Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix Review

Developer: Gratuitous Games Publisher: Activision
Release Date: June 17, 2003 Also On: PC and Xbox

Released last year on the PC to the horrors of the censors and Congressmen, that had also disliked the “new” GTA series, Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix featured a shocking level of grisly violence and also happened to be a terrific FPS. Now, on the Xbox, can it compare to the PC version or would Activision crap out on all of the people hoping that it would be just as good as or even better than the PC version?

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SoF II’s graphics are not what they should have been. Character designs and environments look extremely weak. Models have a small amount of polygons, fogging is heavy in spots, and the intensity of the carnage has been toned down a bit, however, the animations and weapons look great. It is probably the only real thing that looks good, unless you take into consideration all of the beautiful cutscenes. The cutscenes are all rendered in engine, powered by the latest incarnation of the Quake III technology- the same that powers the outstanding Return to Castle Wolfenstein…… the Xbox version that is.

However, Soldier of Fortune sounds great. The guns sound more real than the PC version ever could, thanks to Xbox’s 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. You can hear blood splat on the ground after you kill somebody or hear them choking on their own blood after shooting them in the throat as they fall to the ground is sadistically satisfying.

The control is “Halo”-like, giving everybody a sense of familiarly in the game seeing as 1 of every 3 of Xbox owners own Halo game. The single player campaign in SoF II doesn’t have much lasting appeal. It has simple, yet tedious levels. All you do is run in shoot the bad guys and go to the next room and do it all over again, but just as disappointing as the single player mode is, the multiplayer is just amzing. There are more than 20 guns, 20 maps, a random mission generator, and five game types (Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Infiltration, and Demolition), plus there is Xbox Live play for these modes to double the fun.

There is something however that does truly stand out in this game other than the multiplayer. It is that there are many different places to shoot a person in the game and each place has a specific animation of what it would actually look like if you truly shot a person there. There are 36 “gore zones” and 16 “dismemberment zones”. Other than that, this is nothing more than a PC port FPS that went wrong.

Even though the single player campaign sucks, there is about 20-30 hours of gameplay here, that is, if you actually feel like completing the story. As you already know, multi-player is great and Xbox Live only ups the value of Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix. The headset is great for these multi-player modes and all of the weapons and maps keep you playing different levels and learning to use different guns in different situations. Soldier of Fortune II was better on the PC, but this also is a solid game overall, but only as a rental.

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 4
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 6.4
Written by Shawn Review Guide

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