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Game Profile
PlayStation 2
GENRE: First Person Shooter
PLAYERS:   1-32
July 26, 2005
Delta Force Black Hawk Down: Team Sabre

Delta Force: Black Hawk Down

 Written by Chris Reiter  on September 07, 2005

Review: Shooter is my middle name. "This" and "Sucks" are my first and last.

Ten years ago, were you alive? Were you a farmer, a banker, a maid, or maybe even tied into a Mafioso organization? Whatever you were, and whoever you are now, there was another story happening all together. Perhaps even larger than your weekly hit. I'm talking about the war over in Somalia. People of Africa were starving. Dying. Well, they were starving and dying at the same time. Civil war had erupted in Somalia due to the fall of its dictatorship and the rise to power of a bandit-like warlord. This led to slaughter, and to famine. The U.N. intervened in the battle to keep the people of the country alive while also attempting to disarm the power behind this civic military aggression. Though the struggle was never quite resolved and there still is no central government established in Somalia into today, there were memorable stories that have branched from the four-year hardship between the starting point in 1991 and the leaving point of U.S. troops in 1995. Like the destruction of a military transport helicopter. Delta Force: Black Hawk Down is NovaLogic's First Person Shooter port of its 2003 debut of the game on the PC, and here's its story.

Delta Force: Black Hawk Down is not the first born child in its franchise, not even on the PC where the game originated two years ago. It was on the PC where Delta Force's roots were hashed out, but this was all the way back in 1998. In those days, PC First Person Shooters were just beginning to change shape all together. They were becoming less outdated and more authentic. This was also just after another strategic First Person Shooter franchise had already exercised buyers' wallets into becoming fans. You might've heard of it: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six. Ring any bells? Of course it does. Rainbow Six is one of the, if not the originator of tactical squad-based First Person Shooter gunplay. But getting back to Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, it was originally the 2003-released shooter that has gone on to become a multi-console port two years afterward. There really is nothing new to see here unless you've never played Delta Force: Black Hawk Down before. For a tactical First Person Shooter game just the same, innovation is nonexistent.

Playing Delta Force: Black Hawk Down isn't totally an uninspired creation. This is an assuredly operational game. It's not entirely difficult to manage through the gameplay schematics, but there are some kinks that could've been tweaked for an overall stronger experience. For example, one tactic used in the game allows players to take cover and target enemies simultaneously by ducking out from behind a building corner utilizing the L2 and left analog stick pressed in the upward direction. Taken from this defensive position, relaying commands with the triangle button can't be functioning while the left analog stick is already in the process of doing something else. In order to issue requested actions, the triangle button causes a popup screen to appear, letting you scroll through a menu of prerogatives. Strategically devising orders from a protected angle like this one could've made the game all the better. But it's not there. On the other hand, firing weapons (R1), reloading (square), interacting with objects (X), shifting from ducking to standing statures (circle), zooming in (L1), and the rest of the controls are all commonplace for First Person Shooter type gameplay, and shouldn't be much of a complication to correspond with.

The real problem stirs in the fact that Delta Force: Black Hawk Down is more of a generic cookie cutter title than anything anyway. Two different modes of gameplay reside in Delta Force. There's online for those who have the ability to hookup and connect to the net with others. This portion is practically the meat of the game, the reason you're likely going to want and buy Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, considering up to 32 players can destroy and defend together or against one another through predictable gameplay methods. Then there's the offline part, where mission gameplay comes in full circle with more paltry means of teamwork killing and doing (as well as offline versions of the multiplayer matches for up to four people). If you're playing online, you'll receive those default modus venues always boxed in typical war shooter games, consisting of Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, and King of the Hill formations. As usual, Capture the Flag rubs two teams together to defend their base and to steal the flag from the other team's side of the line. Deathmatch serves as everyone turning against everyone. Whoever ranks the most kills in these wide-open killing sprees wins. King of the Hill lastly has players all hunting one person: the king. The person who is the one will defend themselves however necessary until another challenger comes along claiming that glory, thereby repeating the chain of the one who is the king of the hill. What makes the multiplayer section appealing is its variation on these game types, in addition to the openness of space laid out for each player's pursuit of triumph. Games played on 25 multiplayer maps occur in large expanses of Somalian desert city locales, providing different job classes players can pick from (snipers for pinpointing those swept a good ways, medics for healing, gunners for firing the heavier weapons, and infantry for all-around expendable soldier duty). Mixing up the families of games, from adding multiple flags for thieving, to engaging others in team-based deathmatch, opens up a small yet suitable host of seven multiplayer game paths in all to continue down their path of elimination.

Time spent offline away from those online are going to be dealt with three difficulty levels (easy, medium, or hard), 16 single-player campaign levels, and uninspired gameplay. Missions in Delta Force differ very little when tactics are limited and events occur very similarly to every last one. Here's what happens. Before any operation initiates in Delta Force, a lengthy summary of assignment notes lists the weather conditions of the impending territory about to be crossed, the news about what's happening with the bad guys in these neck of the woods, what must be accomplished, and a lot of other junk that is not only snooze-worthy to indulge in but is also irrelevant to player participation. After skimming or skipping that, then comes the upgrades and weapon options (comprising primary assault, grenade launcher, and sniper rifle types, secondary handgun and shotgun types, and bomb-related accessories). Passing a mission rewards players with stars for a selection of attributes. If you show skill in areas such as demonstrating accurate aiming, reliability (finishing stages quickly as possible), or resourcefulness (surviving all members of the team without extra need of supply), an overall percentage of mission performance will reveal up to three stars for however well you performed. Enhancing your ability to command teammates better, stay alive in battles longer, run faster, and target more precisely seems rather useless as the effects aren't made evident in any way. That could be because in general, there's really no contest in being able to use a sniper rifle in the game, for example. If you've done something like that a million times before in other shooters, here it's plain arithmetic all over again. Of course, stars can be spent on not just ability augmentation, but on unlocking weapons or asking for extra ammo or health supplies too. Not that you need these trinkets, since like it's been said already, Delta Force: Black Hawk Down is not a very exacting game in the least.

Sharing compatibility with first-person shooting games like Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six rather than those corridor shooters like Doom 3 or Halo, Delta Force uses your guy and three computer-controlled teammates to supply for the beating of every last passing phase. With this come commands players are able to dole upon their comrades to complete in an orderly fashion. But unlike those other squad-based shooters in the line of SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs, Delta Force is only outfitted with very basic, very primitive inputs to relay to the team. Point your weapon's reticule at most any location, and you can order the men to group to that surrounding. Tell them to cover you instead, and they'll stick to you like glue as you wait or motion from wall to an object honing in on enemies to eradicate. A wait action has the team holding, a hold fire one has the team reserving ammunition, and then a weapons ready choice opposes that selection to open fire at will. Health and ammo options also allow for the squad to distribute magazine or health benefits to yourself or to the whole team (except for the ammo; that one's all you). Compared to a game like SOCOM, you could dictate your men to breach through doorways with their weapons pointing out or their bombs deploying, even to the point of getting to choose what detonation type is specifically going down. In Delta Force, you can't even do that. There only exists but simple instructions here, making Delta Force obviously a less advanced game.

Its missions and combat against enemy forces fail as well to bring much vigor to Delta Force's being. An in-depth story mode to weave through and invite players wants or needs back for desire of further playable enjoyment would've been really nice. Instead, given are lackluster missions with simplified objectives, or rather uncomplicated paths for completion of each one. Destroy a radio tower. Secure buildings. Blow up a bridge. Protect a band of war captives. Take route over a field of mines without dying. There may be variations of level themes present in Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, but the missions certainly don't feel much apart from one another. To be brutally honest, there really isn't a whole lot of diversity as the gameplay doesn't allow for much distinction to set in. There is the shooting parts (finishing off every bad guy that pops out of the woodwork), the walking around (reaching all checkpoints and flushing out trash along the course), and then the blowing up of stuff (setting down satchels or claymores and launching them via remote). What's left? Besides enduring patrols on foot, short-lived and highly ineffective rail shooting segments from the seat of a truck's fixed machinegun are propped into place and move awfully speedy past enemies scurrying from alleyways and from the tops of desert mounds straight from out of left field. Enemies here are tricky to hit because they're so far off in the background and distanced apart from one another (like little matchsticks here, here, and there), and the vehicle driving isn't under your guidance either. Achieving feats that are fulfilled by the unsophisticated amount of repetitive commands (overused, since most of them aren't even needed) doesn't help itself when going through the motions of getting enemies on foot. This one time, at a Somalian camp, it was like so dark out for the first time. The other army rangers and I couldn't see a thing. It was soooo funny! Putting on the night vision goggles (a single instance where they're actually made useful) aided in the usual shifting from a building corner, toward a smaller boxy hut, toward a bulged opening, and past the Somalian crew who's always seemingly springing from out from nowhere on cue and unloading rounds with their typical automatic (and sometimes sniping or rocket launching) weapons. Almost everywhere, levels in Delta Force are masked by daytime, where again shifting position from one building corner to another, or to a truck placed in the middle of a road, or when inside a building behind a knocked over desk, or generally standing out in the open and peeking your head around corners simultaneously disposing of threats (one gameplay aspect that's a little interesting, since no First Person Shooters do the same) will deliver you the objects you may need to detonate every now and again and the enemy troops who unrealistically keel over in one shot while you and your guys do not (with your idiot counterparts who target thin air much of the time, while you're able to score a hit on the first try).

The very definition of a video game port means that all or at least most of the materials included in the original edition will be recycled. That includes gameplay, and that includes graphics. As it is, Delta Force: Black Hawk Down looks and acts just like a PC version of itself. Cut-and-dry hard-edged realism is what the game's about. However, just because Delta's strung to PC roots doesn't mean it's relatively poor on any and all eyesight. In fact, there are a couple of nice things to be reflected upon. Take for example character models. Even though Somalian militia men and civilians practically both embody identical outlines, expressionism in blinking eyeballs adds some truth to the enemies or allies you can stand in front of envisioning (for bad guys though, this only happens when they're captured and free of shackles for some insane reason surrounded by NPC comrades in arms). Without these moments, enemies are harder to describe, because they're more oftentimes shown at extensive reaches magically pinpointing you without much fail bearing estimably narrowed limitations on their ability to sight with non-scoped automatic weaponry. Drabness overlaps enemy and civilian clothing, where the Somalian people have on generic, stiff and pasty colored gunky robes. Unwavering dingy gray and brownish vests, t-shirts, shorts, and such, bring an ugly side to the evil gunmen picture as well. Your teammates aren't really any finer, but seem to be designed a little more attractively in their dusty camouflaged army uniforms, flak jackets, and knee pads. Between stuff of enemies falling down on the unrealistic side (plopping without hesitation or any dramatic realism) and the moving and shooting of your guys and theirs, not a whole lot in the game moves. What's of it isn't highly fascinating. Mostly there are just the hands of your leader guy moving as they do, then your team can be seen crouching down and looking back and forth or thrusting their guns up and firing ahead. Standard stuff.

As a matter of relation to the way sand describes character attires, Delta Hawk: Black Hawk Down checks out as an extremely arid game all over. Its breadth of the world you'll suck in through your aloof set of eyes has a widely beige overtone to its hardened demeanor. The buildings are blandly discolored in brownish and grayish, sorts of washed out shabby togetherness, where choppy textures and near barren insides reside. Walk into a building and concrete stairs, and bland models of tables, crates, desks, and other unpolished everyday objects really do nothing to help the game's outdated appearance. Outside as noted earlier has its fill of trucks, boxes, and buildings placed along the desert streets. Plants and water pop up at times, like in one level where a murky green river must be swum through while alligators are supposedly in the water. Supposedly. Didn't see anything but dark blobs through the unclear liquid, and nothing happened. Jagged edges are also another element in the game, where if you pot yourself in the middle of a bush, you'll get a close-up view of pixilated lines right in your face. Not that bushes do any good against bullets (the enemies can still spot you there), but sometimes actual cover is few and far between. One cool aspect about the game though is how sand will actually absorb impressions of your men's footprints. Lighting coming from a view of a flashing automatic spark in your sights also receives pretty well. Actually, variations of lighting used in Delta Hawk are all nice enough to notice. A bright time of desert day is a major constant in the game. Sometimes though there'll be inside infiltration into dimmer tunnels and rooms. Shadows creep from objects and off of people. There's also the night vision, which morphs the screen into a pretty sheen green. As can be seen, Delta Force isn't entirely rubbish by its perceivable angles. Although, the game doesn't try its hardest either to conjure up an astounding showing past the flat mediocrities often routinely established in tactical PC First Person Shooter of the like.

Behold thine ears! Might thy be an anthology of tranquil tones exhuming upon what thine hears? Nay, regretfully it wasn't to be. Nor shall it be, as Delta Force also tastes like an undecorated vanilla in its sound work. Insipid audio bits compiling some customary rapid firing machineguns, rupturing shotguns, bursting explosions, trucks rolling, and feet stomping on some hard ground. The noises may be weak in presence, but at least they clock in when they're supposed to. Music throughout the game in a way is sort of a surprise. The soundtrack to Delta Force alternates between orchestral themes as a homage to the desert habitat (such as flute songs), and a peculiar rock motif as well (reminiscently familiar of a song you might hear on an old TV police show like Miami Vice, with 80s guitar riffs and all). Musically the game isn't a total wreck, but it's certainly nowhere near being memorable or a very tasty gravy. Voice actors also suck the life out of the game ever possibly heightening itself to a provocative point. Boring nobodies cover the slew of easily forgettable characters. Dully unimpressive repetitive chatter forms in exaggerated tough guy dialogue like, "Banditos straight ahead," "Scratch one bad guy," and "Cover me!" Whenever your teammates or the team leader talks though, the comments are filtered through a fizzling radio wave as if they were communicating from far away. But, they're always close enough that dialogue seems truly fake. And why is it that the enemies yell "Die" before and after they get a bullet put into them?

Bottom Line
One of them. One of those. One know. That's what Delta Force: Black Hawk Down is. You look at the game, and you won't find any fascinating achievements or innovations. You won't see much virtuous qualities. This is the tactical shooter at its elementary stage. Large enough multiplayer battles it has, and a lengthy single player game it's got one of those too. What Delta Force doesn't have is much of a reason to push on and hold onto its continuity. Understated gameplay indicated by its lack of an intelligent ordinance and clearly its emptiness in a more illustrious gameplay structure, tops itself off with an outdated presentation that pushes Delta Force back to where it rightly belongs: in the first half of the last decade. Delta Force: Black Hawk Down is so last decade!

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