Doogmah’s Free Game Of The Week! (1/6-1/12): Soldat (PC)

By: doogmah (Too busy watching Conan to write a decent review)

Created By:Michal Marcinkowski
Genre:Multiplayer Contra style shooter
Where to find it:
Difficulty: Very easy to learn, but the difficulty really depends on who you’re playing. Bots are also customizable, giving you five options for difficulty.
System Requirements:
– A PC, a keyboard, a mouse, a brain
– 333mhz processor
– Video accelerator that can run Direct3D
– Graphics card compatible with DirectX 8.1
– 32 MB RAM
– Some free MB on disk
– Sound card
– Network card or modem (Will work without internet connection, you just can’t play online)
– Microsoft Windows 98/Me/2000/XP (No idea if it runs on Vista)
– Microsoft DirectX 8.1
Size: 28.4 MB installed

So you liked Contra back in the days of the NES/SNES. A few more years down the road, and you’ve discovered PC FPS, namely stuff like Half-Life, Quake, or Unreal Tournament. Looking for something new to play? Try Soldat. I would describe this game as an online multiplayer version of Contra or Metal Slug, except with a moving cursor controlled by your mouse… and jet packs.

After installing the game and setting up the usual configuration (control mapping, video resolution, the whole nine yards), you have a choice to play with bots or with other players on the internet. To get the full experience, I based this review on the internet play. It’s not like the gameplay is much different anyway. But before I talk about the game, let me just say this: The opening music is BAD ASS. What other way to get you pumped to blow animated sprites to bits than to use a pounding Pantera-esque opening tune to start it all off? Alright, I’ve been listening too long at this point, let’s get to the game.

There’s seven types of objectives that can be set for each game that you play in Soldat. Deathmatch (“Kill everything that moves”), Capture The Flag (pretty self explanatory), Hold The Flag (1 point is earned for every 5 seconds a team can hold a yellow flag), Pointmatch (like Deathmatch, except that if you’re holding the yellow flag, you get two points for every kill instead of one), Teammatch (basically Team Deathmatch except with 4 teams), Rambomatch (the only way to score points for a kill is to have the Rambo Bow, which also gives you super powers) and Infiltration (one team has to capture the flag in the opposite team’s base for 30 points, while the opponent team gets a point for every 5 seconds they can hold the flag). This is definitely one of the game’s strong points, some of these game types are just awesome. Team Deathmatch with 4 teams? I don’t think i’ve ever seen that before in a shooter-type game, and I love it. Some seem a little pointless though, like Pointmatch and Hold The Flag. These should have just been molded in as secondary options for Deathmatch and Capture The Flag. It’s not really a big deal at all though, and it doesn’t take away from the fun in the least bit.

The control in the game is similar to what you would see in a flash game, with simple controls. Players can use text chat, but no voice. Mic usage would be cool, but with this type of game, it’s not really a big deal to have to communicate with text while playing. The size of some of the maps surprised me. These things can get pretty damn big, especially the Infiltration maps. The process of shooting others is also a lot smoother than I expected. The crosshairs will turn red when you are locked-on to an enemy, shots fire at a realistic rate and bullets will ricochet off of walls right into your opponent. The game is also surprisingly smooth in the speed department. In a standard Deathmatch, kills happen in a matter of seconds, and it’s always mayhem. Again, think of Contra, except sped up times ten. The jet pack feature is awesome too (used by holding the right mouse button), even though sometimes it can be a bit dodgy. Trying to aim while blasting up into the air is a little more than difficult. The variety of guns given to you is vast, but the best has to be the Rambo Bow. It kills in one hit, and gives you the powers of Rambo. This is offset by the number of bad guns in this game though (namely the grenade launcher and the minigun), and a lot of the bullets all feel and look the same. Sometimes you wonder why you even have a choice between certain machine guns.

Some of the other options that can be added to any game type are Survival Mode, Realistic Mode, and Advance Mode. Survival Mode forces you to watch your teammates without respawning until the match is won, like in Counter-Strike. Realistic Mode makes it so the damage is higher, the weapons have recoil, and you can’t see anywhere besides your character’s field of vision. Advance Mode requires that you start off with a melee weapon until you gain kills, which (when accumulated to a higher level) will allow you to select more powerful guns. It’s similar to GunGame in Counter-Strike. These options are just another reason why this game is so much fun, you can customize it until your fingers turn blue. This, coupled with the option to customize your player is enough to make any gamer happy.

Bottom Line: Soldat is one of the purest forms of gaming fun. It’s addictive, it’s got simple but nice looking 2D graphics, a kick-ass modern soundtrack, and FPS-in-a-third-person-view gameplay that will appease even the most modern of gamers. What more can you ask for? It’s free to play, but for $13.99 you can upgrade to member status, allowing you to have custom profiles, unlimited gameplay recording, an MP3 player, and custom user interfaces. Paying when it’s not necessary is something I don’t usually advocate, but I think I can make an exception just once.

Rating: 9/10

Always remember, I do take requests and I will review your game. Any publicity is good publicity, so email or join the HealingTouch forums and PM me.

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