eight people willing to load up this outmoded game with you are negligible. Multiplayer crap is still crap.
As I stated when I got started on this thrashing, I don't imagine that there are all that many people out there who actually looked at this game as a potential purchase anyway. But for those who may be considering it as a way to while away a few hours, I highly recommend you find something else more entertaining to do like rolling in tacks or simply watching mildew grow on your bathroom walls. WWII GI is only for those who have no access to technology or a real masochistic streak.
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