Early in the days of first person shooters, gameplay consisted of see the bad guy, shoot the bad guy. Delta Force: Xtreme takes us back to this simpler time, before every FPS felt like blockbuster movie.
The Delta Force series has spanned nearly 7 years and while NovaLogic has never pushed the FPS envelope with these games, they have provided fun and affordable entertainment in a genre that too often sacrifices gameplay for graphics and substance for style.
Delta Force is the 1st Special Operations Detachment of the United States armed forces. Members of this elite force perform dangerous counter-terrorism and hostage rescue missions around the world. The same sorts of missions are undertaken in Delta Force: Xtreme, although in place of stealthy, commando style operations, the missions are more Rambo-esque. In real life, Delta Force will have spent months planning their missions and will have spent almost as much time training for it and getting briefed on the information surrounding the theatre of the mission. In the game, you get a very brief description of your objective, a weapon of your choice, and a kick out the door.
The game has three campaigns, each comprised of variety of missions that unfold in a linear way. The campaigns take place in believable theatres; fighting rebels in Chad, drug lords in Peru, or Russian ex-military. There are many different mission goals (mostly kill all the bad guys at waypoint X), but there is enough variety in the levels themselves to keep you from getting bored.
While the missions have other members of Delta Force in them, there is no really sense of unity. The computer controlled helpers will drive vehicles for you and will generally be going towards the same waypoints you are, but most of the time you will find yourself working on your own. Don't worry, the artificial intelligence of your team mates will make you appreciate not being around them. They tend to rush towards there objectives, heedless of the dangers around them.
The artificial intelligence of the enemies Delta Force is nothing to write home about either. More often than not, they will simply run at you in a straight line, stopping occasionally to shoot wildly in your general direction. In the later campaigns, enemies will go prone and their accuracy is improved, but even then it is not hard to take them down in swarms. Accuracy is not really the right word for it, though. Once an enemy locates you, they will fire at you or advance on your location. Unless there is an obstacle, in which case they will choose to stay behind it and shoot at the angle closest to you without hitting the obstacle (which in many cases is straight up).
Even with the enemies tracer bullets flying all around you, there's never any real sense of danger or urgency. Most mission objectives will wait for you to finish them at your own pace. You'll often develop an "I'll rescue the hostage when I feel like it" mentality. Even dying in game isn't a major set back. You can respawn in the mission from the last objective that you achieved, with all the enemies slain up to that point staying dead. Respawning allows you to change your weapon load out and to restock on ammunition, as well as gain back all the health you've lost. Dying would actually be sought after for this reason if it weren't for the abundance of glowing resupply crates.
The only real downside to getting killed in Delta Force: Xtreme is that you lose all the experience points you've gained up to that point. Experience points are collected by killing enemies with your weapons. Each time you kill an enemy, you'll hear a ding, and your experience counter will go up. The ding really takes away from the seriousness of the game; there's no longer any uncertainty as to whether your grenade got the guy or not. These experience points really only serve as a way to measure your high score on a particular level. It would have been nice to see you accumulate these points throughout an entire campaign and be able to use them to purchase upgrades or new weapons.
Delta Force: Xtreme doesn't create any new benchmarks in the graphics department, but it has a decent frame rate and does run smoothly for the most part, though it lags quite badly during explosions or smoke effects, even on higher end machines. There is very little variety in the character models, so little in fact that the rebels in Chad look identical to the drug lords in Peru. The weapons and vehicles don't look bad, and the terrain and flora look pretty good (if somewhat repetitive).
Delta Force: Xtreme definitely won't be replacing the other FPS's on your computer, but it fills the niche of something to play when you want some quick and dirty action. If you're looking for a shooter you can pick up and play quickly, easily, and cheaply, Delta Force: Xtreme might be a game for you.