Spare some change for an old vet?
Mimicking the British Special Air Service (S.A.S.) in 1979, the US decided
to form their own elite special forces unit, dubbed Delta Force. Made up of
an amalgam of various other military squads (Army Rangers, 82nd Airborne and
Green Berets), this new unit was to serve as an overseas Commando and Counter-Terrorist
team specializing in hostage rescue in the nation's most sensitive military
If this doesn't sound like the making of a big, nerdy, military video game,
I don't know what does.
Delta Force: Land Warrior is the third installment of
Delta Force madness from Novalogic, the people that brought us the space
flight game, Tachyon. As a typical first-person Shooter,
Land Warrior will send players off on 30 missions to eliminate dozens
of enemy soldiers. Unfortunately, this new DF cuisine turns out a flavor
that is bland and ubiquitous to a fault. I guess someone forgot to throw in
The DF games have always had somewhat of a cult following. Although
they are really fun (mostly in the multiplayer games), the DF series
has never commanded the kind of acclaim or attention that other military based
titles like Rainbow Six have seen.
This has been due to the limited degree of technology used in the DF
games. The word, young readers, is "voxels."
So what, pray tell, are voxels? Voxels are pixels that appear 3D in a three-dimensional
space. This is what allows the DF games to have an open-ended playing
field. In any area in any DF game, virtual soldiers can travel forever
in any direction. While this is an impressive feather in the Delta Force
hat, the hat is old and outdated, as are the graphics in DF: Land Warrior.
In Land Warrior, Novalogic decided to change things up a bit. The voxel
backgrounds and vegetation make a return, but a new 3D engine is thrown into
the mix. This engine is a hybrid of polygons and the long-range vista voxels.
The result is a much-improved visual experience.
The cost is hefty loading times. The loading time in the previous DF
games was negligible, but now on my 700MHz, GeForce 2 equipped Imhotep gaming
rig, the loading drags on much longer than it should for a PC game on a decent
Like all the previous versions of DF, Land Warrior features both
single-player missions and campaigns as well as a burly multiplayer mode. The
missions are very typical for military games of this style. Whether they are
alone or in a small unit, Delta Force operatives will find themselves
rescuing hostages, seeking, destroying, and extracting classified documents
and performing the occasional Solid Snake-style black-op. Just grab a few weapons
from the long, geeky list of military firepower (the G11 is particularly cool)
and "prepare for insertion."
Even though they sound exciting, I found these missions to be mildly entertaining
at best, due largely to the AI. The artificial intelligence is something other
than intelligent. Enemies will try to shoot you through solid metal walls. The
game does allow various gun types to penetrate wood and other soft materials,
but in programming this, it seems now the opponents try to shoot through all
There is a toggle to raise the enemy AI, but it doesn't help much. Turn the
AI up and now some of the villains won't make this same inane attempt.
Whatever happened to flanking and attacking from all sides? Often, it's just
my lone character out there mowing down dozens of stupid enemy soldiers that
don't seek cover and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a Range Rover,
much less hit a moving target with a wee little bullet.
world is somewhat persistent. Enemy armories can be looted for a quick weapon
change and the birds that fly around overhead can be targeted and executed.
This adds greatly to the realism.
But what detracts from such are the empty, unfurnished indoor environments.
In any given room you may find a crate, a desk, maybe a bunk-bed and one lone
soldier fully armed laying on the ground poised for battle.
The fast, fun multiplayer is what has kept the DF series alive. By logging
into Novalogic, up to 50 soldiers can participate in Cooperative, Deathmatch,
Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, King of the Hill, and Attack & Defend games
as well as a few others.
So far, the maps that are offered tend to be too large for the relatively small
number of players. In Delta Force 2, 50 players was more than enough,
but now these maps are just too spacious. You'll find yourself travelling for
what appears to be miles without spotting a single soldier to shoot. This is
lame, but there is a notice from Novaworld (Novalogic's game server) stating
that full Novaworld service for DF: Land Warrior will be up at a later
date. Hopefully this means new, more confined maps.
At any rate, DF military savants may find this version too tempting
to pass up. The true-to-life weaponry and all the esoteric military jargon could
pull in many wannabe soldiers. But frankly, Novalogic's familiar temptress in
a new dress isn't as eye-catching as some of the more sophisticated and popular
companions available to gamers today (ie: Rainbow Six, Counter Strike
or the upcoming Team Fortress 2). The hardcore FPS players who value
depth and pretty graphics won't want to drop their anchors and become Land