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Bet On Soldier: Blood Sport
(hx) 06:46 PM CEST - Oct,20 2005

Bet on Soldier is a sci-fi first person shooter from developer Kylotonn Entertainment (Iron Storm makers) and publisher Digital Jesters. Eighty years before, a war was begun. Two federations have it down to a business and economic model - jobs, money, livelihoods are all dependant on the war. The war is fought by two federations trying to increase their profit from the war. To gain even more money, they've turned the war into the major form of entertainment by creating a TV show where the best soldiers fight against each other, and everyone can bet on the outcome of these fights.

You play the role of a mercenary and you fight in many huge battles across the world. If you're successful in battle - that is, if you kill off rival mercenaries - you get money, which you can use for purchase and upkeep weapons and armor, and recruit squad members to fight alongside you. At the end of these levels there is a boss. To win the prize money, you must defeat the boss within 60 seconds! Each boss has their own weaknesses and strengths and you will need to find them out quickly to reap the benefits. As I hinted, the money is most important factor in the game. Everything has to be paid in Bet on Soldier. Before each mission you must equip yourself. You've got to choose your weapons, your armor and your mercenaries (computer-controlled teammates). The mercenaries can come in different classes: The Trooper, The Sniper, The protector and The Engineer. An engineer-class mercenary, for instance, not only will provide fire support but will also repair your armor automatically. Simply call him over, stand still, and he'll patch you up. The protector is equipped with a shield to defend himself from the enemy attacks, which gives him a huge resistance. The sniper uses a precision rifle (which can be equipped with a scope) allowing him to pick off enemies from long range.

You must also bet on the champions that you will face in the mission. Remember, you have three ways of winning money - the reward for completing a mission, the bets and the enemies you kill on the battlefield. The best way to gain a lot of money is to take risky bets. The management of money doesn't stop with the menus before the mission. There are no health or ammo pick ups through out the game to find on the ground and the money you pick up as a reward is used at Reload Stations found through out levels to purchase the items you need to survive - health, armor, ammo, grenades, etc. So, one of the biggest challenges is to manage your armor condition and ammo to go through the missions in one piece as you must to pay for everything. The better you play, the more cash you have, and the better weapons/equipment you can get for the next round.

You must also bet on the champions that you will face in the mission. Remember, you have three ways of winning money - the reward for completing a mission, the bets and the enemies you kill on the battlefield. The best way to gain a lot of money is to take risky bets. The management of money doesn't stop with the menus before the mission. There are no health or ammo pick ups through out the game to find on the ground and the money you pick up as a reward is used at Reload Stations found through out levels to purchase the items you need to survive - health, armor, ammo, grenades, etc. So, one of the biggest challenges is to manage your armor condition and ammo to go through the missions in one piece as you must to pay for everything. The better you play, the more cash you have, and the better weapons/equipment you can get for the next round.

I think the game is pretty challenging and despite the fact it's pretty much linear, the weapons, map size, and tactics you can use make it seem quite the opposite. I have found that your choice in weapons is really important as you pay for ammo and the more you fire the more it costs. Also having that choice of having a shield or not is great as it leads to many different ways in which the game can be played. The AI is fairly OK. There's some interesting AI going on here, with enemies retreating behind shields, taking cover behind debris, etc. But the AI suffers from the usual problems that are seen in action games. They move pretty slowly and are very prone to headshots from any weapon and at a surprising distance. Your teammates are decent as well, although I've noticed a few minor problems with the soldiers' AI. Your teammates have a tendency to wander off on their own instead of sticking by your side, and you have very little control over them as it is. The B.O.S. fights are great they really test your skills. However, there are also particularly frustrating, especially if you don't read the descriptions of your opponents and load out accordingly. Even if you come ready for the fight, winning is hard as hell.

I think the game is pretty challenging and despite the fact it's pretty much linear, the weapons, map size, and tactics you can use make it seem quite the opposite. I have found that your choice in weapons is really important as you pay for ammo and the more you fire the more it costs. Also having that choice of having a shield or not is great as it leads to many different ways in which the game can be played. The AI is fairly OK. There's some interesting AI going on here, with enemies retreating behind shields, taking cover behind debris, etc. But the AI suffers from the usual problems that are seen in action games. They move pretty slowly and are very prone to headshots from any weapon and at a surprising distance. Your teammates are decent as well, although I've noticed a few minor problems with the soldiers' AI. Your teammates have a tendency to wander off on their own instead of sticking by your side, and you have very little control over them as it is. The B.O.S. fights are great they really test your skills. However, there are also particularly frustrating, especially if you don't read the descriptions of your opponents and load out accordingly. Even if you come ready for the fight, winning is hard as hell.

There is also the multiplayer mode which is based on the betting system just like the solo campaign - two teams need to take over certain sections of the map. Once certain ticket machines have been hacked, the hacker can pick and bet on a team mate and enemy, and both players will then enter a 60 second duel to fight it out for the money from the bet. Players keep going until a set score is met or time runs out and the team with the highest score wins. Multiplayer has support up to 32 players, with 16 players on each side with 6 available character classes. The MP of Bet on Soldier is nice and original in my opinion and it's a lot of fun despite some weapon unbalances. I had no problems outside of lag in joining and playing on servers.

Overall, Bet on Soldier is a decent first person shooter with an interesting concept. Some will like it, some will hate it. I recommend you to try out the demo.

related links: homepage, SP demo, MP demo, patch v1.2, Multiplayer Technical FAQ, Bet On Soldier: Blood Sport CDROM

System requirements: Intel Pentium 4 2.0 GHz or equivalent (Pentium 4 3.0GHz or equivalent recommended), 512MB RAM (1GB recommended), NVIDIA GeForce 4Ti or equivalent - pixel and vertex shader required (NVIDIA GeForce 6 or equivalent), DirectX Compatible Sound Card, CD-ROM Drive 48X or DVD-ROM Drive 8X, 4.0 GB of free disk space


snd: 4/5 - solid, good music, poor voice-acting
gfx: 4/5 - fairly good, characters are decently modeled, nice smoke and particle effects, location-based damage system, lack of diversity in the environments, blood effects are actually quite poor
playability: 4/5 - fast-paced arcade oriented action with intense and enjoyable fight, gambling/betting mechanic really is innovative, aiming interface feels a bit clunky, no quicksave, multiplayer up to 32 players, many bugs and lack of polish, abysmal loading times/lag, hates ATI drivers and crashes, Starforce protection
genre: first-person shooter
release: September 2005
developer: Kylotonn Entertainment
publisher: Digital Jesters
Good
Overall: 72%


last 10 comments:

xxxx(07:56 PM CEST - Oct,20 2005 )
The biggest problem with BOS HX, is the support. I don't know if lots are gonna be too appreciative of getting the game and finding out MP is totally dead. Right now the bug is so significant that people can't bring up their servers or see them. I'm really not too sure what is wrong with Digital Jesters but wow, these guys give Valve a run for the money in terms of support. Single player is ok, don't mind it. Duels are what does it for me in this game. In the demo I just ruled in the duels so much so I'm not sure I died much except for the initial try. The mechs are very cool too! the nice thing about the mechs is there is no learning curve to using them. Anyhow, it's a good game and your review is quite nice! certainly a fair review.

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