Medal Of Honor: Underground
Dreamworks Interactive is quick to point out MoH Underground isn't simply a mission disc--it has a new main character, plot, levels, weapons, enemies and more. But at its core, it's still Medal of Honor. It looks, plays and sounds a lot like the original. But when the original is one of the best first person shooters on the PlayStation, we aren't complaining.
You're Manon, the French woman (that's right, a woman) who helped James Patterson while he was in Europe in the first game. Underground actually takes place before the first Medal of Honor--when Manon was in a small group of freedom fighters in the French Resistance. The Nazis have just occupied France, and many French are forced to make a difficult decision: Surrender or resist. Obviously, Manon couldn't go over to the "dark side," so she went on board with her brother in the Resistance to fight for freedom. This is where Underground starts.
So what's different this time around? There are seven main levels, made up of 22 separate missions that take place throughout Europe and North Africa. Underground features 12 authentic German and French WWII weapons, and of course plenty of Nazi soldiers and vehicles to use them on. Enemies are smarter as well, and use suppressive fire and squad tactics to take you down. Luckily, Manon's not alone in her fight. On a couple of occasions, she's assisted by computer-controlled companions who fight by her side (ala Syphon Filter). In one instance,
Manon's brother helps mow down some Germans, and picks the lock of a building so Manon can gain entry. If he dies, the mission is over.
Of course the most memorable aspect of the first MoH had to be the audio (it won EGM*s award for Best Sound Effects). Luckily effects man Erik Kraber and composer Michael Giacchino are both back doing the sound for Underground.
The two-player split-screen multiplayer mode also returns, essentially the same as before, except with new levels, weapons and characters. Oddly enough, it's the gripping story line and atmosphere of the single-player game that has us excited about Underground.
- MANUFACTURER - Dreamworks Int.
- THEME - ACTION
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
Download Medal Of Honor: Underground
Just like the first game, MOH: Underground packs simple mission objectives, stark environments and platoons of Nazis to shoot, blast, incinerate and otherwise kablooey to the stone age. And, as with the original, presentation is everything here. The spectacular sound effects, stirring music and grainy between-mission movies lend this game an incredible amount of atmosphere. Production values aside, Underground still looks and play very much like the first game (in other words, it suffers from grainy visuals and a too-near horizon--I can't wait until this series hits the PlayStation 2!). But play past the first few missions and you'll notice some slick improvements. For starters, them Nazis fight with a lot more gumption. They seek cover. They hunt you if you run. In later levels-particularly the last two-they swarm you and blaze away with dead-on accuracy. It makes for a frustrating, and intense, experience near the end of the game--even with the help of the occasional computer-controlled buddy. If you don't creep along and seek cover, you're dead. Environments are slightly more interactive in Underground (shoot a chandelier and watch it drop on Nazi skulls). You'll face moving vehicles this time, too, including half tracks and motorcycles. In one mission, you even get to blast Nazis from the sidecar of a zooming 'cycle. It's all good fun, with some supremely bizarre bonus missions thrown in for good measure.
Despite a few cool new additions like support characters who fight alongside you (Syphon Filter-style) and a section where you ride in a motorcycle sidecar with a mounted machinegun, Underground is more like an add-on to the first MoH than a sequel. That means everything I loved about the first game--good controls, a truly gripping story line, and some of the best music and sound effects ever put into a video game--is back, but so is everything I had a problem with before-simple, sometimes glitchy graphics and a bare-bones multiplayer mode. The enemies do seem smarter and there's a few other minor improvements, but only try it if you liked the first.
Sometimes, too much of a good thing is, well, still a good thing. Yes, Underground dishes out the same grainy visuals as the original Medal of Honor. Control is still a little stiff. Missions are, for the most part, still fairly simple and linear. You get the same fun-for-15-minutes-or-so two-player deathmatch. And the sound effects are every bit as amazing as the original game's. I just wish there were more new weapons and more novel missions like the sidecar and train levels. I guess I was hoping for more than just larger levels and a longer game. Still, Underground is a heck of a lot of fun-and certainly a bit more challenging than the too-easy original.