By Eric T. Baker
Electronic Arts has released a director’s edition of Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault that might be of more interest to military history fans than the original edition. The director’s edition still contains the 35 single player levels of the original Pacific Assult game with the player taking the role of Marine Private Tommy Conlin. As Conlin, players work their way through the major battles of World War II in the Pacific, starting with Pearl Harbor and ending on Tarawa Island. The game also still contains the multiplayer elements allowing the player to battle with up to 31 other players over LAN or internet.
The director’s cut adds a WWII propaganda poster gallery, a poster of the game’s “Airfield” multi-player map, and several DVD features. These features include a light machine gun for game play that is only in the DC, a WWII timeline presentation, video interviews with the WWII veterans that were used to create the game, a feature on the Silent Drill Platoon, and a documentary on the propaganda used by both sides. Players who already have the game won’t need to buy it again just for these features, but players who haven’t tried this simulation should definitely get this edition.
Super Army War from Atlus U.S.A. is one of of only a few modern combat simulators created for Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance. Yes, players either use their own or borrow their kid’s GBA and fight a modern war while they commute. Of course, SAW is not a rigorous simulation; it owes far more to arcade scrollers than it does to tabletop simulations. That said, it does use real world units and occurs in the present day. It lets the player fly either a combat jet or an attack helicopter, and gives them limited tactical control over various ground units. SAW will not give players a feel of being a real fighter pilot, but it is take-anywhere fun.
A far more realistic new video game is Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2 from Ubi Soft for the PS2. This is the first Clancy game that has been created for the PS2. Like the other Ghost games, it puts the player in the world of the elite Ghost Recon Special Forces team. In this game, players take the role of Ghost Recon Captain Scott Mitchell. The year is 2007 and the Ghosts are off to North Korea to stave off a possible war.
The pull of this game is controlling a small infantry unit using real equipment that is currently in development for the US armed forces. Battles are fought against real world foes using real world weapons. The designers employ an advanced game engine that makes the action feel about as close to real-life as a video game is currently capable of being. The game also has a multiplayer mode and can be played on-line with voice chat.