Medal of Honor was undoubtedly one of the best first person shooter games on the PlayStation, and I was dubious about how I'd take to the PC version - Medal of Honor Allied Assault. We got our combat scarred hands on the Deluxe edition, including Allied Assault and Spearhead, the expansion pack. From the outset, you know that Saving Private Ryan had a profound effect on the the MOH games, and you get the Normandy beach landing replicated here as one of the levels. But thats not necessarily a bad thing. You play Lt Mike Powell, a Ranger, on various missions in and around Europe, playing your small part in inconveniencing the Axis forces, winning as many medals as possible along the way.
Control of Lt Powell needs some mastering to get the best from him, as it uses a range of keys. At least using the mouse is easier than the analogue stick on the console. It is also worth playing around with the video settings to get a smooth game. There is a tutorial in the guise of a training level that will tell you ever thing you need to know, and get you started. One of the greatest criticisms of the original game was that it was so linear - ie, you could only really go along paths, so it was difficult to get lost. That has carried over to the PC version to a certain extent, with embankments that you can't climb, and a large proportion of doors that remain locked. However, you do get a little more freedom to roam around the place.
The sound is very good, and the music fits in well. The cutscenes are almost entirely taken from old war video footage, which lends to the atmosphere. The loading scenes can be a little slow, something that one expects on a console, but not on the PC. Having said that, you now get the option to save in game, which can be great if you keep dying at the same point. Overall, on easy level, however, the game is easy. We finished Allied Assault in a few days of gaming. Spearhead is a little more challenging, but if you want longevity, turn up the difficulty from the outset. It also supports multiplayer, both online and as a network.
Spearhead is a welcome expansion for those of us in the UK, as you parachute in to France and link up with some Parachute Regiment boys, including their weapons - the Lee Enfield and the Sten gun; in total there are 36 different weapons. The Deluxe Edition provides a good package for the MOH fan, at a reasonable price. Also included is a bonus CD with a preview of Pacific Assault, which is sure to be a big hit with Santa this year, perhaps drawing on Pearl Harbour for a little movie inspiration, but we hope not. The bonus CD also includes the soundtrack. The manual provided also supplies a little more information on the weapons, medals and vechicles in the game, as well as some poems inspired by the war.
Overall, what can you say - it is a fantastic game in spite of its too-short add-ons. Those fans of the versions on different platforms, this delivers, even if it is on the easy side. As far as WWII goes, MOHAA is amongst the best “upbeat” first person shooters out there. You get the feeling that the detail in the game pays some sort of homage to those brave souls who fought in the war, as Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers did - the Bastogne levels certainly brings Band of Brothers back to memory. Moral conscience or not, its a cracking good game.