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Game Over Online ~ Men of Valor (c) Vivendi Universal Games

Men of Valor (c) Vivendi Universal Games

Published: Thursday, October 21st, 2004 at 04:36 PM
Written By: Jason McMaster

Well, it seems as if World War II games have finally ran their course and itís now time for a new war to base our avalanche of games upon. What should it be? Korea? Nah, itís called the forgotten war for a reason. Civil War? Nah, muzzle loaders suck. Vietnam? JACKPOT!!!

Well, now that the onslaught of Vietnam games has begun in earnest, we here at Game Over wanted to have a look at the best. Depending on what your personal idea of best is, we chose Men of Valor because itís by 2015 which, as you may or may not know, is part of what was the Medal of Honor team. Other than that little fact, Men of Valor just looks keen anyway.

The back story for Men of Valor is fairly simple: the game follows the exploits of Dean Shepherd throughout his tour of duty in Vietnam and to all the crazy places it takes him. I mean, who doesnít dream of being shot at by the delightful troops of the North Vietnamese Army? Who doesnít want to be ambushed by the Viet Cong? If you answered negatively to any of the above questions, I should come to your house and stomp your face off for not being AMERICAN!

So, the first thing that really jumps out about Men of Valor is the fact that the dialog isnít boring or out of place. In fact, it appears that the design team actually watched some movies or read a few books (such as Dispatches by Michael Herr) before making this game. From the conversations atop APCs while riding down a dirt road to the casual banter while humping through the jungle, itís easy to tell that some research has went in to making it feel, if not authentic, familiar. The amount of care taken to capture the mood through dialog is readily apparent and a welcome change from the standard fare of war-based shooters.

Once in the jungle, the graphic design and layout of the levels is very involving and attractive. The foliage, which provides cover for you and your men as well as for the enemy, is thick and deep and adds an almost smothering feel to movement while on missions. The occasional breaks from being surrounded by trees are filled with rice patties and napalmed clearings that make you long for the cover of jungle, especially when Charlie is firing at you from all angles and thereís nowhere to hide.

The overall appeal of the design extends beyond foliage as well, during one early mission youíre forced to walk down a stream bed and the water effects look fantastic. Well, that is if you get to look at them for very long while guys are shooting at you, but you gotta stop and smell the roses. What weíre getting at here is that Men of Valor is a nice looking game.

Other than just the basic eye-candy appeal, Men of Valor has a lot of engaging gameplay experience going for it as well. Creeping nervously through the jungle listening and looking hard for any sign of the enemy will put anyone on edge. The entire level theme of the game has the feel of earlier games from the same development house, as in the game is moved forward by the use of scripted events and an invisible path in which the player is led along. The control scheme is something that anyone who has played an FPS, especially on of the war-based games within the last few years, will be instantly familiar with.

Player damage is handled in a somewhat interesting way. Once a player is shot, his health indicator will drop and there will be a flashing red section that can be bandaged up that otherwise will slowly drain as your character continues to bleed. Bandaging can be done by the player and doesnít require the help of a squad-mate. Full health can be attained by picking up canteens and medical packs, per usual.

The cut-scenes and scripted sequences do a lot to get the player involved in the game as well as move the story along. The use of such plot devices to build upon the scenery and mood of a game and have become paramount over the last few years. This game looks and feels like a top notch shooter and will surely be very well received once released. This Fall/Winter season is gonna be a good one for gaming fans.

Questions or comments about the upcoming release of Men of Valor for the PC? Talk to us!

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