SOLDIER OF FORTUNEReviewed By: Jeremy Schulz
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
In SOF you play a mercenary named John Mullins who is out to stop a terrorist group from taking over the world. The plot is simple and is very similar to a James Bond movie only a 100 times more violent.
The main appeal of this game is its heavily modified “Quake II” animation engine called GHOUL. It boasts a new enemy targeting system that has much more graphic death scenes ranging from partial heads being left on enemies to limbs being blown off. While all this may seem familiar to other games of this nature, the graphical effects are much more violent than games like “Unreal” or “Quake”. If you shoot a man at close range with a shotgun in the stomach his intestines will hang out of his body. If you shoot a man in the head with a 9mm he will have a small hole in the front of his face but the back half of his head will be blown away.
There aren't too many obscenities in the game as far as language and sexual content but it makes up for that in its graphic violence. I found the gameplay fun and the targeting is remarkable. I like the idea that you can shoot the gun out of your enemy's hand and he will surrender but the graphic violence is too extreme and unnecessary. I would like to see more first person shooters adapt this new technology as far as targeting system but without the violence and gore that is seen in “SOF”. If you don't have a problem with graphic violence then I would recommend this game but as a Christian I cannot go along with the content of this game.
Year of Release—2000
I thought that Soldier of Fortune was a rather poor game on the gameplay stakes, the plot was predictable, there was no options as to the route you took through the game and compared to games such as “Deus Ex” it feels rather weak. However the point I would like to make is that SOF carries an 18 rating, boasts realistic body damage and has an optional degored setting with a password to prevent children from accessing it. This means that if you find the gore offensive all you have to do is TURN IT OFF, which will leave you to enjoy a game with gameplay and a plot that rivals doom. My Ratings: [2/2]
—Doug Chivers, age 18
Though I tend to tolerate violence and gore in most games (when it has a point), Soldier of Fortune tests my limits, I must admit. Some of the shots are downright “painful” to watch. It gives a vivid picture of the official military term “overkill.” The targeting system is remarkable, and a real innovation in the genre. One thing that this game does help show (much like the film "Saving Private Ryan") is the blood, grit, and pain of fighting men in the armed forces. It shows the horror of battle, and the tense situations where a person put into the same situation must kill or be killed. War is hell, the saying goes. And this game helps to demonstrate that fact. Perhaps as a game it is a little “too real” for many of us to stomach. There are actually two versions of the game sold, one (a green box and a red box) one that has the gore radically toned down, and the other which has the full blood and guts options. Even in the “uncut” version you can tone down the violence a bit if you so choose. This is becoming a standard feature in the First Person Shooter genre for many of the same reasons you have stated in your review, but also for the practical one: controversial games attract attention, but mainstream games make more money. My Ratings: [2/4]
I found this game pretty fun, but it got old pretty quickly. The single player was actually better than the multiplayer. There's nothing bad about this game. Its pretty realistic, but its only a game. I wish more Christian people could understand that. My Ratings: [5/4]
This game was made to generate “controversy” sales. Period. In other words, the game creators tried to wrap their mediocere game in a “controversial” package and hoped that the negativity hype alone would sell their product. Unfortunately, once you get past the novelty of being able to target specific body parts, you find that there really isn't much gameplay. Yes, the game is violent and shooting someone in the neck causes your unfortunate victim to slump to the ground while making gurgling noises--yes, yes, very disturbing and all that--but the fact that that's all this game is what gives it my low rating. Violence in gaming doesn't bother me nearly as much as some folks. Perhaps it's because I am capable of discerning between “real” and "make believe". But it does bother me when a game is made ultra-violent just for the sake of ultra violence. If this game had a good plot and a realisticly gritty story to go along with the gritty visuals then I would have scored it higher, but since this game is nothing more than a thinly disguised attempt at generating controversy, I have rated it suitably. My Ratings: [2/1]
In a nutshell, Soldier of Fortune is the most revolting game to ever appear on my computer screen. I have been involved with computers for the better part of fifteen years; therefore, I have seen, amongst the boring productive applications, a host of titles that span all genres of gaming. The first FPS (first person shooter) that I encountered was Wolfenstein, with images of horror carried out in simulated Nazi camps and dungeons. Then came the Doom series, with ghastly alien monsters and subtle pentagramic symbols that created the illusion of the lair of Satan himself. Quake brought the satanic realm to light in gaming with unnecessary pentagrams incorporated into the maps themselves. All three of these games depicted realistic blood and gore that incited young hackers (hax0rs, as they call themselves) to perform wanton acts of violence. However, nothing could prepare me for what I was to experience in Soldier of Fortune… One of the major selling points of Soldier of Fortune is the various points on the player models that can result in different damage modeling. That means if you hit an enemy in a certain place, his reaction will be different than if you hit him somewhere else. For example, shooting an enemy in the arm with a pistol will cause him to clutch his arm and bend in agony for a few seconds. Shooting his leg with the same weapon will cause him to drag his leg henceforth as he walks. A blow to those areas with heavier weapons will blow the limbs completely off with a complementary increase in bloodflow. A direct shot to the head will always cause instant death. Shots to the torso or neck will cause varying degrees of damage. A knife weapon can be either thrown or used in close quarters to slash huge, bloody gashes in the gut or extremeties of enemies. It is frighteningly realistic, but it is exactly what thrills our world's gamers every day and night. In the game's defense, however, I must add that the gore is a feature that can be disabled from the control panel. …I urge all would-be players of this title to consider other options; companies like Raven need to understand that the self-respecting world of gamers will not stand for such blatantly gory titles to be marketed to them. If a first person shooter is what you enjoy, consider Saints of Virtue. It is a much better title and has a much better message. My Ratings: [1/5]
Beware! The Associated Press reports that SOF is the first computer game to earn an 'adults-only' rating in Canada. AP reports "Authorities in British Columbia have classified a computer game that graphically depicts severed heads and humans burned alive as an adult movie, making it illegal to sell or rent it to anyone under 18."
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.
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