I found a bit more time for gaming today, sinking another couple of hours into Call of Duty 4 and completing three missions. Read on for details.
Call of Duty 4
The fourth mission of the game, still playing as Jackson with the USMC, has your squad heading to help out a tank that has been disabled and is under assault. Proceeding through the city at night, you’re ambushed. The squad enters a building and you’re sent upstairs with an ally, Roycewicz, to clear the upper levels. Halfway upstairs Roycewicz is attacked, but I immediately stabbed the attacker and saved him. This unlocked an achievement, which I guess means he can die there if you don’t save him, and made for a nice little surprise.
Once at the tank you have to defend it, which I found reasonably difficult. The enemy attacks in a constant stream from a wide direction so there’s no perfect cover, there are lots of grenades getting thrown around, and some of the enemy have demolition kits specifically to destroy the tank. Go too far from the tank and you fail instantly, kill lots of enemies but stop some getting to the tank and you fail, and take too many risks and get yourself killed and obviously that fails the mission too.
It was at this point that the game’s damage effect became a little frustrating. When you take a hit from enemy fire the camera lurches up and the view dims, making it very difficult (for me at least) to see who fired at me. In the end I got it done (though not really from doing anything different, which made it feel a little random), and managed that achievement for four headshots in a row too, thanks to the enemy swarming at you from set directions.
With the tank secured you’re ordered to take out the AA gun and plant an infra-red beacon for air support to come in, and it was at this point that the USMC seemed surprisingly dependent on Jackson. The mission structure (through barked orders) was essentially:
- “Secure that building.”
- “Jacks, get upstairs and secure it.”
- “Jacks, get to the machine gun.”
- “Defend the tank!”
- “Jacks, destroy the AA.”
- “Jacks, use the IR beacon.”
Unless the commander really doesn’t like Jackson (or really trusts and respects him, I suppose) it just seemed odd that he’d always be the one sent off on his own all the time. Regardless, with the IR beacon planted the air support arrives and the mission ends.
We’re back to the SAS next, in a helicopter with their rescued informant, Nikolai. This helicopter actually does get attacked and shot down, and soon it’s just you, Price, Nikolai and another soldier, Gaz, in the middle of hostile territory with no support. Incidentally, I recognised Gaz as being voiced by Craig Fairbrass who, like Billy Murray (who voices Price) had a role in UK soap Eastenders, though Fairbrass has since gone to the US to do film and TV work.
To start with at least you’re sneaking through fields away from the downed helicopter (and the enemy search teams). This quickly leads into a farm building where you see enemy soldiers harassing a farmer outside. Price says to kill them before they hurt the man, which I quickly did (I’d already lined up a head shot on the first soldier), and unlocked another achievement for saving the farmer. I like that kind of achievement, popping up unexpectedly for doing things well. They’re better than basic level completion achievements, anyway.
The level leans towards stealth but there’s no failure for being discovered, it just means you enter into a firefight earlier than you otherwise would have done. It rewards getting closer without being detected (because you’re at a closer distance, helping accuracy) but doesn’t overly punish you for messing up, which is nice. Eventually the group reaches relative safety and gets some air support, and that mission ends.
The next mission is an interlude of sorts, putting you in control of the air support protecting the men on the ground. It’s all seen through thermal vision (either white hot or black hot) with all enemies and objects essentially in silhouette, which makes things oddly detached. The mission itself is a little annoying simply because you fail if you damage the church that dominates the village Price and his men are heading through, and when you’re concentrating on the enemy or zoomed in to fire it isn’t immediately obvious that you’re near the church.
There are a few checkpoints though and the mission was soon complete (with a few more explosion and air support achievements unlocked), which is where I stopped playing for the day.
City on Fire: Destructoid
Chopper in the Rain: Videogamer