While one military exercise is laid before us on television, those boys that strive on military games at Novalogic are presenting us with the opportunity to relive another. Black Hawk Down is set against the US conflict in Somalia in 1993 and allows you to witness some of the missions fought as a member of the US special operations forces.
While most will remember this conflict for the film of the same name, that hasn't stopped Novalogic doing what it does best and adapting the Delta Force game engine on to a new location with new missions.
The single player option is based around a number of missions with multiple objectives that range from clearing an area of bad guys to protecting a convoy. The game manages to give a nice balance between the two with plenty of city and open landscape levels to tackle the most prepared fan.
However, because there is no campaign feel you can sometimes feel the end is never in sight as you have nothing to judge your progress on. Of course some might say that this gives you the chance to choose your own path, to skip levels that you don't like or simply can't do until you have more practice under your belt. Yet while this is an option, it gives you the impression this was merely another map on a multiplayer server for you to play rather than following a linear storyline that it could be.
Of course how you access the levels doesn't really count once you get into the game, and trust us when we say that you won't be disappointed. With Graphics that are awe inspiring (if not a little power hungry) and gameplay that will have you cursing and cheering as you try to defeat the enemy, BHD offers plenty of action.
If you were in Russia you would expect snow as likewise the scenery in Black Hawk Down is fitting with the desert plains of Somalia. Most of the levels see you working your way through the close quarters of Shanty towns, picking off bad guys without killing the civilians and taking up sniper points on ridges before you go into close.
Weapons wise you have the usual array of American firepower and the use of heavy weapons in any vehicle you find or gun post you conquer. Likewise your satchel carries the usual nightsight (helpful if your computer is struggling with power, although I'm sure Novalogic didn't intend for it to be used this way), binoculars and an array of flashbangs, grenades and detonators.
Team orders can be given when in mid combat and this helps if you are afraid to clear the room yourself. For the scaredy-cats among us a Novalogic have added a nice little bit of programming that ups the tempo further and restricts how many in-game saves you have. Get ‘save happy' and you soon run out, making the tension even greater.
Where this game strives is the multiplayer arena and BHD can be connected to the Novaworld servers allowing you to join in with all the other Novalogic titles that are also present. Here you have numerous game modes to choose from including Capture the flag and Team Kill of the Hill.
There is no doubt about it, this game is very impressive. Graphics are good. Sound is good, and better still the gameplay is excellent. It is just tough enough to cause you problems, but not enough to make you fed up.
The only downside to this game is that you are likely to have to go and buy the DVD of the movie or read the Mark Bowden book to get it fully out of your system. This is a game you can expect plenty of late nights with as you try to conquer the opposing forces. You have been warned solider.