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    Shadow Force: Razor Unit
    Author: Drew Lanclos   Publisher: Activision Value   Developer: FUN Labs
    Date Posted: August 9th, 2002
    SLRating: SLRating: 6.5/10
    Bottom Line: The single player missions are fun for a while, but in all, the game just feels erratically put together.

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    Razor Unit uses the Quake II engine, and it shows. The maps even seem to use some of the brushes from the single-player game in Quake II. Oddly enough, however, Razor Unit's framerates seem to be a bit slow for the low-detail environments. This can most likely be explained by the fact that the majority of the maps are outdoor areas, and the Quake II engine is known to be best-suited for rooms and contained environments. Many of Razor Unit's maps, however, have mountain ranges, foxholes, or city buildings, which are in the same "room" by game logic, and so they're all loaded into memory.

    One thing the game tries to make use of is situational lightning. One of your standard pieces of military equipment is a set of night-vision goggles. The intent is that you can use your pistol (or any other overpowered wasteful rifle you have handy) to blow out room lights so that you can take out guards in the dark. The danger of using this tactic, however, is that during the few opportunities you have to do this, you're often facing soldiers equipped with barrel-mounted flashlights, which blind your vision while you're still wearing the goggles. And to be quite honest, I don't have any gamma problems on my monitor, but even after killing the lights in a room, I could still see quite well. On the other hand, the guards generally could too, so I guess we're even.

    The sound used in the game is really one of its biggest focuses. The wind whistles through the plains as you make your way through the terrain, and you can hear the whispering of troops in Arabic tongues (I presume it's authentic, but I'm American, so what do I know?) as they march their patrol routes. The game doesn't play background music very often, but when it does, it's generally to accentuate the emotion your character is likely feeling at the time. It's often a good sort of modified Middle-Eastern-themed chant or requiem, and it doesn't get in the way of the action. However, it often does get in the way of the voiceovers, which, while few, are generally too quiet to hear, whether or not you're in a silent area.

    The individual weapons all have their own sounds, so if you train yourself on it, you could likely tell what a tower guard is shooting you with even if you can't see him. This was a nifty touch. It also makes you selective of what weapons you pick up from the ground. If you're armed with a noisy close-action shotgun and you need to take some people out without getting a lot of attention, you might want to drop it in favor of a low-report assault rifle, or maybe even switch down to your pistol. Again, however, the AI in the game seems to pay little attention to these variances that would make more difference against human players, so the benefit may be little for the players to do this.

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    Article Navigation

    1. Introduction
    2. Gameplay
    3. Graphics/Sound
    4. Multiplayer
    5. Conclusion/Pros & Cons
    6. Rating Breakdown

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