Terrorist Takedown: Conflict in Mogadishu (PC)

Like any red-blooded male, I like a good war. Apparently what passes for it these days is shooting at random peoples under the banner of ‘killing terrorists’.

So it’s back to Mogadishu in a Black Hawk to kill innocent black peop….ahem I mean Terrorists obviously…..

Originally my review for Acegamez was posted  here.

Full review text below the cut:

Terrorist Takedown: Conflict in Mogadishu

Out in the blasted wastes of Somalia, with the sun relentlessly beating down on the hard baked earth, the US army stands ready to protect the interests of freedom from the ever present threat of terror, taking down Somalian terrorists and drug lords while protecting the United Nations workers from constant kidnap peril. This is where Conflict in Mogadishu, City Interactive’s latest release in the Terrorist Takedown series, comes in, letting us live out the dream of attaining freedom by shooting a lot of people who are dressed in rags and carrying AK47s.

Evolving the series from its first incarnation as an on-rails shooter set in a variety of random Middle Eastern states to a full blown first person shooter, the game has come on leaps and bounds, letting you run through the savage, war-torn streets, killing the local khat-addicted psychopaths while keeping the forces of evil down. Sounds a little odd, no? Considering that Somalia is known as a war-torn zone that has only recently managed to re-establish citywide control over the local militia and the warlords that have held it in a stranglehold, it’s a slightly inappropriate setting for an action FPS. Had the game been set fifteen years ago during the most famous American intervention then it would make a lot more sense.

This brings us to one of the other strange things in the game – the title. Terrorist Takedown. More terrorists, eh? It’s strange how they seem to be everywhere these days; it seems that in the gaming world at least, the term ‘terrorist’ is simply a useful explanation for giving the player carte blanche to shoot their way through the population of whichever nation are playing as the bad guys. Often that isn’t a problem, but in this particular increment of the series, the casting of Somalian terrorists in Mogadishu leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth, especially when the majority of the action involves little or no terrorist activity and instead seems to be based around the wanton slaughter of anyone who crosses your path. The rare occasions when a non-combatant shows up are generally preceded by a cut scene, to let you know that this person isn’t another target to be slaughtered. But they’re few and far between and have little impact on gameplay; as with all the allied characters, they can take a dozen or so shots to the face without breaking stride, while the enemies are susceptible to a single round to the forehead.

The lack of non-combatants seems equally ridiculous considering the setting of Mogadishu, one of the most overpopulated cities in the world. Yet the city streets lie bare and empty, save for the sporadic but relentlessly dependable popping up of armed assailants. Not that it’s made in an inappropriate fashion; there are no intentional slurs here, in fact there is little to no comment made about the situation at all. Much like the rest of the game, it’s plain and lacking in detail.

Graphically, Conflict in Mogadishu is a letdown, but an understandable one. The Lithtech engine powering the game is over five years old and while it still looks good, with a fair level of texture detail and models that look more like people than cubes, it looks far more like a cartoon than a game with this sort of serious mindset ought to. Conversely, the vast, empty scrublands are simply that; vast, empty expanses with a few identikit shacks and trucks thrown in for flavour between the hills that shepherd you from one scripted engagement to the next, giving the feel of a student project rather than a viable production game. Curiously, the sound is excellent, with the weapons giving off meaty booms and the voice acting performed without embarrassment, despite the poor script.

Saying that Conflict in Mogadishu is basic would be an understatement. There is little more to it than running along a hugely linear path and shooting. Occasionally this is broken up with the on-rails sections, during while you move along a completely linear path whilst shooting a much larger weapon, but from further away. There are only a handful of weapons with no ammo pick-ups and the enemies come in two flavours: generic Somalian 1 and generic Somalian 2, neither of whom can aim, especially the few who shoot rockets at your Black Hawk. As a result the game never builds up a challenge and while the shooting isn’t bad, it doesn’t make up for the lack of personality inherent to this title. While some options have been added to the control, such as the ability to lean sideways around corners, and the utterly superfluous ability to holster your weapons, it’s all plain sailing on the FPS ocean.

Sadly, the same can’t be said for the AI, as your enemies do little other than run at you firing, while your own squad of friendlies are just plain broken. Outdoors they alternate between tactically advancing without you, picking off enemies before you get a chance to fire, or should you get more than twenty feet ahead, they stay put until you backtrack and walk close enough to spur them into action once more. Indoors they become more lethal than the Somalis, as they get in each other’s way, block you in corners and run into your firing line whenever possible.

There are a few positives in Terrorist Takedown: Conflict in Mogadishu, but overall this is a release that is outdated and empty, especially seeing as the entire Mogadishu conflict was covered far better years ago in Delta Force: Black Hawk Down. It might be budget in price but it is equally budget in production, the result being that Conflict in Mogadishu is going to appeal only to the pedestrian Sunday gamers who will pick it up out of the bargain basement bins it is destined to fill.



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