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Call of Duty PC CD-ROM

Published by Activision
Developed by Infinity Ward
Released: Out Now
Price: £29.99

It's now been 58 years since the end of World War II and yet our obsession with events that represents man's most evil nature, remains undiminished. Films, documentaries, books and games that are based on World War II continue to arrive on a regular basis but why? Well as hideous as most of the events of World War II are, they remain very interesting. The most interesting aspects of my history degree were World War II topics. Of course there is a difference between what historical texts and forms of entertainment portray. Films and games concentrate, mainly, on the action and the aspect of fighting against the odds. It's this element that Call of Duty concentrates on and achieves remarkably well.

Anyone that has played Medal of Honor on the PC will find that Call of Duty is very similar in style and in regards to how it plays. This is no bad thing though because Medal of Honor managed to get a lot of things right. Unlike the previous World War II game we looked at, Hidden & Dangerous 2, there are no complex strategies and you don't have any control of your fellow soldiers. There are no fancy slow motion gimmicks to consider either. It doesn't matter though because the game is rich in both action and atmosphere. From the first single player campaign mission to the last, it's action all the way.

You'll witness crossfire and explosions galore and it's exhilarating to say the least. You don't have any control over your companions but they move and work with you and as a result you'll feel part of a group rather than a lone super hero, which makes the game even more appealing. There are times when a certain amount of stealth is called for or when you'll have to break off from your company to take out a machine gunner who is keeping your friends hemmed in, but you'll find they will provide covering fire and allow you to take out that machine gunner or lay that all important explosive.

You won't be able to carry masses of weapons in Call of Duty. You are limited to two weapons and grenades. This may seems a big limitation but it isn't and it adds a small amount of reality to the proceedings. Pressing your right mouse button enables you to aim down the sight which is more accurate but your movement speed is limited whilst aiming in this way. The game features various weapons from the US, British, German and Russian's arsenal. Weapons such as the Thompson, Colt.45, Luger, Mosin-Nagant, Sten and Panzerfaust are all included and feel very satisfactory. I also liked the way you have to actually use grenades in some situations. Too often have I played a game where grenades feel like an optional extra. In the first mission you come across some broken down buildings and a machine gunner is firing through a doorway. Any attempt to stand in the doorway will result in death but if you stand at an angle and lob a grenade in there it will take out the machine gunner and you and your company will be able to move in. This is only one example and the game is filled with such instances.

If the single player game, which contains missions where you play as Americans, British and Russians, has one failing it's the length. You are not going to get a dozen hours from it, which is disappointing and made worse by the fact that the single player game is compelling and you'll want to play through the levels as soon as possible. Still when the single player game is finished, it's time to consider the multiplayer game. Whilst the multiplayer modes (which support both LAN and Internet play) aren't as impressive as the single player game they are certainly good and will offer a lot more gameplay. There are 5 modes in all. Behind Enemy Lines is an Allies against Axis game where the Allies are outnumbered and have to survive against the Axis players. Retrieval is a kind of capture the flag or to be precise, a capture the documents mode, where one side has to retrieve documents and return them to their base whilst the other side has to prevent them doing so. Search & Destroy is similar to Retrieval except one team has to destroy certain objects and the other team has to protect the objects. Finally we have the free for all Deathmatch and team based Team Deathmatch modes.

Once more we see the Quake 3 game engine used but to be fair it looks much improved and the graphical quality of the game is certainly very good. The beauty of this game engine is that it runs as smooth as silk on any decent graphics card and I'm pleased to say that not even the massive explosions and shootouts that this game has could cause any slowdown. You wouldn't think that the game engine that has been used was four years old to be honest. As we have already said it is much improved and looks virtually as good as any other FPS title that has been released recently. It just goes to show that when the developers have the skill they can work with anything. Had a more recent game engine been used it would have been a very different story indeed.

Deaf gamers will be thrilled to learn that Call of Duty has an option to enable subtitles. All the comments from your own soldiers are shown in text. All orders you receive are shown in text too. You'll be shown in text when your objectives have been updated and you can access your objectives at any time by holding down the Tab key. Your mission briefings are shown in text and the background to each mission is shown in text (in a small open notebook). During multiplayer games you can communicate with text messages and pressing the 'V' button will bring up a command menu that enables you to deliver orders by simply choosing the relevant number from the menu. Infinity Ward really do deserve a medal for catering so well for deaf gamers.

If you're into World War II based FPS games then this is probably the best title out there at the moment. Call of Duty manages to do what very few FPS games can do in that it keeps you on the edge of your seat for virtually all the game. In many ways it's a streamlined FPS in that it does away with 'filler' missions and quite tedious tasks such as opening doors etc. The effect that this has is dramatic and makes the game seem like a constant roller coaster ride of action. Call of Duty is definitely a must for all FPS fans and particularly those who like a World War II theme to the action.

Overall Game Rating: 9.2/10
Non-stop top quality action make this a FPS to remember. It may be short on length but the quality of both the single and multiplayer components more than make up for it.

Deaf Gamers comment:
Wonderfully subtitled and will cause no problems at all for deaf gamers.