Medal of Honor PlayStation Review
Medal of Honor is a series that is deserving of its place in the gaming history books. The series might have its critics for being responsible for flooding the shelves with World War II titles, but it can’t be argued of how much of an impact EA’s FPS had on the gaming landscape.
Renowned for its historical accuracy, Medal of Honor was a game that didn’t pull any punches when it came to keeping things as authentic as possible. This meant that all the guns that you could wield were all real weapons of the day, and also respected reality in a way, which assured that little things like reloading animations were as realistic as possible.
The game began on the eve of D-Day, with you filling the shoes of world war II hero, Lt Jimmy Patterson as he made his debut as a member of The Office of Strategic Services. The storytelling was about as thin as a soggy newspaper page, but Medal of Honor’s main attraction was definitely the explosive gameplay.
Missions basically involved you blowing things up, taking out a certain type of enemy (such as the Gestapo), finding various items which were sure to aid you in the war effort and even a spot of espionage. On your one man mission to win the war you found yourself wondering through quaint towns, stinky sewers, weapons manufacturing plants, chilling mines, snowy climes and even inside of a German U-boat . The levels were pretty diverse, although strangely all of them were set during the night, which was really quite strange.
When the game was released in 1999, Saving Private Ryan was being talked about and it was actually Steven Spielberg that came up with the idea for Medal of Honor. More importantly GoldenEye was big on the N64, and PlayStation owners were crying out for their own version of the game. GoldenEye sadly never arrived, but there was no better alternative than Medal of Honor, thanks to its intricate enemy death routines.
The bloodless demise of your enemies resulted in some often over the top, but extremely satisfying animations. Like GoldenEye each enemy reacted to the exact place that each bullet hit – clutching limbs, spectacularly performing somersaults courtesy of machine guns and shotguns, crawling back behind cover, crashing to the ground in a roll, recoiling after getting their helmets knocked off their heads and even being immobilized for a short while following a few slugs to the legs, in which you could then cruelly end their lives before they were given the chance to return to their feet.
The AI of your enemies was astonishing with each German soldier boasting a higher IQ than the average enemy cannon fodder at that time. These guys could back themselves against walls and take pot-shots at you, toss grenades back at you, make themselves smaller targets by hitting the dirt and even running to avoid your gunfire. In the later stages of the game some of the enemy soldiers were equipped with bazookas, making them even more lethal.
The excellent game was backed up by a wonderful orchestral score from composer Michael Giacchino and the Northwest Sinfonia. It’s quite simply one of the greatest soundtracks to ever feature in a game, and certainly very different to anything else we had came across before having our ears stroked by it. The games atmosphere also deserves a mention, as it lands you right in the middle of a war zone with constant German chatter, the sound of planes flying overhead and echoing footsteps as the Gestapo frantically search for you in the early sewer level.
Medal of Honor is as playable in the present day as it was back in 1999, and is quite simply a game that deserves its place in the FPS hall of fame. We have no qualms about calling it one of the greatest shooters that we have ever had the pleasure to play. It’s a true classic that should be decorated in shiny medals and is deserving of a place in any shooter fans collection.