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by Gail Helmer

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Monday June 10, 2002

PC News
Novalogic's Black Hawk Down Stirs Up Controversy
Reuters is reporting that Novalogic's latest first person shooter, based on the botched 1993 raid in Somalia, Delta Force: Black Hawk Down is drawing controversy. Some critics question whether the game risks blurring the line between history and entertainment and altering perceptions about the bloodiest firefight in U.S. military history since Vietnam. Some even speculate it could lead to games about other tragedies -- maybe even Sept. 11. -- and NovaLogic says it has a game in the works about U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. That title is Delta Force: Task Force Dagger.

Mark Bowden, the author of "Black Hawk Down" the best-selling book about the Somali raid, said he declined to be involved with the game because it was not in line with his purpose in writing the critically acclaimed non-fiction book. "We were approached by them and I just told my agent I didn't want to be involved," Bowden told Reuters. "To me there's a qualitative difference between making a game and telling a story."

NovaLogic said that Delta Force: Black Hawk Down was patriotic, intended in part to educate the public about the U.S. mission in Somalia. Marcus Beer, a spokesman for NovaLogic, said the last mission of the game is the one depicted in "Black Hawk Down," though he said it will steer away from the actual fate of that mission so as not to offend anyone, and will exclude scenes of bodies being dragged through streets.

"We've had a lot of positive feedback from the military community about this," Beer said, noting two former members of the elite Delta Force are advising NovaLogic on the game, including one commando who actually fought in Mogadishu.

"The whole notion that you would make this part of your entertainment regimen strikes me as a little creepy," Prof. Robert Thompson, director of the Centre for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, told Reuters. [More...]

E3 Coverage of Delta Force: Black Hawk Down

IL-2 Sturmovik 1.1 Upgrade Released
Ubi Soft today announced that it has released a free upgrade for its multi-award winning WWII combat flight simulation title, IL-2 Sturmovik, in conjunction with game developer 1C Maddox Games. The free IL2-Sturmovik 1.1 Upgrade will include 10 new planes and a number of improvements to the already impressive simulation. Click here to download the upgrade from the Ubi Soft site.

"This free upgrade demonstrates the continued commitment from Ubi Soft and 1C to the IL-2 Sturmovik community as they anxiously await the release of IL-2 Sturmovik: The Forgotten Battles this Fall," said Matt Wagner, producer for Ubi Soft Entertainment. "With the addition of new aircraft and continuing refinements to the original game, IL-2 Sturmovik continues to set the bar for quality while delivering an unmatched level of realism and replayability."

The IL-2 Sturmovik 1.1 Upgrade also adds new features including a game events log file and notification messages for pilot kills in online games. All of the new planes in the free upgrade have been modeled in exacting detail to include 3D modeling, textures, flight dynamics, and weapon systems. New flyable aircraft added in the upgrade include:

  • Messerschmitt Bf-109 E-4 German fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf-109 E-4/B German fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf-109 E-7/B German fighter
  • Focke-Wulf FW-190 A-8 German fighter
  • Polikarpov I-16 type 18 Soviet fighter
  • Polikarpov I-16 type 24 Soviet fighter
  • Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 (UB MG variant) Soviet fighter
  • Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 (ShVAK cannon variant) Soviet fighter
  • Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 AM-38 Soviet fighter.
  • Yakovlev Yak-1 Soviet fighter
New Screens: New World Order
We have more new screenshots for you from, New World Order. Set for release in September 2002, New World Order, is a single and multiplayer team based shooter developed in Sweden by Termite Games. The story takes place in the very near future. Gamers play a rookie member of the Global Assault Team, a commando squad created by international powers to take on a dangerous group of freelance terrorist factions better known as The Syndicate.

Infogrames Unveils Operation Wargame Series
Infogrames has announced three new games in its Operation arcade-style wargame series: Operation Tiger Hunt, Operation Steel Tide, and Operation War in the Pacific. All three games are set during World War II, and are scheduled for release later this year.

Operation Tiger Hunt lets players assume control of an M4 Sherman tank in a battle against German forces. Missions will take place in villages, beaches, and farms. The game is in development at Digital Fusion, and it is scheduled for release in August.

Operation Steel Tide lets players assume the role of the captain of a classified World War II-era submarine. They will undertake a series of mission set in the Pacific's canyon mazes, underwater caves, harbors, and open seas. The game, which combines action and strategy elements, is being developed by Screaming Games for release in September.

Operation War in the Pacific will let players defend the American fleet from Japanese attacks in a series of battles among the Pacific islands. The rotating 3D gallery shooter will include a number of historical battles, including Midway, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. The game is in development at Running Dog Software and is scheduled for release in November.

Military News
Boeing Delivers 30th AH-64D Apache to RNLAF
The Royal Netherlands Air Force, or RNLAF, has accepted delivery of its 30th Boeing (NYSE: BA) AH-64D Apache multirole combat helicopter in a ceremony held at Boeing in Mesa. The commander in chief of the RNLAF, Lt. Gen. D.L. Berlijn, accepted the final aircraft under a 1995 contractual agreement.

Representatives of the RNLAF, the U.S. Army, the Apache industry team, and Arizona government and civic leaders attended the ceremony. The first AH-64D for The Netherlands was delivered in April 1998, although RNLAF pilots began to fly AH-64A Apaches leased from the U.S. Army two years earlier. In 1996, 23 RNLAF AH-64A Apache pilots and support crews became the first international unit to complete the U.S. Army's intensive collective training program.

AH-64D Apaches flown by the RNLAF also logged a major Apache milestone -- the first international deployment of AH-64Ds -- when the RNLAF aircraft were sent to Djibouti, Africa, in support of a NATO peacekeeping mission.

The RNLAF uses its Apaches for armed escort and reconnaissance duties. Both are new capabilities for that service, which had not flown armed helicopters in the past.

The AH-64D Apache fulfills a wide range of reconnaissance and combat missions, most without the need to reconfigure ordnance loads and electronic systems between missions. The advanced, multi-mission AH-64D Apache features fully integrated avionics and weapons plus state-of-the-art digital communications capabilities that enable real-time, secure transfer of battlefield information to air and ground forces. The AH-64D incorporates a series of enhancements that make it more survivable in combat, readily deployable and easier to maintain.

U.S. Says Thwarts Al Qaeda Dirty Bomb Attack
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. authorities said on Monday they had captured a suspected American al Qaeda operative carrying out reconnaissance for an attack on the United States with a radioactive dirty bomb. Abdullah al Muhajir, also known as Jose Padilla, was detained more than a month ago, on May 8, after flying into the Chicago O'Hare International Airport from Pakistan and was now in a naval brig in South Carolina, officials said. [More...]

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