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Delta Force: Task Force Dagger Review

GAME INFO
publisher: NovaLogic
developer: Zombie
genre: Simulation

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
PII 400, 64MB RAM, 4MB Video Card, 200MB HD
ESRB rating: T
homepage:
www.novalogic.com/games/DFTFD

release date: Jun 27, 02
» All About Delta Force: Task Force Dagger on ActionTrip


Almost two years after the third part of one of NovaLogic's most popular game series, famous for its glorifying of US army spec ops units, here we are facing yet another sequel. Task Force Dagger is more of a mission pack, which is supposed to introduce the fans of the series to the operations that took place in Afghanistan. To be more specific, it deals with the Enduring Freedom operation performed in Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Tora Bora by special units like SFOD-Delta, 2/75th Ranger, SEAL Team 6, SFOD-SF Viper Team (Green Berets), CIA Special Operations, UK SAS 22 Regiment, Australian SASR, Canadian JTF-2, Marines Force Recon and USAF CSAR (Air Force Para-rescue).

The first thing I heard about Task Force Dagger was that it is being developed by Zombie Studios, which already has a lot of experience in this field. This made me confident that they will diligently try to innovate and expand the genre as much as possible. Now, wouldn't an average player expect something like that from a legendary series after all this time, even if it were top of the notch in gameplay and technology in the first place? But I never expected I would get a game that is practically identical to its predecessor, which had a huge amount of different bugs.

First, let's look at the AI... the weakest point of all Delta Force games. For those of you who never played Delta Force 1, 2 or 3, I can just say that it is one of the worst AI routines ever seen in a FPS. After a couple of completed missions you will have your fill of ridiculous situations like facing an enemy who got so confused that he forgot to shoot, or where he just runs by you or keeps running in place trying to phase through a wall... this looks ridiculous, especially if you have already set the level of enemy AI to 'hard'! You will practically never see your enemies run for shelter, duck, or do anything remotely intelligent. The worst thing here is that enemy positioning has been done in an equally stupid manner, so that you will have a chance to enter a room and see a group of enemy soldiers looking at the opposite wall waiting for something to pop out and say Hi. Such level-design mistakes are inexcusable.

The next thing that bothered me most is the graphics, which remained completely the same. The engine used in Task Force Dagger appeared two years ago in Land Warrior, and it is far from any decent 3D engine on the gaming scene today. This is more of a disappointment than a vexation, considering the fact that NovaLogic used to be at the very top of PC gaming industry (just remember how Comanche raised the standards concerning terrain outlooks in flight simulations). The open spaces will seem OK at first sight, but once you approach any object, you will start to notice poor texture quality and drops in frame-rate. It is a frightening fact that this game suffers from the same ailments as DF:LW (which looks practically same) on PC's that are two to three times more powerful.

All in all, it is more than obvious that the engine has reached the limits of its abilities, and that it simply cannot support better textures or higher quality models. Oh, and did I mention that DF still stands as one of the rare games which use a texture instead of an object to present the hand holding the weapon? Another thing is that there is practically no difference in level design between DF:LW and DF:TFD: - all the tents, tunnel entrances, buildings and other objects look very much the same. There are a few structures in the game - half of them cannot be entered, the other half is hardly worth entering, as they are completely empty covered with monotonous textures, with an odd barrel, casket or table here and there.

As for the physics model, well, things don't go too well there either. Starting from the weird way characters move, which makes you feel that you are in a low gravity zone (just try jumping off the scout-towers), to the way that your less than balanced weapons (There is no real difference between all weapons in the game, regardless of weather they have a sniper scope or not) work. You can fire your handgun or your MP5; one bullet will usually score you one kill, even if you do not really hit your target (and this especially goes for the sniper). The seventeen new weapons will do you absolutely no good as they all lack the good feeling they ought to have when you use them and when you score a headshot...

I don't know how to conclude. Delta Force might have been the best MP game at one point, but there hardly is a reason to speak of that aspect of the game - TFD primarily focuses on the single player missions in Afghanistan, and brings nothing new to the multiplayer facet of the series.

There. It is a real shame that we are facing the downfall of one of the first and foremost military simulations. Let's be realistic, in the sea of similar games, which keep appearing constantly, Delta Force: Task Force Dagger can only be compared to some value titles in its genre. Asking for $30 for this is a waste of $25.

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HIGHS
Another episode in the saga of the legendary Delta Force;

LOWS
Poor engine, disastrous AI, no difference in comparison to DF:LW, what was the point of publishing this even if it were just a mission pack?!

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