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Review: Medal of Honor - Allied Assault Reviews
Aspyr's Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MoA:AA) is a "first person shooter" (FPS) game set in World War II, and built with Id Software's Quake3 engine. It was ported to the Mac by Westlake Interactive, who are responsible for bringing some of the biggest games to the Mac (their current projects include Star Wars Jedi Knight II and Max Payne, for example).

After playing the PC demo for Medal of Honor (note to Aspyr - why no Mac demo?), the Mac version quickly found its way into my home. Read the rest of the article for a brief review of the game...

First, the big disclaimer. MoA:AA is probably not for everyone. It's quite violent, and the depictions of gun battles are relatively graphic (although nowhere near as bad as Soldier of Fortune, if you've seen that game on the PC). This is clearly not a game for the younger children in the household, especially given that the enemies are human and not some strange creature (ie Quake3).

The disclaimer aside, this game is incredibly well done. The action takes place in the 1942 - 1945 timeframe, and there are a wide variety of missions to complete. Within each mission, there are a number of sub-objectives which must each be accomplished to succeed at the overall mission. Working through the first mission alone took me a couple of hours, based on the size of the environments and the number of objectives to accomplish.

Speaking of the environments, they are very well rendered. The buildings show damage from sitting in the middle of a war zone, and everything has a gritty feel to it which is hard to describe. The use of weather and lighting effects further enhances the feelings of "being there" as you play the game.

The variety within the missions is fairly good; this isn't just a "shoot it if it moves" game. There are elements of deception (you can dress as a German officer and move around undercover), as well as varied tasks (planting bombs, destroying aircraft) that make MoA:AA more than just another first person shooter. Still, the primary emphasis is on moving from place to place while not getting killed, so there's a fair bit of shooting that occurs!

One of the most interesting aspects of the game is the use of additional characters. In many scenarios, you're partnered with another person (or a squad of people), and you try to accomplish the objectives while working as a team. There's a real feeling of loss when you see the "Captain James has died in combat" message flash on the screen; you want and need your squadmates to survive the various firefights. More than once I found myself going back to try a scenario again with different tactics to keep more of the squad with me for more of the mission.

The selection of weapons are all realistic for the timeframe, and vary from a silenced pistol to a sniper rifle to various bombs and grenades. There are also assorted fixed weapons (machine guns in turrets, a machine gun on a moving truck) which you can (and must, to survive) use from time to time.

The well done environments, great sound effects, engaging missions, and interaction with other characters all combine to create a very strong sense of "being there" as you play the game; the time I spent playing the first level last night just flew by.

On my G4/733 with the GeForce3 card, I was able to run with medium to high settings on most graphics variables at 800x600 resolution and still get decent frame rates. But MoA:AA will push your machine fairly hard; I disabled file and web sharing (and quit all running apps, of course) prior to launching the program. There are many options you can vary to get the most speed out of whatever machine you have, but Aspyr does require a 500mhz or faster processor. The game seems to run very nicely under OS X; I haven't had any unexpected quits or crashes of any sort (but you can't command-tab out while its running).

The only glitch I had was that the second mission failed to load -- it would display the objectives, but then just return to the main screen instead of loading the level. Examining the console output (hit ~ to bring it up), I noticed a message about a missing texture. I tried a number of workarounds (lower resolutions, lower texture quality, rebooting, removing RAM, etc.), but I still couldn't play the second level. Finally, I moved my "Saved Games" folder to a safe spot, deleted the game, and reinstalled it. After putting the Saved Games folder back in its proper spot, I was able to load and play the second mission with no problems at all. Quite strange, but relatively easy to fix.

You'll want a lot of free drive space to run MoA:AA -- it will eat about 1.2gb of your drive, and saved games can easily add another 100+mb (depending on how often you save) on top of that. Annoyingly, after putting 1.2gb of data on my drive, the CD is required to be in the drive when running the game (I haven't tried using an image of the CD yet, but I intend to -- I dislike having to keep the CD in the drive in order to play the game).

There's also, of course, a full multi-player game with online Internet play, but I haven't even tried that yet, so I can't comment on how it compares to Quake3's online play.

Overall, I'm quite impressed with the job that Westlake and Aspyr have done in bringing MoA:AA to the Mac. If you like FPS games and have an interest in exploring some of the World War II battles, it's probably worth a look. It's definitely getting a chunk of my free time for a while!
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Medal of Honor - Allied Assault
Authored by: eriklager on Jul 10, '02 08:41:48AM

I agree on all you said, very good game. It runs nicely on my G4 466 with Geforce 3.

The multiplayer is also very well done, with large, realistic and well designed levels.

>but you can\'t command-tab out while its running
Just press Command-H (Hide).



[ Reply to This | # ]
Command H ... doh!
Authored by: robg on Jul 10, '02 09:13:37AM

Thanks ... didn't even think to try that one!



[ Reply to This | # ]
CD not needed in drive to play
Authored by: alaric on Jul 10, '02 12:54:23PM

You do need to put the cd in the drive to start the game, however, once the game is loaded you can press (and hold) F12 to eject the cd. This does not affect gameplay adversely at all.



~alaric



[ Reply to This | # ]
Sort of what I meant to write...
Authored by: robg on Jul 10, '02 01:02:01PM

I think I knew that, but didn't write about it very eloquently ;-). Basically, I object to having to insert the CD in the first place, if it's not required for gameplay. That means I need to go dig it out of the shelf when I have 20 spare minutes for the game, and remove whatever I happened to be using at that point in time. Twenty minutes later, I reverse the process.

I'm all for protecting your investment in software development, but use a serial number key checked on the net or something (ala Quake3); requiring the CD is quite a pain...

-rob.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Even on an iBook
Authored by: Non_PC on Jul 10, '02 01:55:45PM

Just want to say I play MOHAA on my iBook (600 MHz) and it runs great.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Even on an iBook
Authored by: I M on Aug 03, '02 04:35:54PM

Is your iBook the Dual USB, 600 mhz, with the ATI128 Video card
with only 8 Megs of RAM?

I only ask as this is my machine. The only change from above is
that I have 640 MEGS of RAM.

I am currently playing Undying on my machine and it plays quite well.
I am really interested in MOH as my next purchase so I am interested
to hear what other iBook/8 MEGS VRAM users have to say!

Thanks!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Even on an iBook
Authored by: Anonymous on Oct 23, '02 11:26:31PM

its really choppy on my ibook 700mhz with 640megs RAM and 16VRAM. I tried in os9 and is was a bit cleaner but still had issues. I was NOT playable. I couldnt send it back to bestbuy so i still have it. Anyone know how i can get it to run well? I had all the settings on LOW or OFF



[ Reply to This | # ]