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All About...
Medal Of Honour: Allied Assault

Edge checks out DreamWorks' videogame equivalent of Saving Private Ryan, and chats to the people behind this hotly anticipated project
Interest in World War II shows few signs of abating. Much of this attention has been largely thanks to 'Saving Private Ryan'. But before collaborating with Tom Hanks on TV mini-series 'Band Of Brothers', Steven Spielberg helped create Medal Of Honor, a quasi-spinoff of his film that has grown from its 1999 PlayStation debut to a significant multiplatform franchise.

Not surprisingly, the realistic WWII action in the series has been an object of FPS envy among PC gamers, who usually get the best firstperson action games. But now Medal Of Honor: Allied Assault for PC joins the WWII party, packing the firepower required to shake the genre's bunkers to their foundations.

Players assume the role of US Army Ranger Lt Mike Powell for more than 25 levels. Powered by the Quake III engine, the intention is to give players a more immersive, realistic experience. "One of the guiding principles of the series has been that real life is always more interesting than anything you can make up," affirms DreamWorks Interactive producer Peter Hirschmann. "The team at [developers] 2015 spent hours in the classroom in the field with Captain Dale Dye, the military advisor for both 'Saving Private Ryan' and the Medal Of Honor series, studying the various Allied and Axis field tactics and formations."

This gritty realism is never more evident than in the level the developer revealed at E3 - a stomach-churningly authentic and atmospheric recreation of the Omaha Beach D-Day landings of June 6, 1944. The preview version contains similarly uncompromising realism, as the game's scripted sequences threw wave after wave of American soldiers up the beach and into the Nazi meat-grinder. Men with their guts blown out scream to go home; terrified privates cower behind tank defences; officers shout orders to advance. In a later level, you're required to take out advancing Nazis from your clocktower sniper nest before they can advance on a strategically crucial bridge. And it's no coincidence that it looks almost exactly like Remelle, the setting for the Spielberg film's climactic battle scene. Credit, in part, to Spielberg for taking an active interest in the game's development. "We were able to videotape about a half hour of his feedback for the development team on just the D-Day level alone," says Hirschmann. "He's the creator of the series, so he's been involved with all the titles going back to the original Medal Of Honor."

However, while 'Saving Private Ryan' showed horrific scenes of graphic carnage, Allied Assault seems to be shooting more for a Teen rating. "'Saving Private Ryan' was made for older viewers, while the motivation for Steven [Spielberg] in creating the series was to bring the WWII experience to a wider audience by keeping the material accessible," explains Hirschmann. "You can tell quite a compelling story without resorting to blood and dismemberment." That said, weapons and damage are being modelled to a level of realism consistent with the rest of the game.

The most exciting element of Allied Assault is the fact that you really feel like you're just a part of the overall war effort. While parts of the game consist of traditional commando-style solo missions, you'll also be spending a lot of time fighting as a part of NPC Allied squads. "There's nothing quite like a full-scale battle between Allied and German forces that you get to jump into the middle of," says Hirschmann. An early play-through also showed off some remarkable AI and cleverly scripted scenes involving your comrades - you'll come to rely on them (and ultimately care about them) as the game wears on. On one snow-bound level that involves infiltrating a Nazi compound, an NPC buddy risks his life to silently take out a couple of sentries and open a gate.

While there's still a lot of optimisation and cleaning-up to be done, Medal Of Honor: Allied Assault looks to be on target for a November release in the US, which is likely to cue an army of deskbound gamers willingly daring the gunfire of Omaha beach.

- Edge Magazine

Preview: 14-9-01
We will fight them on the beaches, then quick save and fight them on the shore. PC Gamer takes an in-depth look at developments....

Watch Towers
Nice lights
Zoom in
Beach assault
Street smart
Not waving
Outflanking them
In the trenches
Wrong place

" One of the guiding principles of the series has been that real life is always more interesting than anything you can make up"


Look out for snipers in the tall buildings

Gore or no gore, this soldier is about to become very dead

Narrow streets filled with German troops

Est. Release Date
November 2001
Electronic Arts
First Person Shooter
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