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Download Operation Body Count

Operation Body Count
 
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One thing iD has always been better at than making computer games is selling computer game engines. This is true today about their superior Doom 3 engine, and it was true ten years ago with the Wolfenstein engine. When iD released their incredible Doom in 1993, it unleashed a storm of demand for games of a new genre, first person shooters (FPSs). Most game developers were not willing to wait three years for their homemade engines to mature, so they opted instead to licence an existing one. iD uncharacteristically would not licence out their Doom engine (or maybe they asked too much for it), but they were willing to give up the secrets of their previous FPS, Wolfenstein. There is no argument which is the better engine; Doom beats Wolfenstein in every way. However, if you did not have the option and were willing to work with slightly outdated technology, you could make a decent FPS. Rise of the Triad was made like this, but that's not what this review is about.

Operation Body Count by Capstone Software was released in 1994 and sported some less than state-of-the-art graphics and mediocre gameplay. We cannot compare Body Count to Doom; the comparison would be unfair and, it has to be said, the graphics in Body Count are better than those found in Wolfenstein. In terms of gameplay, though, Body Count is little better then Wolfenstein.

The United Nations building in New York has been taken over by terrorists and you are assigned to retake the building. To do this you need to move up floor by floor, killing terrorists and an assortment of other bad guys. An uninspiring storyline, but since the father of all FPSs has no real story either, we cannot complain. As you start the game you need to gain entrance into the building through the sewers. For some reason giant mutated rats and sewage monsters made of green slime have come to the aid of the terrorists and attack you as you make your way to the main building. This could just be me, but if you want a real-world situation like a hostage situation in the UN building, fantasy creatures like giant rats take away from the realism. This is not the only problem Body Count has; the levels are large and every part looks similar. To make your way around you need to use the auto map feature constantly (press Tab). The levels look similar from level to level as well. Whole sections of levels are the same as ones you have already been to. Very often you are just running around trying to find a spot you missed, so you can continue to the next level. Also, going to the next level can be a pain; normally in FPSs you have an entrance and an exit, but in Body Count those are the same thing (except in those levels where it isn't). Sound confusing? Well, it was. I spent about an hour in one level trying to find a place I missed, until I finally tried using the entrance for the level. Then, at last, I could move on. On entering a new level you might find yourself in a closed room. As in the real UN building, you must tap on the walls until a section magically slides open before your eyes and lets you move into the real level. By this time the game looked very frustrating to me.

Body Count does have some redeeming qualities. The feel of the weapons might not be as good as in Doom, but they are a lot better than in Wolfenstein. The levels are dressed with things like tables, overhead projectors and the like, making it look more like a real office. Windows can be shot out and bullet holes appear on the walls when shot at. The coolest thing in Body Count is that you operate in a team rather than alone. Each level you enter you are accompanied by four team members. They walk around and open fire on any terrorists they see. You can take charge of them by pressing “a”. It’s a good way of getting a fresh start if you are low on health. In later levels you get very nice weapons, like a rocket launcher and a flame-thrower. All well worth playing for.

Body Count is not the best FPS of its era -- to be quite honest, it's one of the worst. But you can still enjoy playing Body Count. If you don’t have Doom and fancy an old-timer, Body Count is good for a few hours of fun. After that you will tire of the endless levels and monotonous gameplay.

Capstone Software made several other games, of which Witchcraft is probably the most well-known. They also made another game based on a later iD engine (the build engine used in Duke3D) called Techwar). Generally ridiculed for making substandard games, Capstone Software got out of the gaming industry in the mid-nineties, but the company still exists today and now does IT work for companies that do not require good graphics.


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Reviewed by: The Niles / Screenshots by: The Niles / Uploaded by: The Niles / share on facebook
 

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