PC Games: Delta Force — Black Hawk Down: Team Sabre

The original Delta Force — Black Hawk Down game was released early last year and was based on a certain conflict in Somalia. Although bearing a similar name to a movie and another gaming franchise, that game had little resemblance to either title and was fictitious. If you’re looking for an addition to the original title, you will be severely disappointed because Team Sabre (TS) focuses on two new hot spots, Colombia and Iran. Ritual Entertainment had a chance to display a different type of gameplay in level design and looks with these new areas. For example, Colombia features lots of dense foliage, water and long grass for a stealthier approach to mission success. TS tries to build on the fan base from the first title, and gamers who enjoyed the tactical structure of the game will rejoice in this expansion pack.

A couple of the faults that were evident in the original title have been ironed out, but Ritual seemed to have gone AWOL on some of the fundamental flaws. An example of this is the enemy AI. Still heavily scripted, the AI would have been improved if it had been made more adaptive. The enemies’ scripted manner, in particular their rushing technique, brings back memories of Serious Sam. Multiple enemies with total disregard for their own life try to overwhelm your position, the idea being quantity over quality. They also show no evasive manoeuvres: after shooting one soldier, nearby soldiers drop to one knee and scan the surroundings, asking for a head shot. Linear level design is another fault that was overlooked. During the mission, if you happen to deviate from the mission path to gain a tactical advantage — e.g., a sniping position on top of a hill — a small warning will be displayed to encourage you to get back on track. Failure to do so results in an aborted mission, restarting from your last save point or the beginning of the mission.

Single and multiplayer campaigns are possible. The single player campaign tended to be too short, and the multiplayer mode is this title’s saving grace. It incorporates game modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and King of the Hill.

TS uses some nice water and lighting effects and the view distance of maps is encouraging. Characters seem too blocky and fuzzy, and some textures tend to blend into each other. Supporting Dolby Digital, the audio during gameplay is impressive. During combat, a sense of immersion is felt. More environmental effects would have been a bonus: the jungle levels, in particular, are eerily quiet, when the air would really be filled with noise from animals, etc.

To sum up, TS is only slightly better than the original and tries too hard in some areas and not enough in others. Only keen multiplayers and military buffs need apply.

Visuals: detailed scenery
Audio: very realistic
Gameplay: frustrating AI
Developer: Ritual Entertainment
Publisher: Novalogic
URL: www.novalogic.com

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