Day of Defeat: Source
Oh Videogame Industry, you are so illusively vain, grabbing our old favourites and pumping them full of virtual botox and digital silicone until they shimmer and shine like the sticky mucous-membrane enveloping a newborn calf. What was once an ugly WWII mod for Half-Life has gone under the knife and under the hammer, and after peeling away the bloodied bandages of a lengthy surgery, the beautiful new face and modest price tag of Day Of Defeat: Source has finally been revealed.
And what a pretty face it is too: the Source engine's slick presentation and solid feel seeps from every brick, sandbag and disassembled church. Valve's much-touted HDR lighting effects are out in force too, and while in theory HDR makes for a far more realistic depiction of the effect light has on our pupils and how the inner workings of our retinas coagulate in turn with global warming (or something), in practice it's really just a subtly attractive effect which more than anything looks like a cloud passing overhead on a sunny day.
The locales in which you fight the good fight consist of four maps from the original mod which read a bit like Santa's back row of sleigh-tuggers - Anzio, Avalanche, Donner and Flash. If you're a newcomer, you'll quickly learn them by their descriptive names of Beach, Wrecked Town, Other Wrecked Town and Village, and if you're a veteran you'll quickly relearn your once-forgotten habits and tactics.
All Laid Out
The maps are expertly crafted, channelling the two opposing forces into pre-determined flashpoints and allowing tense standoffs. Snipers are offered vantage points, creating no-man's-lands and forcing do-or-die dashes across vacant town squares. Support classes offer covering fire, allowing other soldiers opportunities to manoeuvre into position, while machine-gunners can set up gun emplacements in broken window frames or sandbag barriers, delivering a powerful (yet easily flanked) offensive force capable of suppressing an advancing enemy.
Each class may only differ in its weapon loadout, but it's the type of weapon in your hand that truly affects the role you play in your team. Indeed, depending on which class you choose, the game swings wildly between different playing styles: snipers must depend on assistance in order to hold and maintain the best sniping spots; support troops will spend a lot of time covering the infantry, who must push forward and generally sacrifice themselves for the good of the team; and the guys with the rockets... Well, they clear rooms. With explosions.
Seen It Before
With semi-realistic weapon properties, such as not being able to fire a machine gun (well, not without a semblance of accuracy) without first deploying it having to hoist a bazooka up to your shoulder before firing a rocket; the ability to pick up and throw live grenades back at the enemy; and of course the infamous Ml 'can't reload in the middle of a clip' Garand, the game carries a modicum of authenticity. However, by still clinging to the small-scale Counter-Strike. What's more, with Valve planning to release additional maps from the original game at no extra charge, it's clear that the intention is simply to take the much-loved mod and give it a significant facelift before making us pay for it again.
You see, that's the gripe with Day Of Defeat: Source: it's the same game we were playing only a few years ago, with graphical bells on. They say beauty is only skin deep, that it's the inside that counts, that money can't buy you love. They lie. though. Just like when the original Day Of Defeat went on sale, it's hard to justify spending money on something that used to be free. Granted, this is only a fair criticism if you've played the game before. In addition though, in light of recent additions to the genre such as Battlefield 2, there's not much innovation here.
When all's said and done, this is an old game - an excellent old game and a beautiful old game - but an old game nonetheless. But if you haven't played it before, now's a great time to do so.
Spot the difference
Taking a trip down memory lane
This isn't the first time Valve has delved into its back catalogue to bring a classic mod up-to-date. Counter-Strike received a similar treatment with the release of Half-Life 2 (except it was, cough, free). The two mods were quite similar, as are their subsequent re-releases. Both feature closequarter gunfights in closed environments and realistic damage, meaning you die over and over again in seemingly unfair ways. If you ever need to tell the difference in a hurry though, Day of Defeat is a faster game and it's set in World War II.
Download Day of Defeat: Source
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Everybody Get Down!
Unlike other vanilla Half-Life mods, in Day Of Defeat you have the ability to lay down in a prone position. As you can imagine, this drastically increases your accuracy -especially if you're hauling a machine gun around - and also makes you considerably harder to pick off. However, with the prone position's constricted mobility considered, we advise picking your camping spots carefully before flopping to the floor.
The sprint button can be handy in plenty of situations, not least when you're trying to shovel someone who's busy shooting at your Jimmy Carr spray tag. Sprinting between cover is best timed in conjunction with a crafty grenade; smoke is obviously the preferred flavour, but the standard, exploding kind of grenade can also dazzle machine gunners long enough for you to dash behind the nearest column or wheelie-bin.
As we like to repeat in every How To guide, one of the most important parts of mastering the online FPS is scouting out the maps and arenas you'll be fighting in. After all, it's no good becoming a trained killer if you don't know where your enemy's going to come from. Practice makes perfect when you're playing online, try to remember the main traffic areas and sneaky camping spots your enemy has used and then use them for yourself.
The recoil system in DOD:S tends to drive your weapon upward as it's fired, especially with powerful weapons like the Ml Garand or K98K. In close quarters, the easiest approach to managing weapon recoil is to aim at your target's feet and let the gun gracefully slide up for a cheeky headshot. But you won't always get away with this lazy man's approach to aiming, so start learning how to burst fire as soon as possible.
Snipe Snipe Baby
Once you've mustered a working knowledge of the game's maps, you should know a few camping spots to scrape your way through the sniper profession. Try to keep back from windows and openings as far as possible, and keep your movement to a minimum - even if it means using the non-scoped view. Be on the lookout for enemy snipers, especially in areas you would set up camp. In the battle of snipers, whoever sees first usually wins.
Single file, please
Sticking to groups is generally a good idea; not only will you stand a better chance in a firefight with a team-mate in tow, but you'll also have someone to get shot and reveal the enemy's position. However, as any budding sniper will tell you, groups are a far juicier target than just a single player - spread yourself out to avoid embarrassing grenade kills and spot enemies easier when they attack.
Ready To Throw
Not many people realise you can let grenades 'cook' before lobbing them. Standard grenades have five seconds before they explode, so if you hold on to them for a bit before throwing, you can give your target virtually no chance. Also commonly ignored is the 'pick up grenade' key. Bind it somewhere - killing someone with their own grenade is the highest state of iiber-ness known to man.