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Medal of Honor – can it stand up to Allied Assault?

The release of the bearded reboot of Medal of Honor is about a week away as of this writing, and we’ve got high hopes that it’ll be able to yank the franchise back into the limelight after years of so-so releases. If it’s going to live up to its title, though, Medal of Honor has some pretty big shoes to fill, and while it might be unreasonable of us, we hope we’ll be able to call it a worthy successor to its towering ancestor: Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, arguably the single most important World War II game ever made.


Above: With one of the most memorable beach-invasion levels ever created

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault was NOT the first to do a lot of things. It was not the first game to introduce hordes of computer-controlled allies into combat. It was not the first to incorporate a rousing score to complement the gunfire and explosions. It was not the first to depict D-Day. And it certainly wasn’t the first to do World War II. Heck, it wasn’t even the first Medal of Honor game. Yet it was the first to tie all of these things together into one of the most beloved WWII shooters of all time. With the next installment so close, we decided to take a look back at exactly what made Allied Assault so great – and to hope Medal of Honor can do it one better.


Squad-based combat

Developers using the early Quake III engine had a hard time with persistent and believable NPC teammates, and MoH:AA was no different. However, if any game should get a gold star for trying, it’s Allied Assault. The game even opened with the player character huddled in the back of a truck with a squad of Army Rangers, which turned out to offer a good, long look at what was to come.

While most developers might have gone the lazy way and destroyed the truck, with the player character being the only survivor (a la Half-Life: Opposing Force), we actually get to fight alongside the Rangers for the majority of the level. The result is a whirlwind of brief firefights, as your squad efficiently wades through the goose-steppers toward the objective. Some devs might have said ‘good enough’ and made the rest of the game a solo op only, but Allied Assault’s creators were pioneers. In the very next level, we were given as many as two persistent teammates. The mission after D-Day, that number grew to four. And in the super-hard, oh-my-God-are-you-freaking-kidding-me mission known to the uninitiated as “Return to Schmerzen?” You get a freaking medal for keeping at least five of your boys alive.

Keeping your men intact was an incomparable pain in the ass, and yet, we always felt the compulsion to do so… if only to give the enemy someone else to shoot at.

How is MoH 2010 going to stack up? In terms of gaming, it’s a long time between 2002 and 2010. Squad based mechanics have been done, perfected and redone countless times in countless titles. MoH 2010 should do grandpappy proud – though most likely on a smaller scale, because the setting isn’t D-day. Speaking of which…

 


D-Day

Until the opening sequence of Steven Spielberg’s WW2 opus, Saving Private Ryan, it would have been difficult for the average person to imagine the horror on France’s beaches that fateful June morning in 1944. And no game offered the experience of ‘being there’ quite like Allied Assault did.

Sure, there was no blood, no dismembered limbs. Play it now, and you can see hard breaks in the level geometry if you go any further than you’re supposed to. There were never more than a dozen NPCs on the beach at a time. And yet… it was undeniably intense and terrifying. Dashing from cover to cover, tufts of sand our only indicator of how much time we had before being ripped to shreds. To our left we could see an American soldier who quit the advance in favor of the fetal position. It was breathtaking. Professional reviewers couldn’t keep themselves from comparing it to everyone’s WWII flick of choice. Here, see for yourself:

It was gripping, frightening, and as of January 22nd, 2002, the only experience of its kind short of actually having been there.

How is MoH 2010 going to stack up? Our own Tyler Wilde couldn't help but notice that the Belly of the Beast mission was a definite throwback to that iconic June morning. While the atmosphere was more calculated than the ‘everybody run forward’ dynamic on the beach, it still plausibly recreated the sheer, unrelenting terror of the Normandy invasion, but in an Afghanistan scenario. While it does not carry the same weight of tens of thousands of troops invading at once, it’s not the scale of bloodshed that counts; it’s the thought of charging toward an enemy who holds a much more advantageous position and is far more heavily fortified than you are.


Above: This looks promising 

Therefore, so long as the developers can capture the emotion of the Afghanistan war; the sheer terror of coming under ambush, or the frustrating perpetual waltz with the military bureaucracy – we could see a game as intense and gripping as the entire D-Day mission.

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19 comments

  • TheKennedyCurse - October 7, 2010 8:02 p.m.

    Yes I have played it, at least the multiplayer, and it adds nothing new at all to the genre. It actually offers less than either Bad Company 2 or Modern Warfare 2.
  • Kingsman - October 6, 2010 8:05 p.m.

    @TheKennedyCurse Have you played all of MoH 2010? Just how can you state with any certainty what it is or isn't?
  • TheKennedyCurse - October 6, 2010 7:11 p.m.

    I love how people replying think this game is any better than CoD. It's CoD-lite. I really hope people aren't fooled into shelling out cash for this mediocre FPS.
  • philipshaw - October 6, 2010 5:10 p.m.

    Allied Assault was and still is the best MOH game, loved it back in 2002 when I had a good PC that I could play games on
  • Pruman - October 6, 2010 1:48 p.m.

    Ah, MOHAA. Aside from the awesome single-player, my gang of nerd friends and I used to play it nightly over the college LAN, at least until Battlefield 1942 came out. The shotgun was always off-limits (we'd gang up against anyone who broke that rule) and Stalingrad was the site of some truly legendary sniper duels. My friend even made a custom map that mimicked the base layout from Stargate SG-1. I am highly skeptical about this effort, though. As soon as I heard about it, I smelled a cynical cash-in, a la Move and Kinect. I'll grant that some cash-ins can be great (BioShock 2, for example), but they're rare. Other examples of cash-ins: Pl
  • keefster - October 6, 2010 1:46 p.m.

    Medal of Honor 2010 will be my first MOH game since rising sun when I was alot younger... Still, COD bites cock now with the whole IW falling out. I love halo but I need other series out there. And this will be it... I can't afford it cause I am saving up for a gaming Computarr but I figure when I get it i will get this game to play it on.
  • Austin_SJ - October 6, 2010 1:42 p.m.

    I seem to remember one Allied Assault level when you were working your way through a sniper infested town while planes engaged in a dog fight overhead. It was one of the most pefectly designed single player levels ever, and just as you took out the last sniper (in a saving private ryan style belltower), the RAF plane sent the messerschmitt crashing into a nearby building. Epic.
  • EdDeRs1 - October 6, 2010 12:03 p.m.

    well for the sound track one man can replace an orchestral symphony, if you get the right man, have Steve Vai write the theme and u will end up with someting as epic as his version of Halo 2's theme, that was cut from the final game. but for mission variaty Reach is the main foe, in one mission u can go from trying to reach a landing pad armed with just a pistol to escortin civs to evac zones to an assulat with jet packs, or from silently entering an enemy base and taking out the gaurds to driveing a tank in an assult to destroy 2 massive AA guns and rescuing your squad and retaking a captured base. in other words, MoH has major compition.
  • Baron164 - October 6, 2010 2:51 a.m.

    I loved Allied Assault and it was the last MOH game I played. I'm excited for the new MOH. I'm just hoping that it really delivers.
  • whiteknight1981 - October 6, 2010 1:53 a.m.

    Man! That MoH music sure brought me back. The music really stirs me up thinking that I really am a war hero or playing through the Steven Spielburg movie. I remember playing this game over and over again, and loading it up every year on Memorial Day. I freakin loved this game! And this was before I became a gaming snob and thumbed my nose at kinda OK games. I wonder what the resident game music guru Brett Elston thinks about the Allied Assault music.
  • HaitianSensation - October 6, 2010 1:38 a.m.

    CoD games are all "Michael Bay games" with action and very little heart (not that it's bad, I still love them) but MoH:AA was essentially Saving Private Ryan: The Game in that it had action but also realistic. It's the same thing with MP, CoD is basically "one man army" while MoH is about teamwork. I'm still gonna buy MoH and CoD but probably wait for CoD later. I need my FPS to have some heart in it.
  • Helios - October 6, 2010 1:29 a.m.

    I still love Allied Assault, and the music brings me feelings of nostalgia. *Sigh*
  • batmanboy11 - October 6, 2010 1:26 a.m.

    I doubt it will be better or as good.
  • gilgamesh310 - October 6, 2010 1:17 a.m.

    Allied Assault was an incredible game for it's time. I remember being incredibly excited about the d-day landings level. I thought it was the best level of any game ever when I first witnessed it. I don't think that the new medal of honour which doesn't even bother with a subtitle can even hope to measure up though. Times have certainly changed since. Even when the first call of duty came out it was quite a step up above allied assault. I will always look back on allied assault though as a treasure for the ages. Without it there probably would never be any call of duty games.
  • Xleathery420X - October 6, 2010 1:13 a.m.

    the operators in that vid should be showin arma 2 or Project reality or arma 2: project reality
  • nadrewod999 - October 6, 2010 12:45 a.m.

    If it wasn't for the fact that this year has almost completely drained my "game budget", I would definitely buy this. Maybe if a (former) friend gives me money to buy Black Ops, I'll buy this instead. I WILL NOT BUY ANOTHER CoD game EVER AGAIN! The combination of IW's destruction (About 1/2 of the staff there, mostly the lead designers, either left or were fired because of Kotick's mismanagement), CoD's serialization (coming out at least once a year), and Kotick's complete incompetence make me want to personally see Activision file bankruptcy and give its powers to smaller, more talented publishers/developers, like Epic, Double Fine, or even Treyarch (they are an innocent by-stander in this crossfire, as almost any gamer can see by their brilliant movie-game adaptation of Spider-Man 2). reCAPTCHA: repling was Repelling down the cliff face to silent-kill the two guards in MW2 was one of my favorite parts of that game (which I bought pre-owned).
  • Ninja-KiLLR - October 6, 2010 12:19 a.m.

    I liked that level where you impersonated a german officer plus i believe it was in a sub base which i like all sub base levels except for the one in MW2. but back on subject. I really hope the new MoH will be great. even though i wont be getting it any time soon.
  • The_Tingler - October 6, 2010 12:07 a.m.

    Allied Assault was truly revolutionary at the time, and was only bettered by the original Call of Duty... which was by the same team. It's still great though, and definitely the best MOH game.
  • kneehighsocks - October 6, 2010 12:02 a.m.

    Allied Assault is sitting on top of my computer to this day. Hope MoH 2010 will be that good.

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