Call of Duty is
a first-person shooter that takes place during World War II. The game missions take
you through the history of the war, placing you in several familiar battles (and
some that are not so familiar). From D-Day to Stalingrad, you adventure through various
European countrysides, taking turns fighting for the Americans, the British, and
the Russians. "Whether cut off in a village in Normandy, battling to re-take
Red Square, boarding and sinking a German battleship, speeding down German-held roads
or rescuing Allied officers from a German stronghold, the dangers are more than any
one soldier can overcome. To make it through, you'll need your buddies around you,
and they'll need you."
- Play through 24 epic
single-player missions on four interconnected campaigns, or go online for Axis versus
Allies team-based multiplayer action.
- Intense battlefield
moments put you in the heat of the action, capturing the chaos of battle like never
- Together with your
squad, take on Nazi forces through a variety of authentic combat missions.
- Move through the
ranks, taking on more dangerous missions such as sniper missions and ambushes until
you are promoted to tank commander.
- iMac, 1.2 Ghz, 512MB
RAM, OS 10.3.7, behind firewall
- G4 Quicksilver, 1.47
Ghz upgrade, 640MB RAM, OS 10.3.8, direct to internet
Call of Duty comes on a DVD, and installs two games: one for Single Player action,
and the other for Multiplayer action. They run as separate applications, but each
has buttons to automatically connect to the other. You will be required to have the
DVD loaded in your computer when playing, and when venturing off into multiplayer
action, the first time will require you to enter a Call of Duty serial number. There's
a lot of data that gets loaded on your computer (1.15 GB), but the installation is
When you first start Call of Duty, the first level takes you through a training ground.
The training begins with how to control your field of vision, and continues on to
show the basics on how to maneuvre and use weapons. This is also a good time to determine
if the controls are comfortable for you. I went back to the menu and went into the
preferences to change a few controls (changing the keys for movement, action, and
a few others). What's good is that the game recognizes your changes, so that back
in training when it explains to use a key to perform an action, it specifies the
key you assigned (versus the default key).
I was immediately impressed with the graphics and the terrain, even in the training
level. In one task you must crawl under barbed wire while a soldier fires over your
head. The realism in the graphics is amazing, and the sound effects further enhance
the effects. And it only gets better once you get into the heat of some serious battles.
One last word on the training level: don't shoot the guy telling you had to do things.
First of all, it's not very nice, but in terms of gameplay, it is the same as when
you are killed. You'll have to restart from the last saved point.
Call of Duty - Training level
When you start a game,
you can choose to play as a Greenhorn, Regular, Hardcore or Veteran. I always played
as Greenhorn, which became very apparent once I got into some multiplayer action.
The term definitely applied! More on the multiplayer mode later. For the single player
mode, the greenhorn setting provide me all the challenge I could hope to have. I
was definitely never bored. I can only imagine what the tougher levels may be like.
Each level in the Single Player game starts with a chapter screen while the level
is loading, usually with mission info either handwritten or in a typed memo. These
notes and memos, along with other war memorabilia in the background, really added
to the feel of the game, enhancing the visual and historical experience. It sure
beats looking at nothing but a progress bar while the level loads.
Call of Duty chapter screen - Training level
Beyond the chapter screens, graphics, and mission text, it was really the battle
scenes themselves that provided the most intense feeling of what war might actually
feel like. In a few of the missions, you venture off on your own, such as when you
have to take out the guns on a dam, or rescue a British commander from the Nazis.
However, in most of your missions you must learn to fight alongside several of your
brothers-in-arms, learning how to utilize their skills as well as learning how not
to shoot them by accident in the heat of battle. Unlike most first-person shooters,
you do not stand out as the hero, nor do you have special strengths and skills (except
for your own ability to aim and fire under pressure). Whereas I usually felt like
the focal point in other first person shooters, in Call of Duty I felt more like
a part of a team. Additionally, a lot of the missions really left a lasting impression
on me, especially the first really intense battle I encountered. In the first set
of levels you are fighting as an American, and in one level my squad was approaching
a building that was held by the Nazis. There were Germans perched in nearly every
window in each of several buildings, all firing on us with various rifles and even
a few machine guns. My guys [the Americans] were running left and right, ducking
behind fences, commanders shouting "stay down", many soldiers dropping,
some wounded, some dead, all with the sound of gun fire whizzing by my ears. The
game did an amazing job at creating the "hell" of war in gameplay, including
the confusion and chaos, and learning how to stay controlled under extreme pressure.
I could almost smell the dirt and gunpowder in the air. You also learn how horribly
easy it is to shoot your own men by accident when under such extreme conditions.
While this certainly is not like the real thing where real blood is being shed and
real lives are being lost, this is the closest I've come in any game experience that
had me thinking about a lot of aspects of war that you don't typically consider.
In that light, this is definitely the most intense first-person shooter I've ever
The storyline for each of the levels were fantastically scripted, presenting chronicles
of many true to life events that occurred during World War II, such as the D-day
invasion, special forces operations, and the battles in Stalingrad. It even included
some levels emphasizing how the "sniper" made a big difference for the
Russians in fighting off the Germans (think of the movie "Enemy at the Gates").
Many of the levels also started with maps giving you a sense of where you are fighting.
At the start of each level you are given a primary objective, and these objectives
can change or expand during the level. During gameplay, you can always review your
objectives by using the Tab key. Likewise, your compass (shown at the bottom left
of the screen) always marks the direction of your primary objective at any given
time. At the top of the screen are subtle outlines of the weapons you have, including
the current weapon in use, and at the bottom right of the screen are ammo counters.
The on-screen controls are very simplistic and uncluttered, leaving most of the screen
to show the fantastic graphics and landscapes. In Call of Duty, you get to run over
rolling hills, jump over barracades, crouch behind bushes, crawl through holes in
crumbled down walls, and much more.
To help you with health, and with the absence of a medic in the game, there are health
kits placed throughout each of the levels (little green boxes with a red cross on
them). The placement of these health kits were just right in my opinion, bringing
me to the brink of death many times before I could find more health. Of course, I
died several times before finding a health kit as well, and death always brings you
to a screen where a famous war-related quote is displayed. From this screen you can
click on Continue, and it takes you to the last saved point in the game. There are
certain areas in each level where the game saves itself automatically, and you could
always save at any point by pressing the F5 key. I liked the fact that you could
save at any point, because there are some battles that once I got through them, I
knew I didn't want to have to do them again. That's when I'd quickly jump on the
Fighting off the Germans, finding a health kit
Call of Duty provides
you with the chance to try out several different kinds of guns and rifles, American,
British, Russian, and German. In some cases, after you've run out of your own ammo,
you have to exchange your weapons with weapons left behind by fallen German soldiers
in order to keep fighting. Oh, and don't always assume that a fallen German soldier
is dead. Oftentimes you only wound them, and they will get back up and start firing
at you. Some might even limp away after being shot. You might feel a little guilty
shooting a soldier limping away, but you better believe that if you don't, they will
find a weapon and turn around and try to kill you.
Fighting in the trenches against the Germans
The physics of the soldiers,
weapons and vehicles in the game were remarkable. Everything is in true 3D, and the
character graphics were smoothed and detailed. The weapons felt gritty, with just
the right kick when shooting, as well as very realistic sound effects. The realism
was so good that I almost expected to have an occasional weapon jam on me (like they
might in real war). I never did experience a weapon that jammed (although I ran out
of ammo plenty of times). For the stationery machine guns, there was not a run of
bullets that fed the gun like you might expect. Instead, these stationery guns basically
had unlimited ammo. I really didn't find that to be a hinderous to the game. At some
points, it actually felt like a relief to just sit on one of those guns and fire
constantly without the worry of running out of ammo. Certainly not realistic, but
for us "greenhorns", it was a welcome break. These stationery guns didn't
provide that much of an advantage because their position was rarely key to the battle,
and often there wasn't anyone to shoot at (because you had overtaken the German position
already to get your hands on the gun).
Besides shooting, flanking, ducking and running, some other tasks involved placing
explosives, shooting down airplanes with a monster gun, using rocket launchers to
take out tanks and trucks, riding passenger in cars and trucks while shooting at
other vehicles and soldiers you encounter along the way, and operating a tank.
Operating a tank in Call of Duty
When I completed the single
player missions, I wanted to try out the multiplayer games on the internet, but my
iMac was behind a firewall, and whatever ports the game used were blocked and I was
unable to play. After a few months, I got the game installed on a different computer
that was not behind a firewall, and finally got the chance to see what it was like
to play on the internet with other live players. I was definitely outplayed, living
up to my title of "greenhorn", but I improved in skills much faster playing
against other players. The more experienced players new the maps better than I did,
as well as knew the best techniques to use in battle. If you didn't want to jump
right in, you could actually watch from the "sidelines", or even watch
from the eyes of any of the players in the game. This was a great way to learn the
map and various techniques. All in all, I really enjoyed the multiplayer battles.
It was also good to see that there were a number of servers that I could find to
join (often, especially for Mac games, it's difficult to find other players on the
The other thing I discovered after the few months away from the game is that there
is good replay value in Call of Duty. I started the singe player mission all over
again, and enjoyed it just as much the second time around as I did the first time.
There were some things I could remember from the first go around, while others I
had forgotten. It also gave me the opportunity to do things better the second time
around, and each level was different enough from others that replaying these levels
never felt tedious or repetitive.
The user interface was quite stable. There were only a couple of times where the
game seemed to slow down a tad due to all the action, but for the most part it always
played smoothly. The mouse control was very good as well, much better than a few
other Mac OS X shooters that I've tried. One annoyance I ran into was that each time
I quit from the game on my G4, most of my desktop icons were all stacked on top of
each other in the top right corner of my screen. This was relatively annoying the
first time, but after painstakingly adjusting the icons to their proper position
and having it happen again and again made it extremely frustrating. I finally created
a new account where I didn't care about the desktop, and only ran the game from that
account when on my G4. I did not have this problem on my iMac.
It's hard to choose my favorite aspect of Call of Duty, because there were so many.
The way you had to work with your fellow soldiers was one of my favorites, as well
as the historical backdrop of the story. The 3D landscapes were amazing, as were
the sound effects, all adding to the realism of the game. There were a number of
special effects that further enhanced the experience as well, such as the wounding
of soldiers, throwing grenades at an enemy and having him throw the grenade back
at you, and the "stun" effect when a grenade or bomb went off near you.
Your motion gets blurry, your hearing becomes muffled, and you stumble in a slow
motion movement. This effect was eerie and frightening, adding to the overall chaos
of fighting in war.
Aspyr's Call of Duty is an action-packed first-person shooter that takes place during
World War II. The graphics and sounds are incredible in recreating the scenes of
war, and the game physics provide an awesome sense of what it might feel like in
war. Unlike other shooters, you must really learn to use your fellow soldiers to
succeed in your missions. In some of the fierce battles, there is so much firing
in both directions, soldiers running, dropping, and yelling, that it becomes a real
challenge to maintain composure, not shoot your own comrades, and focus on your mission.
The game delivers on the adrenaline rush, as well as the experience of how frightening
and intense war scenes can be. Gameplay was smooth and stable, and the game interface
was very responsive, including excellent mouse control. The only thing issue I ran
into was that when I quit the game, all of my desktop icons were hosed (although
this only happened on my G4, not my iMac). I was also pleased there there were several
servers available to join when venturing out into multiplayer games on the internet.
The other thing I liked about Call of Duty is that there is enough variety in levels
that it has good replay value. If you ever wondered what it might feel like to be
in World War II, experiencing the challenges, chaos, and confusion of battle, and
venturing through a variety of vast European countrysides, Call of Duty is the closest
thing you will find next to actually being there. I highly recommend this game to
any first person shooter fan or any history buff.
- Brilliant graphics and
realistic sound effects
- Landscapes, physics,
and missions provide incredible sense of being part of World War II
- Intense and chaotic battles
to challenge and excite you
- Cool spectator options
in multiplayer matches
- With some Mac configurations,
the desktop icons were hosed after quitting the game
- May generate too much
adrenaline for some (especially those that don't enjoy first person shooters)
- Unlimited ammo in machine
guns unrealistic (although Greenhorns might consider this a "pro")
4 1/2 out of 5 Mice