Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix
Description official descriptions
The stakes are higher in this sequel to Soldier of Fortune. The player is John Mullins, a patriot, weapons specialist and anti-terrorist mercenary, who takes on a new threat bio-terrorist organization and their Gemini virus. His mission is to neutralize the terrorists before they unleash the virus.
Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix features over 55 levels and an all new Random Mission Generator mode. The game uses the Quake III: Team Arena engine with GHOUL II technology and its models are designed with 36 damage zones along with 16 dismemberment zones.
- Солдат Удачи 2 - Russian spelling
- 命运战士II：双重螺旋 - Simplified Chinese spelling
- 3D Engine: id Tech 3 (Quake III: Arena)
- Anti-Cheat Technology: PunkBuster
- Console Generation Exclusives: Xbox
- Gameplay feature: Body dragging
- Middleware: Bink Video
- Setting: 2000s
- Setting: City - Hong Kong
- Setting: City - New York
- Setting: City - Prague
- Software Pyramide releases
- Soldier of Fortune series
Credits (Windows version)
214 People (186 developers, 28 thanks) · View all
|Lead Sound Designer|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 80% (based on 53 ratings)
Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 70 ratings with 8 reviews)
I was a big fan of Soldier of Fortune. That was one of my favorite games for quite some time. I loved the way Raven pulled no punches with it, showing us the bloodiest first person shooter to date. But beside the blood, there was still a fun game to it, even if it always amounted to you taking down a hundred or so terrorists. Whether I wanted a first person shooter to play through, or a good tool to take my aggression out on, Soldier of Fortune was a great game to play.
Its sequel is slightly different, but the idea stays true: kill everything and get real bloody. But man, did Raven ever take it to the extreme. Hands down, Soldier of Fortune II is the most violent game I've ever heard of. Grand Theft Auto? Carmageddon? They don't hold a candle to this game. This is the only game I've ever played that's made me at all squeamish. The realism in gore in this game is astounding, even if the engine is slightly dated. Yes, this is a good thing. We need a bloody tool to take our frustration out on. And what better way than blowing a guy's guts open from a close range shotgun blast? Or whacking off three quarters of his face from a sniper rifle? Or just pumping him full of lead and watch him fall to his knees, bloody gushing from his wounds, collapsing to the floor?
Besides the gore, there are also some really interesting twists in the ol' first person shooter genre to be found here. For instance, the AI opponents have quite a few tricks up their sleeve, and any battle could conclude in any sort of way. Bad guys will take cover, as per the standard, but they will also jump out shooting and run back to their cover, or sometimes they'll just stick their gun out and fire in your general direction. They'll jump over rails to come get you, they'll throw grenades back at you, and they'll choose the best weapon for different confrontations. They'll throw smoke grenades and flashbangs to cover themselves, and they'll throw frag and incinerary grenades over obsticals to get at you. Battles always had a fun twist to them, forcing me to think on my feet, and it definitely helped create an immersive experience. I remember shooting the gun out of a soldier's hands, and watch him go straight for his sidearm. Since I was out of ammo, I ran around the corner to reload. When I came back, the soldier was reaching for the gun he had lost before. It was this sort of thing that made the game more than just FPS+extreme gore.
The locales you visit are diverse, which take you all over the globe, above and under the Earth, even back in time (in a flashback, that is...heh.) One in particular that got a lot of attention was the Columbian jungle level, which is very well done.
Unfortunately, despite the interesting AI tricks, the extreme blood and varied levels, the game just didn't appeal to me. Now, close combat was great. Especially with the shotgun. But, really, once you've seen every type of death animation and gore splatter, it just gets old.
The AI tricks is neat, but the AI can be pretty damn dumb, too. They'll often charge at you right in the open without shooting, or just shoot the wall instead of aiming at you. It's not uncommon for enemies to just get stuck in the wall, either. And while they can be worthy opponents at times by themselves, they have no consideration for their fellow teammates. They'll throw grenades right into a mass of their own men to get at you.
The story is just plain stupid and doesn't even compare to Soldier of Fortune's original plot, nor does it have anything to do with it, save that your buddy from the first game is still dead. SOF's story wasn't exactly an award-winning masterpiece, but the elements in the story were great, I thought. It felt like a campy action flick, and it almost was. But Soldier of Fortune II seems to try to pass itself off as some pseudo-realistic plot that could happen in today's world. They even took away all the cool sci-fi weapons (AND my Desert Eagle!) from the first game and replaced them with more "realistic" weapons. Boo!
The voice overs are okay, but the dialogue is as bad as the story. "Ha ha ha! I did it for the money, of course!" "You're a mad man!" "A mad man? Perhaps...NOT! Ha ha ha! Die, Mullins!" Talk about dumb. Nothing killed the immersion more than a cutscene in this game.
The game comes with a "random mission generator", but it's downright poor. It only creates outdoor environments, and, quite frankly, close-combat was the only fun part of the game. A nice feature, but it's better to just play through the game.
Worst ragdoll effects in any game I've ever seen. At least they tried. Usually, you'll shoot a guy, he'll go through his death animation, slump to the ground, and suddenly have a short seizure, afterwhich his body will be contorted in a way that looks like he was thrown halfway through whatever he's touching. It is rather humorous, though.
The boss battle(s) sure didn't compare to the difficulty of the first game's, either.
The Bottom Line
While I was impressed by the tricks the enemies could pull, as well as entertained by the violence and the always entertaining shotgun, the game just falls apart in too many places to really recommend to anyone. If you want to take your aggresion out, oh I'd definitely suggest this, but not above Grand Theft Auto or Carmageddon. At least those games are fun in more ways than just blowing people to pieces.
Windows · by kbmb (416) · 2003
We've still got a few more months to go before the next generation of FPS games kick off in earnest. Unreal II, Doom III, and other games using next-generation technology on spanking-new video cards are poised to blow us all away (and our wallets along with us).
Soldier of Fortune II is from Raven, who use the Quake III engine and use it well. This game isn't going to stun anyone with it's graphical prowess, as the engine is over two years old, but it's still serviceable, even if it's nearing its limit.
Stealing the show is the old stalwart of SoF, GHOUL. GHOUL is basically an animation system that allows what they call "realistic" amputation and gore. That's right, little Johnny can shoot those naughty terrorists in the knee and watch them go down screaming and clutching a bloody stump. Columbine reactionaries, start your class-action lawsuits.
However, realistic is a relative term. As good as GHOUL is (the box advertises "36 dismemberment zones!" the way blenders advertise mix settings), the Quake III engine can only take it so far. Plus, while somewhat toned down from the first game, limbs still have a curious tendency to go flying after only two or three bullets. The violence is rather cartoonish in the amount of blood and decapitiation it relies on, and while it might be enough to carry the game for psychopaths who never get tired of spattering blood on the wall over and over again trying to form a pentagram, the rest of us will soon ignore it.
Fortunately, the game features some very, very nice weapons. They're almost all based off actual weapons, and they feel real. The sound effects are top-notch, and the orchestral, patriotic music is above and beyond the crap industrial-techno we've come to expect from our FPSs. Epic MegaGames, take notes!
Damage is quick and GHOUL allows for realistic modeling. Since you're wearing body armor, chest shots are extremely ineffective in this game. However, a shot to the head with ANY weapon is instantly fatal, and shooting off limbs is almost as quick.
The multiplayer is also extremely fun. Weapons are for the most part extremely balanced, and in addition to the standard DM, CTF, and elimination, SoF2 features "infiltration" a mode that plays like a combination of CTF and Unreal's Assault. One team holds a briefcase somewhere in the level, and must defend it from a set amount of time from the other team, who must grab it and return to their helicopter before time runs out. This mode emphasizes teamwork, and all of the maps are masterfully designed, emphasizing everything from point-blank running and gunning to tense sniper battles. Infiltration easily steals the show.
The single-player campaign is, I'm sorry, a great disappointment. Incredibly linear, and suffering from a hackneyed terrorists-capture-bioweapons plot. And when I say linear, I mean linear. Several levels (such as Colombia) go so far as to keep you on a path in a small valley between two sets of mountains, where you have no choice but to creep along and try to dispatch the terrorists before they do you.
Raven also falls into the do-what's-popular trap of throwing in several "stealth" missions, where you are forced to sneak around with a knife and dispatch enemies silently. It feels like an afterthought, and, like most stealth afterthoughts, ends up becoming a tedium of restarts and frustration. If I wanted stealth and realism, I'd play Thief. Here it just doesn't come off right.
Scripting is lame as well. Several sections have you working with allies, and the game doesn't let you go too far ahead. So you're stuck going at a slow pace, waiting for scripted events to occur, and taking damage from far-ahead snipers because the door can't open until your "backup" arrives. Ugh.
There's no real motivation to ever fire up the single-player game at all.
The Bottom Line
SoF2 is the most fun I've ever had playing multiplayer since Unreal Tournament. Infiltration alone almost warrants the price. But since there's a free MP test available for download, the primitive single-player and gets-old-quick blood'n'guts make this a questionable buy. But if you've got several friends to play with, or you're really tired of UT, go ahead and buy this for the multiplayer.
Windows · by Anatole (58) · 2002
We've been spoiled by the number of top notch war shooters in recent months. With titles like Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Medal of Honour it's a pretty hard time to complain. The only things that really were left out for me was that I like my war shooters a little more modern and I want to see some damage being done! MOH was fantastic but when someone gets a point blank shot to the head they aren't going to just fall over without a scratch. The whole effect just makes me feel once again like I'm sitting in front of a computer. SOF2 addresses both of these points and keeps everything else at a high enough standard to stand tall alongside all the MOH's and RTCW's in the world. Basically an evolution of the overrated original SOF, SOF2 provides better everything. The graphics smack you in the face they look so good so high end Geforce owners are in for a real treat with this one. Jungles actually have foliage at last, character models are detailed with more explicit deaths and the damage models are more finely tuned than any I've ever witnessed in a video game. Gunfire will actually blast people backward with appropriate force and jets of blood pump out with dismembered limbs. Needless to say that this game is not for kids but parents or the squemish should note that a violence lock can be applied that allows for the fine tuning of any aspects of the gore or disturbing images in the game so you can make it very tame if you'd like. Weaponry is realistically depicted with even the aim going out if you hold the trigger for too long in the automatic firearms. Loads of great scripted sequences in the gameplay have been introduced such as clearing out a jungle village alongside a team of marines who work with you and a very cool escape along a winding road manning the mounted gun on the back of a truck. Thanks to a good balance of realism and good old fashioned action hero style gameplay the missions in the game are (mostly, more on that in a minute,) loads of fun to play. The difficulty level can be scaled to your liking in a custom difficulty mode too. Sound is also great with gunfire, screams and explosions being the main flavour peppered with the clank of footsteps and conversation, all of a high calibre and music is very nicely orchestrated, giving a perfect action movie feel.
At times SOF2 can really push the frustration level a bit too far. Some stages are plain stupid such as the sneaking stages. An alarm can be set off the very second an enemy even hears you and I mean the very SECOND. Even if the enemy hears you stick a knife in the back of his head the alarm goes off before the slicing action is even complete which is just plain stupid. It feels a lot like the sneaking element of the game wasn't even finished. Sometimes the enemy see you a little too quickly. An example of this would be in a stage in the snow where seeing anything more than about 10 feet away is impossible. Suddenly someone with a mounted M-60 starts blasting away at you even though there's no way they'd be able to see you yet since they are over 20 feet away. There is also the annoying tendency of enemies to know exactly where you are just because they are on alert even though they haven't actually seen you yet.
The Bottom Line
A top-notch war fps that comes highly recommended but with some minor reservations. Not for the squemish.
Windows · by Sycada (177) · 2002
To avoid having the game banned in Germany because of its violent nature, major modifications had to be made to the game's story line and graphics. The game now takes place in a parallel universe called Hysperia (!), where mankind was completely wiped out by machines. The machines then began to develop human-like emotions, which also led to common human problems such as war and crime. All humans, including enemies and the main character John Mullins, were therefore replaced by Cyborgs. As a consequence, all blood and gore effects are missing. The censored German Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix is regarded by most players as "the most censored game ever in Germany". A doubtful title indeed...
The UK version has a region lock, meaning the game is censored when installed on a system with a German version of Windows. Humans are still humans and the story does not change, but everything else applies.
The Xbox version is not effected.
The game's installer features an audio narrative and slideshow telling the background story of the game. Because computers continually get faster, it's possible to finish the installation before the story has successfully completed. It helps that the game comprises two CD-ROMs and the user can continue listening to the audio while the installer is waiting for the next disc to be inserted.
The protagonist, John Mullins, is named after the real-life mercenary, who has been Raven's exclusive consultant during the making of this game. The character's background is also similar to that of the real John Mullins.
- 2002 – Special Technical Achievement Award (for its random mission generator)
Related Sites +
Save the World, But Only in Mac OS X
An Apple Games article about the Macintosh version of <em>Double Helix</em>, with commentary being provided by MacPlay President Mark Cottam (July, 2002).
- MobyGames ID: 6428
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Corn Popper.
Game added May 25th, 2002. Last modified October 11th, 2023.