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REVIEW - SOLDIER OF FORTUNE II
Fans of face-shooting won't want to miss it!

by Nathan - October 28, 2002

Allright. I know this game has been out for months already, and in that respect this review is incredibly late. But on the other hand, it's bound to hit the Bargain Bins sooner or later, and when that happens you'll need to be informed. Now that the justification is out of the way, read on.

Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix is the unawaited sequel to one of the most pointless shooters ever, Soldier of Fortune. Both star John Mullins, a battle-hardened soldier-for-hire that works for an outfit called The Agency. So creative.


Shot you in the face!

The Agency contracts Mr. Mullins to run all over the world and kill dangerous people for them, something he does gladly and with bravado. This time, some mysterious terrorists have gotten their hands on a deadly virus that could easily wipe out whoever they didn't like, from that smartass clerk down at the Starbucks to entire cities (especially cities full of smartass Starbucks clerks). There are some surprising twists and turns along the way, I guess, but you won't be picking your jaw up off the floor or anything. Not like the end of the first disc of Final Fantasy VII, where ****spoiler deleted*** happened! Man, that was crazy.

This all means that Mr. Mullins gets to travel abroad again, and shoot the faces of those who stand in his way on his path to justice. At first, this is not a bad deal. The game itself sends you through enough different locales to actually stay fresh for awhile, from jungles to fancy villas and everything inbetween. Close to the end of the game, however, it pretty much tosses that variety out the window and replaces it with what seems like endless amounts of subterranean corridor-crawling. They even go out of their way to annoy you by having you knock out the power, and then do a couple of levels with your Night-Vision goggles on. Here's a tip for the designers - monochrome green gets very, very tiring.


Shot! You in the face!

The gore that was such a trademark of the first game has been toned down significantly here, at least insofar as the torso is concerned. It's been preserved and even upgraded for facial gore, however, and if a comprehensive face-shooting simulator is exactly what you were looking for, then by all means this is your game.

The much-lauded facial expressions they had been tweaking are not as advanced as they had hoped, either, and now that the game is out they seem merely standard. Sorry, guys.


Shot you! In the face!

The game does have a redeeming feature, however - the Random Mission Generator. Set the kind of mission you want (Assassination, Escape, etc), the level type, and the difficulty, and the computer will actually randomly generate an entire level for you to mess around in. This works remarkably well, and I found it to be rather entertaining. The only unfortunate aspect is that even though the buildings are randomly sown around the map, the guard placement within remains exactly the same every time. One does not have to play the missions for long to figure out exactly where each enemy comes from when you enter a building, and this just takes some of the flair out.

I never tried the Multiplayer, and though it's probably interesting I'm sure there are many other games by now that completely waste this game in that aspect. Everything else about the game is pretty regular fare. Uninteresting in-game cutscenes, a very straightforward and standard assortment of weapons, and to top it off, your assistant has a terribly annoying accent, and she talks alot. Great.


Shot you in! The face!

CONCLUSION:
If you liked the concept behind the Indiana Jones Desktop Adventures, or Yoda's Stories, then get this game for the Random Mission Generator. I enjoyed being able to just hop in and release my frustrations on the faces of nameless terrorists. But if you're looking for a satisfying single-player campaign, just re-install Half-Life and save yourself the annoyance.

-Nathan
-e-mail: [email protected]


Magic Story Time promises not to shoot you in the face, unless you touch its stuff. Then all bets are off.

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