Thursday, April 28, 2011

Medal of Honor (PS1)


I'm not sure what got me into playing these games after having just repaired my PSone. I guess I was in the mood for shooters. World War 2 shooters, to be exact.

Well, it had been a while since I had played the original FPSes that started the World War 2 FPS craze so I thought now would be a good time to revisit them. Medal of Honor was the first FPS I played on a console and I remember being impressed by the controls at the time. I was, of course, familiar with the PC FPS mouse+keyboard setup so I was at first very critical of how Medal of Honor would play. That didn't last long. From the get go, I enjoyed blasting the endless troops of Nazi soldiers.

Fast forward to 2011. How would the game fare to today's standards? I didn't expect the control scheme to be any good. Turns out there's a control scheme in the game that you can choose that fits today's modern console FPS dual analogue stick control scheme. I was truly surprised by that as I thought the control scheme would be more akin to earlier PS1 FPSes where you moved using the D-pad and strafed using the shoulder buttons.

Thanks to the modern control scheme, the first Medal of Honor is surprisingly playable by today's standards. Well, barely. There are still some flaws. For instance, there's no targeting reticule. When you're aiming, you really have to use your gun as your guide to shoot. Great for realism, not so great for gaming. I had no idea where I was shooting and ended up wasting bullets half the time. And thanks to the limited power of the PlayStation, there was a very limited draw distance and a limit of about 3 enemy soldiers appearing on screen at a time, which made the game a little too easy at times. The enemy AI is occasionally a little wonky as well, which makes it frustrating when enemy guards spot you when they're not supposed to but at other times are painfully unaware that I have a gun pointed at them right under their noses.

However, even with those flaws the game does have its truly memorable moments. One moment you're covertly sneaking across a village while taking out enemy soldiers, and the next you're undercover as a German officer attempting to sabotage their artillery. There's a lot of variety in the setpieces of a mission - you go from French countryside to a submarine. Pretty impressive for an FPS from the PS1 era.

As good as this game was, I didn't finish playing it however. The lack of reticule was just too much of an annoyance for me, which is a shame because I truly wanted to know where the story was going. The developers actually fix this issue in the sequel, Medal of Honor: Underground, also for PS1, which I will be talking about in the next blog post.

Meanwhile, here's a gameplay Youtube video of the game (courtesy of user elbryan42):


If you feel like playing this, I think you can get this cheap on PSN under the PS1 classics label but seeing as hackers brought PSN down and stole our personal information, I can't be sure.

4 comments:

  1. Interestingly, Medal of Honour was actually Steven Spielberg's virgin foray into the gaming industry; an attempt to recreate the feel of Saving Private Ryan.

    A mixed bag, certainly, but to its credit, it did pave the way for the more popular Call of Duty series. ;)

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  2. Well, this was the last place I expected you to comment!

    Yeah, I thought Steven Spielberg's involvement was interesting but I sort of doubt if he actually wrote the script. My suspicion is that he just dictated an outline and somebody at the game company further developed it.

    Another interesting factoid would be that this game was one of Michael Giacchino's first game scores and it helped him get noticed by the bigwigs at Hollywood and he later went on to write soundtracks for movies, which eventually got him an Oscar for Up.

    As for Call of Duty... meh, they're all right, I suppose.

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  3. Couldn't you draw a reticule on clear scotch tape and tape it to the spot where the bullets hit?

    Stand tennish feet away from wall.

    fire gun 10 times at wall.

    observe bullet holes, place reticule at 'average' location of bullet holes.

    Reticule'd.

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    Replies
    1. That's a pretty good idea! I'll try that

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