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DELTA FORCE REVIEW by ... Maurice Fitzgerald
  In Delta Force, which is based upon the U.S. Army’s elite Special Forces unit, players take on real-world style Delta Force missions in extremely detailed terrain with the ability to see and shoot for miles in every direction. Missions include eliminating biological/chemical weapons threats, stealing enemy intelligence, and capturing airfields among other assignments.  The gameplay is intensified by the large-scale multiplayer aspect available via NovaWorld, a service provided to customers free of charge with the purchase of NovaLogic games.

With realistic first person shooters starting to gain momentum due to the popularity of Redstorm Entertainments Rainbow Six, Novalogic has brought to the table their version of a first/third person shooter in the guise of Delta Force (in stores now). I’ve had the final for about 2 weeks and in that time I’ve been putting it through its paces to see how it stacks up against the competition in the realm of combat shooters.

While this is based around a real world unit and real world weaponry the action is not solidly planted in reality and is more along the lines of a Quake shooter than a Rainbow Six. With an emphasis heavily on the twitch action of those style shooters and long range sniping in multiplayer, this is a very lite game which won’t give you too much of a cerebral challenge. Instead you may find your fingers hurting from the constant movement and firing and the only strategy is keeping yourself alive.

When I first saw Delta Force at E3 and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, then along came the demo and I was clamoring for it along with everyone else. With the continuing popularity of Rainbow Six, attention has been placed on the path of realism based shooters, so this game has come under close scrutiny by gamers all over the web.

The greatest attention and greatest point of debate has been Novalogics use of their proprietary Voxelspace engine and not 3D acceleration. Although it's a great note of flattery to compare this one to Rainbow Six, it's really not fair. It is a totally different game; much more action oriented than Rainbow Six and both games are fun in their own respect.

The reasoning behind the Voxelspace engine use is to give us a huge playground in which to shoot and loot, something that accelerated games cannot do beyond a couple of hundred meters. (I’ll speak more about that later.) While I applaud Novalogics efforts in bringing us a never before seen size of playing area for a ground pounder game, I am also a bit disappointed at the steep hardware requirements needed to play DF with both good resolution and frame rate.

For those with straight Pentiums you’ll get a playable looking screen, it will take some getting used to but it’s fun once you’ve made the adjustment. If every gamer had a PII I’d agree this would be a great thing, but not all gamers have the hardware to enjoy this one to the fullest. Either way read on about what you can expect out of Delta Force.

Let’s start by saying it up front, this is NOT a combat simulation. If you’re looking for a real world simulation with a strong hold on reality stick with Rainbow Six. If you like your action fast, furious and crazy like Quake then you’ll be more than happy with this one. The real strategy in this one will come in the form of multiplayer Capture The Flag (CTF) and King Of The Hill (KOH), as these require teamwork and tactical movement very much like paintball.

The game comes with 40 missions ranging through 5 campaigns in areas such as Indonesia, Peru, Uzbekistan and Chad. You can choose to play in either a ‘realism’ mode which will get you killed with a couple shots to the body or in a more traditional action mode where there are power-ups available to keep you going through the fight. You also will have other Delta Force teams (Alpha and Charlie) available in a lot of your missions in support of you but you have no control over them, keep in mind this is not a strategy shooter like Rainbow Six.
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I fired this one up while reading through the manual that comes with the game. The manual covers all the game mechanics you’ll need and gives a rundown on weapons you’ll use.

Along with the manual comes the traditional Novalogic keyboard overlay, which I’ve always felt was a great addition to their games to give quick help while under fire. The manual is 19 pages long and it reflects the amount of info you’ll need to know to get playing. Not much preparation is needed here with the emphasis on action.

Once into the game itself I was overwhelmed by a feeling of déjà vu, “hey, I’ve been here before!” The first mission is the same mission we’ve all seen in the demo. Stopping the druglords is your priority in the first campaign. It’s from this mission I first found out that, "yes, you do have other Delta Force troopers out there with ya, and no you do not have any control over them… bummer!" They follow their own scripted routines but there is some randomization, so they don’t always do the same thing every time.

They will also radio in sitreps to you as to their status and enemy disposition which gives you a feeling of being part of a team effort even though you have no control tactically. Although the actions of your AI teams are scripted, I must say they do act pretty smart most of the time and their actions are all in support of you as the gamer. So you don’t have to worry about preserving their lives. Let them die to preserve yours where needed you don’t be penalized for them dying.

There are some instances where you may not have to complete the mission by yourself. There was one situation in which I found myself stuck in a heavy crossfire and was unable to move. I continued to return fire and while doing so my fellow troopers continued the mission, next thing I know as I closed on the objective the mission end screen popped up. The AI troopers saved my skin! While some gamers may not like that and feel it takes away from the fun you should keep in mind that when you’re in deep kimchi it’s nice to know you’re not completely alone.

On the other hand the enemy AI has a combination of good and bad characteristics. Shoot at an enemy and he may attempt to flee or hit the dirt to make himself harder to hit while he tries to zoom in on you. Those are some nice touches especially the hitting the dirt part as this is a realistic reaction. On the attack the enemy AI will blindly rush at you at times or in seemingly aimless patterns, sometimes even back and forth as in a shooting gallery (hey where’s my kewpie doll for nailing that sucker?!).

I don’t know if this is an attempt at mirroring a zig-zagging defensive posture but it gives the enemy an arcadish look and feel. Other times you will see a sentry just sitting behind his defensive position while the entire area is lit up like a Christmas tree just waiting for you to set off his ‘trigger’ to spring into action, this makes them easy pickings at long range. 

The missions overall are a nice assortment of action and one can easily play through them all with a few days of concentrated play. The replay value will depend greatly on multiplayer.

You’ll have the opportunity  to use a lot of the different weapons available to you in this game to get through these missions as well as for use in multiplayer matches. The weapons available are: M4, MP5, M249 SAW, Remington M40A1 Sniper Rifle, Barrett Light .50 Sniper Rifle, Satchel Charges, Claymores, LAAW’s, .45 Pistol, .22 Silenced Pistol, Hand and 40 MM Grenades, binoculars and a laser designator to paint targets for offboard artillery. A good armory, though I must say the common weapon in multiplayer is the M4: with its combination of 40mm grenade launcher and 4x scope attached you’re a one man wrecking crew.

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Last Updated November 1st, 1998 

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