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Publisher: MacPlay    Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.1    CPU: G4 @ 400 MHz    RAM: 128 MB

Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix
November 1, 2002 | Patrick Leyden

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The tactical action shooter Soldier of Fortune 2: Double Helix (SoF2) is the Quake 3 Engine-based sequel that brings the exploits of military/anti-terror expert John Mullins to the Mac for the first time. While SoF2 brings with it an impressive technical resume for the discerning Mac gamer, Mr. Mullins finds himself entering a crowded battlefield. In the past several months, a fire team’s worth of military-inspired shooters have stormed the Mac OS beachhead (Medal of Honor: Allied Assault & Return to Castle Wolfenstein, in addition to SoF2) all of which were brought to life using id Software’s time-tested 3D engine technology.

How does SoF2 stack up against the WWII-era OPFOR and the likes of Lt. Mike Powell & B.J. Blaskowitz of Medal of Honor and Return to Castle Wolfenstein? And more importantly, does SoF2 deserve a funding from your military gaming budget? I hope to provide the necessary intelligence to answer both questions.

Depending on your take on current events, Soldier of Fortune 2 is either very timely or totally inappropriate considering what is happening across the world these days. In SoF2, players take on the persona of the real life ‘army of one’ John Mullins. In this game, Mullins faces off against terrorists bent on world domination. Their weapon (besides the aforementioned terror) is a deadly bio-weapon called the Gemini Virus.

Once players enter the world of SoF2, they will find themselves squarely in “A-Team” territory. Good guys are good, bad guys are bad and traitors get what they deserve. Deus Ex this game is not; this should not reflect poorly on the game. A pedal-to-the-metal action game such as this does not require an intricate plot to progress. The story is moved forward simply through the kinetic nature of the gameplay.

Eye (and ear) Candy
Soldier of Fortune 2: Double Helix brings a significant number of innovations to the Quake 3-based shooter space. The most noticeable is the customized Quake 3: Team Arena engine dubbed GHOUL2 by the title’s original developers, Raven Software. Keeping with this theme of ridiculous acronyms, SoF2 also features the TORR Terrain System as well as a music and sound system that, unfortunately, has no silly name attached to it.

Does this tech-speak actually benefit gamers? How about giving players the opportunity to use the same hardware & tactics of actual special forces and “black ops” units in deployment today to take down the bad guys in nearly any corner of the globe in almost any weather … by targeting individual limbs & body parts for the desired effect? Or what about exploring a wide variety of indoor and outdoor environments to meet your objectives? SoF 2 allows the previous and more.

These visual effects are combined with an equally impressive audio effects layer. The sound effects in the game sound incredibly life like, from the sound of the weapons firing to the explosions during a heavy firefight. I was also struck by the quality of the environmental sounds. A rainstorm at the beginning of the game made me do a double take to make sure it wasn’t raining outside in the real world! The net effect of these highly customized graphics and sound engines is that a very compelling environment has been created for gamers to be drawn into as they attempt to safeguard the world.


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