Monday, March 27, 2006

Gettin' My Game On!

I've just finished playing through "Call Of Duty". What an excellent game! These are screenshots from the Pegasus Bridge. Basically, you're part of a group of British Commandos holding this key point on the morning of June 6th 1944. I've seen photographs of this same structure taken around D-Day; I've read Stephen Ambrose's account of the action to take this strategic bridge (the very first Allied KIA of the invasion occurred here), and this is very convincing modeling by the folks who made this game.

In this screenshot, I'm approaching the Pegasus Bridge to begin the repulse of a German counterattack to retake the bridge from the opposite bank. I'm carrying a Bren Machine Gun, which is an odd weapon; it's like trying to fight with a weedwhacker. The stairs on the left lead to a catwalk and gantry that will face west and give me a great field of fire as the Germans approach the the bridge from the fields and houses along the opposite bank.
Here I am on the gantry, prone and about to put enfilading fire down and across the river and into the flank of the soldiers that are attacking from just beyond that small building (trust me, they're there...that's why it's called camouflage). I hold my fire until I see muzzle flashes, which are easier to see at this distance. I've spent the time waiting for good targets by marveling at the modeling and ambient features of this game. Everything seems quite realistic, this is certainly as close as I'll ever get to experiencing that morning 60 years ago. I hear the sounds of friendlies open fire and voices of the other Commandos I'm helping; excellent aural engineering, a true sense of distance.
Well, so much for a quiet morning. I've opened up with the Bren Gun and I could hear the angry little voices of the Germans who were catching it. What's cool is that I could have sat there and just watched the show. But it wasn't til I gave away my position that I started receiving suppressing fire. You can see the rounds coming in brightly. I'm on a steel catwalk against a steel bulkhead-like feature of the bridge; when the rounds started coming in it sounded like it was raining spoons!
Ah, how relaxinating.


Fred Schiller said...

T to the O-N-Y,
I enjoyed your post, but it lacked a few details that would have made it nearly perfect. Firstly, which version of Call of Duty were you playing? Secondly, which platform were you playing on?

The word on the street (at least the streets I frequent) is that Call of Duty 2on the 360 is reason enough to sell your mama's good silverware in order to buy it.

Speaking of wasting time playing games (which we just were--check above if you doubt me) I couldn't sleep last night so I spent/wasted a few quality hours playing Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal. It's not my favorite of the series, but Dakota had left itin the PS2 and I was too lazy to get up and find something new to play. I enjoy the gameplay of the R&C games, but the character and environment design really puts the frosting on the cake. (and I'm not just saying that because I happen to like frosting and cake, either together or on their own). It's no wonder that Insomniac Games was voted one of the top one hundred most fun places to work at in all the US. Too bad for me they never seen to need a writer.

Anyway, now I want to go kill some Germans, since you've put that in my head. But of course I mean the old timey Germans, not the new and forgiven ones like me. Grrr, Hitler was bad, right? I mean, what a jerk! I need to go find a good Nazi killin' game, because they were simply the worse.

Speaking of crazy Germans, I was watching Sky Captain on cable the other night and was astounded by how well the rocketship in the end was designed. It was a work of art. The movie has its share of flaws, but it's also got some great design going on (if you don't count the stuff that was ripped off from Wally Wood and the sci-fi paperback illustrators)

Tony Akins said...

hey, Fred
That's Call of Duty for Mac OSX. I've spend a lot of time on Medal of Honor for the same platform If it's the satisfaction of putting fascist to the gun, let me just say that Medal of Honor is a little more sadistic in satisfying that need; the troops you fight against in MoH are fairly vocal; they swear in shocked surprise if you appear abruptly; they'll fumble with weapons; they'll cry out in pain and surprise (cursing you, calling for their mothers); there's even a death rattle or two. Just be warned these the Germans modeled in MoH are crafty marksmen; they'll peek around/over cover to sight you, then let loose with a round or burst from a carbine or an mg44 without looking, and usually find the bullseye. Plus there's guard dogs in Moh. I hated them, and I'm a dog lover! But the guard dogs are unnerving when they charge you. But I have to say, that of the two CoD was more fun and immersive; each game has a tank level where you command and fight, but in Call of Duty you are part of a phalanx of T34s against roving Panzers. It's cool. Oh that's the other thing, Fred; you play as American, British and Russian. Let me tell you, the Ruskies had it tough. That whole scene from that movie with Jude Law, crossing the Volga to Stalingrad ("Enemy at the Gates"?) start there. The Russian campaign carries you right to the storming of the Chancellory in Berlin. The street fighting is really well portrayed, with plenty of grenade tossing, sewer running and turning of mg42's on charging SS. MoH plays very much like a first person shooter clothed in Olive Drab, CoD just seems to really put you in the history. Get it!!!

Hart said...

Cool! I'll be sure to pick it up for my PowerBook G4!
Screen shots look amazing.

Btw Tony...did you get my messages I left on your answering machine? Don't mean to be a pest. Please contact me. Thanks.

-- Hart (

Tony Akins said...

Thanks Hart. I'll be in the studio at some point tomorrow and I'll drop you a line!