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WWII: Normandy Review

publisher: ValuSoft
developer: 3LV Games
genre: Shooters

P266, 64MB RAM, 50MB HDD, 4X CD-ROM
ESRB rating: M

release date: Feb 2001
» All About WWII: Normandy on ActionTrip

Ok, here in the Atrip offices we got ourselves a new champion in the league of the most quickly finished games. Only a month or two after Ure succeeded in finishing Timeline in four hours, I managed to beat him with WW2 Normandy which took me about three hours. Now I am a bit sorry that I didn't realize from the beginning that this is going to be a quickie, otherwise I would have set my stopwatch, and really try harder. I'd probably finish it in about an hour and a half... Still, I better stop wining and get on with the review, and hopefully I'll spend less time on it than I did on the game.

WW2 Normandy, the title says it all... The game deals with D-Day, Jun 6th 1944, the day when allied forces invaded Normandy. Early that day initial stages of the invasion began. Troops of the 101st and 82nd Airborne units, along with their British and Canadian counterparts in the British 6th Airborne Division, began dropping behind the German lines in order to prepare the way for the troops that would begin arriving en-masse on the Normandy beaches at dawn... You are to assume the role of one of the jolly youths that landed in Normandy that faithful night.

This game is a budget-based shooter published by Valusoft, and developed by the 3LV Games, trademark of Third Law Holding Company, which is best known for its KISS Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child. Even if you liked this game that still doesn't in any way mean you'll like Normandy. I first made the mistake of thinking otherwise, and once I heard it had been done in the LithTech engine (you know, Blood 2, Shogo and alike...) I simply had to try it out (my bad).

Visually, WW2: Normandy may seem nice at first. Only at first though, as the blurry/foggy engine with its funny palette can produce nice visuals as long as you're quite far away from any objects (anything looks good from a far, Dex - even us gaming editors - Ed). As soon as you approach anything, you'll start noticing the flaws and imperfections. First, the polygon count is very low, which isn't that bad in confined spaces, but can look really ugly when outside. This, in combination with butt-ugly large textures that restrict your movement (dense forest for instance) severely cripples the atmosphere. The open levels remind me of the "forest" levels in Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX, but they're not that bad, as LithTech still presents a far better engine than any of the pathetic PSX ports. I just cannot get it why this engine hasn't been put to better use. If my memory serves me well, Shogo had relatively large levels, and this game doesn't have anything bigger than, say 400x400 yards... The levels are relatively small, but you won't get that feeling in-game as they are all conceived as, well, sort of labyrinths, so you'll have to over every inch of the map, weather you like it or not. This is the most interesting feature concerning map design... the rest is more or less standard.

There are only ten missions, and they are sufficiently versatile, both by appearance and by your assignments. It is a real shame that they completely lack a background story and cinematics (the only two cut scenes are the intro and the end-sequence)... For instance, if you have to blow up a weapon storage facility, as soon as you get close to the boxes, your screen will say "You successfully blew up the storage house" and that's it...

The worst thing in this game are the characters and their animation. And if you were surprised because I said that the game looks like Wolfenstein 3D, do not think for a second it was because both games deal with WWII, it was because the soldiers look like, move like, and act like the ones in Wolfenstein - the original... I won't say they're too stupid (even though they are ;) but their zombie-like movement makes them look that way. They tend to calmly walk towards you probably thinking something like "Ok, several more steps, and den I'm really going to schies that no-good schwien that is shooting at me all de time!" Ok, so they can run and duck at times, but they all pick a weird moment to do it, and act far from normal and realistic behavior. This goes for the death animation as well - they look like goalies jumping to get the ball. I tried to imagine what the game would look like if the characters had been done properly like in Project IGI, or Counter-Strike (Day of Defeat maybe) and I came to the conclusion that that would be a totally new game in which I wouldn't mind level design that much.

It doesn't matter where you hit your enemies. It will take you three bullets to kill an enemy, regardless of where you hit him. The effect is the same, weather you shoot someone in a leg from 30 yards, or sneak up behind him and shoot him point-blank in the head. This goes for the rifle; it will take some more shots if you use a handgun, or less for machine gun and bazooka. The game also features grenades, mines and a machete. The good thing about this arsenal is that all the weapons are authentic. This authenticity is, however, thwarted by the fact that when you shoot or run or get shot, the screen remains absolutely still. Your enemies are using mostly the same weapons as you, but they will tend to surprise you with an odd tank or a machine-gun nest. Nevertheless, you won't be able to take their weapons and ammo, which will be compensated by the numerous backpacks containing extra ammo for at least one of your weapons and bandages which will restore a small amount of your health.

That wraps it up with the single-player mode, and for the entire game for that matter, as the developers failed to introduce any form of multiplayer mode. What would you do with this game after you finish it, I couldn't tell. I first completed it on medium difficulty, and then started playing it on "hard" level, but as there were no changes apart from a slightly increased number of enemies, I soon gave up. It was altogether like a first sexual experience - short and not too interesting... (hey, speak for yourself - Ed) just that, in contrast to the first sexual experience, I wouldn't recommend you have this one. You can buy far more interesting games for the twenty bucks you'd spend on this...


3.5   Don't Bother 

Some missions are interesting; I guess...

10 altogether, short levels, poor models and AI, few weapons... Stay clear of this game.



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