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Battlefield 1942 Deluxe Edition PC CD-ROM

Published by EA Games
Developed by Digital Illusions CE
Released - Out Now
Price : £34.99

The chances are the first time you play Battlefield 1942 it will surprise you. Not for the quality of it's graphics or because it contains a riveting plot but because it will not be what you're expecting it to be. I was expecting a game similar in style to Medal of Honor or Call of Duty but Battlefield 1942 is nothing like these games. Sure it has a single player campaign but it's not the main focus of the game. In fact at it's heart Battlefield 1942 has been built for multiplayer action and it's here the game definitely shines. Here we have the Battlefield 1942 Deluxe Edition which includes both the original game and The Road to Rome expansion pack.

If I was pushed to describe Battlefield 1942 the only description I could give the game is to say it's like a World War II flavoured Unreal Tournament. This wouldn't be an accurate description of the game but it's probably as good as anything. Online it's excellent with games containing up to a total of 64 players (usually smaller amounts though as it keeps performance acceptable) and offers four different game modes (Conquest, Co-Op, Team Death Match and Capture the Flag). Offline it's not the same experience but it's still enjoyable. The single player mode offers a campaign and single missions which will help get you ready for the online experience. The campaign is simply single missions strung together though and they don't have any story line to tie them together as such. This isn't a problem though because the game is all about intense action and no story is needed.

With no story then what's the game all about? Well essentially the single player missions are either Conquest: Head On maps or Conquest: Assault maps. Each map will have a set number of control points that can be captured. In a Conquest: Head On game you'll have to keep control of more than half of the control points whilst in a Conquest: Assault game you'll have to capture all of the control points. Control points are also very important because should you be killed you'll have to spawn from a control point. During a mission you'll have a point system, continually displayed on screen, that is called tickets. Should a team member be killed tickets will be lost. Tickets will also be lost when you lose control points. Should the ticket total reach zero it's game over. You'll be able to set the AI difficulty as well as alter the amount of AI characters so it's possible to tailor a game to suit your skill level.

Each game will have two teams, Axis and Allies, and you're free to side with whoever you wish. One of the key features of Battlefield 1942 is that you can do whatever you want to. Say you spot a jeep you can jump in and drive it around. You can man the anti-aircraft guns, drive a tank (or man it's guns), fly aircraft etc. In fact there are over 40 vehicles in all that you can drive or man the guns on. As you might expect control of these vehicles is kept as simple as possible and is more in the arcade style than that of a simulation. I don't see this a problem though as it allows you to jump into a vehicle and without worrying about how to drive the thing. Had the vehicles been given realistic controls the game would have had a Mount Everest style learning curve and would have put many gamers off.

The battles in these missions are influenced by key battles in World War II. Four main theatres of war are represented in the Deluxe Edition, Pacific, North Africa, Eastern and Western Europe and as you would imagine this means some great battles have been included. Operation Market Garden, El Alamein, Stalingrad, Monte Cassino and the Battle for Salerno have all been included. These aren't historical re-enactments of the battles but they are decent enough depictions of the actual locations and it does determine what weapons, vehicles etc., are on offer.

Graphically Battlefield 1942 looks good and manages to offer good performance even when there are loads characters models and vehicles onscreen. Seeing the missiles whizz by is a real sensation and helps to keep you on the edge of your seat. The explosions are also quite spectacular and help to enhance the superb atmosphere within the game. I was also impressed with the water textures which look great. Falling from an aircraft whilst over the ocean never looked so good in an FPS game. Some of the maps are fairly compact whilst others are huge and will take an age to cross on foot. There is plenty of variation in the different maps and it's great to see such a range of diversity.

Battlefield 1942 Deluxe Edition shouldn't cause deaf gamers any problems. The game uses text communication in online games (although I suspect some gamers will use third party voice communication software). Not all the verbal content in the single player game is shown in text but the important information is. Orders are given by using the F1-F7. These orders are context sensitive and by pressing the F8 key you'll bring up an overlay that will tell you what function each button has at any moment. The game doesn't have any tutorial as such. Instead you can enable tooltip advice that will display information as you need it. If you come across a vehicle for instance it will tell you, in text, what needs to done to use the vehicle. This is different way of doing things and it works well but I would have still like a real tutorial. The manual does give a full listing of the game controls though should you ever need them.

There is little doubt that Battlefield 1942 Deluxe Edition is a great package but what does let the game down is it's dependence on others. Online you'll need to play with gamers who want to work as a team and not just treat it as a deathmatch game. Offline the AI bots don't really make you feel as though you're part of a team and it does spoil the game a little. If you can play with friends who pull together as a team though it's a fantastic experience that few online games can match. If you like playing World War II online FPS games this has to be in your software collection.

Overall Game Rating: 8.6/10
Battlefield 1942 Deluxe Edition, when played online with gamers who want to work as a team, is a fabulous experience. Offline it's not quite the same experience though but it's still enjoyable.

Deaf Gamers comment:
Not all the speech is displayed in text but all of the important information is.