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Medal of Honor: Infiltrator Review

Developer: EA Publisher: EA
Release Date: November 17, 2003 Also On: None

Medal of Honor is a long-running franchise that originally appeared on the PlayStation. In 2002, Electronic Arts brought the franchise to a whole new level, by bringing it to the PS2. The graphics were subpar, by the standards that we live by in 2004, but the gameplay was immersive, the storming of Normandy was breathtaking, and the historical pitch was mind-numbing. It was such a commercial hit that the game would be released later on the GCN and Xbox, followed by a less than stellar sequel.

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Last year, Electronic Arts released a GBA version of the game, called Infiltrator. The game broke from the franchise in its old-school design, sidelining the first-person elements for a birds-eye camera angle. By taking this approach, the developers gave themselves freedom that would not have been possible with a limited, linear FPS for a handheld, made for 2D games.

Infiltrator does have its first-person gameplay, but it’s not the style that you’d expect on a handheld. Instead, it’s more like an arcade game, such as Time Crisis. You’ll be in a first-person mode, with crosshairs pointed at the screen. Your goal is to survive the time limit, while destroying waves of tanks and soldiers. You have unlimited ammo, and the use of grenades with the B button. Pressing R will slow your crosshairs, allowing for more precise targeting.

The first-person element, described above, is not the main course though. The 3rd person overview is the soul of the game. You play as a soldier, stacked against the odds fighting the Nazi war machine. You’ll be equipped with weapons ranging from assault weapons, to pistols and grenades, to even rocket launchers. You’ll also get to drive in a tank, demolishing other tanks and buildings, and crushing foot soldiers.

Most of the levels take place in a village, an arid desert, or a forest. The forest level will have you use stealth instead of gunfire. Take out the guards using your weapon up-close, knocking them out, and rendering them useless. Be sure to take cover behind crates, buildings, etc. to stay out of their sight, or else the alarms will sound. This Splinter Cell-like gameplay is done exceptionally well for a handheld.

In the controls department, your character moves with a touch of the directional pad. You can move in one of any 8 directions: up, down, left, right, up-right, down-right, down-left, up-left. This can be combined with the R trigger for further accuracy in a single direction, while strafing to avoid gunfire. Thankfully, you can strafe and reload with the L trigger simultaneously.

The difficulty is the lone negative point that stood out in my mind. Enemies have precise targeting, while I’m fumbling to even aim and fire at the same time, while holding the R trigger to avoid their fire. It’s often suggested that when you run into baddies, go behind a building or crate, wait for them to follow you, and then fire away. This will conserve much-needed health and ammunition. Though both are available at tents throughout levels, the game does not liberally award them.

If it wasn’t for its difficulty, cheap kills, and levels without save points, Infiltrator might have won some awards last year on the GBA. It’s still about as good as it could get for a 2D Medal of Honor game. It accurately depicts the series, and does a good job of adhering to its World War II plot. It even has actual video from World War II. Despite all of this, including multi-player, this game isn’t for novice gamers. If you enjoy a good challenge, and possibly a dozen retries, Infiltrator is the game for you.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 7.4
Written by Kyle Review Guide