Sun, Dec 14, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Games Reviews

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Halo (最後一戰) International distributor: Microsoft Local distributor: Microsoft Taiwan Platform: Chinese for PC and XBOX already available

Since the release of Xbox, Halo is the first Microsoft game to have really made a splash, with the game selling over 3 million sets worldwide, and has now made its much anticipated transition to PC. Although it is a first-person shooter (FPS), Halo also incorporates adventure and fantasy, putting it into a new league.

The year is 2552. Planet Earth still exists, but overpopulation has forced many of her former residents to colonize other worlds. Faster-than-light travel is now a reality, and Earth's unified government, through the United Nations Space Command, has put its full weight behind the colonization effort. Inevitably, this leads to conflict with an alien force, which, interestingly enough, is an alliance of religious fanatics who declare humanity an affront to the gods. Pushed to the limit, the forces of the United Nations Space Command are reduced to a single ship carrying the last of mankind's elite military forces, called Spartan II's.

To do this on PC, the Xbox version of the game has been considerably augmented, offering enhanced graphics, online game options and additional maps and levels. As for the interface, keyboard and mouse control provides greater precision, and with compatibility with advanced hardware components, is able to achieve a definition of 1,600 by 1,200.

According to Chiang Ching-ming (蔣鏡明) of the Online Game biweekly, Halo breaks away from a simplistic Hollywood film stories which have served as the models for so many games and involves gamers in complex scenarios in which human character and the devices of a devious enemy must all be taken into account.

The major battles of the Second World War are viewed through the eyes of different combatants in Call of Duty, the new game developed by the team that brought out Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. Fight through the chaos of Stalingrad or the Normandy landings, with a greater depth of realism than ever before.

These battles, and the others in Call of Duty have all featured in earlier FPS games, but effects are even better with the use of an enhanced Quake III game engine, creating an even higher level of playability. If you are stunned by shells, the view presented to you is blurred and chaotic, the kind of detail that gives the game great realism.

With a choice of campaigns fought by US, British and Russian troops, there are plenty of environments from rolling hills to bitter winter battles, defensive actions and paratroop assaults. The ultimate aim: to take Berlin.

The actions range from large engagements of armor to urban warfare at its most unpredictable. While Call of Duty might not be the biggest name in the game billboard, its design team has focused on historical accuracy and has given added excitement to small-scale engagements than was present in earlier games such as Medal of Honor. While there is much of the first-person shooter in this game, there is also a demand for teamwork with non-player characters, which greatly enriches the game.

The fate of Middle Earth is in your hands. In Lord of the Ring: Return of the King, JRR Tolkien's epic story draws to its conclusion, as the ring draws near to Mount Doom and the dark forces converge on the last bastions of humanity.

This is the second game by EA based on the classic fantasy novel. Compared to The Two Towers, there is plenty of innovation and technical improvements that make The Return of the King a must for ardent game players.

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