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Game Review of:
Tactical Ops 2.1
An Unreal Tournament Add-on


From the January, 2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

Warning: This game is a first person shooter game that may not be appropriate for everyone.  Parents should review the game and discuss it with their children if they decide to let them play it. First person shooter games first became popular on the PC with Wolfenstien 3D and Doom.  If you are offend by guns and shooting this game and this review is not for you

Unreal Tournament is a very popular game that won Game of the Year from half a dozen different gaming organizations such as C/Net GameCenter and Computer Gaming World magazine.  It is a game based on running around different maps shooting each other while trying to stay alive and capture the enemies flag, accomplish a mission or dominate three key points on the map.  This has long been a favorite of many of the LAN parties and some begin tournaments with prizes ranging up to the tens of thousands of dollars.  People have created many maps, mods and mutators for Unreal Tournament or UT as most gamers refer to it.  (A mutator is an add in that modifies a weapon, adds minor enhancements, etc. to the game.  Mods are add-ons that change the way the game is played or the whole environment of the game.)

Tactical Ops is a Mod. While UT was setup as a futuristic tournament between combatants much like the gladiators, Tactical Ops or TO changes the game objective to one of rescuing the hostages from terrorists or keeping the terrorists from blowing up the depot, etc.  Tactical Ops, which is currently out in beta testing, comes as a simple to install program and does require you to already have Unreal Tournament installed.  As you select the type of game you want to play a start menu box will come up. From there you can set what map you want to play and the duration of the round (we like about five minutes). You can also set the number of bots and their experience level.  There is a setting for friendly fire here and you might want to set it to zero for your first few rounds.  When you begin the game you get to choose whether you will be on the Special Forces team or one of the Terrorists and choose what your character looks like.  If you have a good graphics card with 3D support the graphics and detail are incredible.  The textures used on the walls and characters are very detailed and realistic.

Now you receive a mission briefing and $1000 to buy your weapons, ammo, armor, etc.  You and your team, which may be computer controlled characters or “bots”, fan out and begin your mission.  Typically you will have a chance to rescue the hostages or keep the terrorists from blowing something up.

As I (Joe) begin this particular round, I buy a full set of armor (helmet, Kevlar vest and thigh pads - $900), which leaves me enough cash to buy some extra ammo for my pistol.  Our mission: rescue the hostages and stop the terrorists.  As we begin this round we have no idea where the terrorists and the hostages are so we begin searching the area.  As we enter one warehouse, we begin taking gunfire and have to shoot back and kill a couple of terrorists.  The “bot” that is covering me, Bruce Sweelis, gets killed in the process and I have a minor wound.  I find two of the hostages in one of the back rooms and tell them to follow me.  Carefully we make our way back to hostage rescue zone rescuing these two hostages and I am rewarded with money I can use to buy better weapons.  Of course, while I am doing this the rest of my team is out trying to get the rest of the hostages and take out the terrorists.  As soon as our mission is accomplished or the terrorists kill all of the Special Forces people on my team, the scenario restarts.  Giving you a chance to do better this time.  You get additional money before starting the next round and get to keep what you have if you were not killed.  You can also get money by finding evidence such as dirty money, cocaine or marijuana and serving to the end of the round.  This allows you to get better weapons and buy more ammo.

Using the sniper rifle you can zoom in on a terrorists threat and take out the bad guy from a distance.

For the weapons you start with a knife and a pistol but can buy one grenade, one small weapon and one high power weapon.  Grenades include smoke bombs, concussion grenades, flash bombs and high explosive (HE Grenades).  Pistols available include the Beretta 92FS and Desert Eagle.  Mid-size weapons include a Benelli M3 and a Navy H&K MP5 with silencer.  Rifles include FAMAS Auto Rifle, Steyr Aug, Colt M4 w/ M203, HK PSG1, and HK SR9.  The terrorists have another set of equivalent weapons that are more of the “street” variety such as the Mac10 and Glock 18.  Each weapon has its own distinctive sound just like the real weapons and during game play they behave much like the real weapons.  When firing an automatic weapon, it simulates the gun kicking which tends to make the gun shift up and to the side with each shot forcing you to keep moving the gun back towards your target.  Unlike Unreal Tournament, Tactical Ops also makes you reload between clips making the game more realistic.  Now you have to stop and think after a gun fight about whether you should eject your clip and put in a new one before going on wasting the shells still in the clip or take a chance on stepping into room of terrorists with only a couple of bullets left in the clip. 

To play this game you must own a copy of Unreal Tournament available at most computer stores and can download the Tactical Ops Mod from the Internet at www.tactical-ops.to.  There are also some great map sites out on the web here are a few ones we like

You can even connect up and team with your friends on the Internet or on a Local Area Network to play this game.  As long as you are not offended by the shooting, this is a very interesting game to play.

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