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Developer: Red Storm Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Platform: Win 9x/Me/2000/XP
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

The No. 1 complaint I hear about first-person shooter games is that they aren't realistic. People seem to want something that they can relate to more than the worlds portrayed in Doom or Serious Sam.

If that's your complaint, then this is your game. Ghost Recon (referred to as GR) is a first-person shooter set in the world of Tom Clancy's novels. As the game opens in the year 2010, we learn that the Russian government has been taken over by a group of hard-line Ultra-nationalists. The Russian war machine is being readied for an invasion, with troop movements and buildups at Russia's western border. Only one force stands between the Russian front line and the former soviet republics: the Special Forces group known as the Ghosts. They've been tasked with running interference against the Russians until the bulk of the NATO force can mobilize. The game puts the Ghosts in your hands, leaving their fate (and the fate of nations) within your grasp.

The rules of the GR universe are simple. There are no hit points. There are no bosses. There are no levels. You and your team of riflemen, demolition experts, snipers and heavy weapons "support" specialists are tasked with completing several goals during each mission. How you achieve these goals depends on your playing style as well as the makeup (and experience) of your squad.

Game play is divided into two sections: the mission briefing/squad selection stage and the actual mission. In the briefing you are given your objectives for the mission and any relevant information about the enemy presence in the area. During squad selection you have the opportunity to select soldiers based on their specialties and their statistics in key areas of combat, like stealth and weapon use. After you have completed a mission you will also be able to use this screen to allocate more points to these stats, giving the player an incentive to play smart and keep a squad alive.

Game play during the mission will be familiar to anyone that has played a FPS game before. Aiming is done with the mouse, while moving and all other functions critical to the mission are done via the keyboard. One particular aspect of gameplay worth noting is the command map function. With this tool you can see a crude map of the mission area and where your fireteams are at the moment. By utilizing a control system on the map itself you can direct your squads to separate waypoints and targets, all while leading one team yourself. Through efficient use of the command map it is possible to attack three targets at the same time, just as a real specops unit would. This gives the game a feel of realism well beyond what GR's competitors have to offer.

Also adding to the feel of realism are the dynamics of the game itself. Uniforms get wet when you walk through water, and snow crunches underfoot. Enemies will respond appropriately (and differently) to the sounds of snapping twigs or gunfire. Your squad members will seek cover at all times, and won't fire unless they have a kill shot, or you ordered them to. As you run your weapon becomes harder to control, adding a degree of difficulty to the usual "point and shoot" interface.

Where GR really wins is in its replay value. The game itself has several difficulty settings, as well as playing the "quick mission" option where mission objectives and details are changed. Add to this the fact any mission can be played in the multiplayer arena, and you have a game that guarantees hours and hours of additional play. I've logged over 100 hours and the game still doesn't bore me.

Ghost Recon promised an accurate and exciting view into the life of a Special Forces unit, and it delivered. You should be able to find it at your local electronics superstore for around $40.00, and it's worth every penny!

Minimum System Requirements:

  • Pentium II 450 or faster
  • Windows 9x or better
  • 128 MB RAM
  • Video card with 16 MB RAM and DirectX 8.0 support
  • 1 GB disk space

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