Brad: Ugh. There’s few things I hate more than when a game gives the impression of allowing you multiple ways to solve it and places to explore, but in reality is just dragging you along by the nose from one scripted event to another. You see this in a lot of 1st person shooters on the PC – there will be a factory level with the convenient hole in the fence that leads to an area where someone just happened to leave a big wooden plank right across that gap that would otherwise be too big to jump across (Half-Life 2, I’m looking in your direction here), which leads to a wall you can’t possibly jump over, but wouldn’t you know it – there just happens to be some stackable crates nearby. Eventually this will bring you to a rusty grate that naturally breaks apart after a few whacks with your trusty crowbar. Some people really like these kinds of games – it feels like they’re discovering things and solving puzzles, but in reality, there’s only one possible course of action, and it’s generally so obvious that the designers might as well have painted neon green arrows along the floor.
Multiple levels of some of the most realistic looking dirt ever seen on the Genesis!
Anyway, Soldiers of Fortune is one of those kinds of games, except with an overhead perspective. Oh, and instead of solving puzzles, you just kind of wander around until you find keys, which magically make walls disappear and allow you to go farther. You know what though? This game actually was pretty fun at one time. You know, back in 1985 when it was called Gauntlet.
Stryker: Hey, if you want me to explore these levels, and do all this backtracking to find new areas that opened up, why not do me a favor and at least not make them all look exactly alike? That would make it a little easier to not get disoriented. And if for some reason you can’t pull off that modest feat, at least give me something more interesting to look at than level after level of bugs, primordial swamps, and varying shades of gray.
Mr. Do!: As always, overhead shooting and exploration go together like ice cream and getting hit by a car.