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Korea: Forgotten Conflict PC CD-ROM

Published by Cenega
Developed by Plastic Reality
Released: 7th November 2003
Price: £29.99

Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines was far more of an influential title than it was ever given credit for. As well as Commandos itself having a couple of sequels the game has influenced various other titles such as Desperados and Star Trek: Away Team all of which were good games. Korea: Forgotten Conflict is the latest title to have been influenced by the Pyro Studios classic and like Desperados and Away Team it has chosen another theme other than World War II, which helps to keep things interesting for fans of this style of game.

Korea: Forgotten Conflict is based, as you would expect in Korea and concentrates on the North Korean's invasion of South Korea. South Korea is almost taken but you control a small group of soldiers and have arrived in a small area located on the south-east of the country as this is the only area not to be under North Korean control. Korea: Forgotten Conflict has two difficulty modes, normal and hard, but even on normal mode don't expect an easy life of it. In all there are two tutorials to introduce you to the game and ten missions to complete, none of which are easy.

As you would expect, the gameplay is very similar in nature to Commandos. Many of the gameplay elements of Commandos can be found in Korea: FC, although for the most part the interface is not as comfortable. My biggest complaint has to the method you have to employ for moving the camera. Instead of simply employing the standard bump/edge scrolling (where you simply move the mouse to the edge of the screen to scroll) you have to hold the mouse wheel down and move the mouse or use the cursor keys to scroll around. To rotate the map you have to hold down the shift key whilst holding down the mouse wheel and then move the mouse to move the screen. In all honesty this is simply insane and unnecessarily awkward in a game where timing is of the essence.

When you open boxes etc. you can transfer the items from the box to your character's units in a similar way to how you would do it in Commandos except that here it's more awkward. The inventory panel for your character and the location you are collecting the goods from are too far apart. You have to drag and drop the items from one end of the screen to the other (in Commandos the panels are side by side). This might seem a small complaint but it get's very annoying and time consuming when four or five items need to be transferred and there is no transfer all button, which would have made it far more bearable. Worst of all though you can't configure the controls so if you're uncomfortable with the default setup, it's tough.

What I did like though was the way you can highlight the locations of items. An icon in place of a building which contains items that maybe of some use. This prevents needless searching of buildings which can be a pain in other games. You can also highlight the enemies on the map. Doing this makes the enemies turn red, dead enemies turn pink and your own units turn blue. This allows you to easily see the locations of the enemies and avoids getting your units killed by an enemy that you didn't see.

Graphically Korea: Forgotten Conflict looks good. The game is in full 3D and you can rotate the map and zoom in when needed to. The game's missions have a nice variety of landscapes and architecture which is most welcome and helps to prevent the missions from appearing to be only slightly different from each other. The game's camera is a more top-down/bird's eye view than you have in Commandos and isn't too bad at all. I would have liked the addition of a first person view though for those stealthy moments and this would have also given the game an edge over existing titles. You can lock the camera to the character if you wish but more often than not this feels restrictive so you probably won't use this feature too much.

The introduction to the game isn't subtitled but otherwise the game is fine for deaf gamers. The tutorials and missions are fully subtitled and you even have your unit's responses given in text in the top left hand corner of the screen, which is impressive. Like Commandos you can select an enemy to find out their line of sight but there isn't any method of knowing how much noise you are making (Commandos 2 had a sound ripple effect so you could see whether the noise you were making could be heard by your enemies). Mission objectives can be recalled at any time although they are rather brief versions of what's delivered at the beginning of the mission.

Korea: Forgotten Conflict is actually a good game although fans of Commandos will find a game that lacks some much needed refinements. If you can ignore these though and don't mind games where you really have to put a lot of brainwork in you should enjoy the game. The originality of the game also goes in it's favour and it's refreshing not to have another World War II RTS. However the diabolical camera makes life more complicated than it should be and with the difficulty already quite high it's something you could well do without. It would have also been good if you could have configured the controls too.

Overall Game Rating: 6.9/10
If you appreciate the difficulty and complexity of the Commandos games then you'll enjoy Korea: Forgotten Conflict. However there are some issues with the game and parts of the interface are simply not comfortable and lack refinement.

Deaf Gamers comment:
The introduction isn't subtitled but otherwise there are no problems for deaf gamers.