Call Of Duty was released in 2003 when I was in the 9th standard. I had just got myself a new computer and the guy who sold us the machine made it a point to install this game as an added perk for us buying the computer from him. This was one of the first computer games that I ever played along with Roadrash and Medal Of Honor and it is till this day one of my favorites. It was in a way the beginning of narrative gaming and even though its graphic were a far cry from what its successors have achieved over the years, it will still remain an extremely immersive and at many times a better game that its successors. For people who have started playing the Call Of Duty franchise from the Modern Warfare, Black Ops or the Ghost series onward and have not experienced this game, I strongly recommend playing this game.
As I mentioned earlier, this was the game which brought narrative gaming to the fore. The game follows the stories of three individuals and the player plays as all these three individuals. The three soldiers are from the American, British and Soviet forces of the war and the missions that they undertake in many ways helps in the allied forces winning the war. The missions are divided into the three parts namely American, British and the Russian campaigns and in the last three missions, the three soldier take part in three final missions which ultimately result in Allied victory. Unlike Medal Of Honor which was very similar in content to this game, Call Of Duty took some departures from the style and gaming experience overall.
While Medal Of Honor had its protagonist work like a lone wolf in the war, Call Of Duty always has it protagonist in a team of at-least two. In the Russian Missions, the protagonist is even made to ride a tank as he takes two extremely difficult mission to eliminate the enemy artillery. Apart from that there are constant situations when the protagonists are aided by reinforcements or some other teammate. What this does is make the game a lot more believable and immersive. It also helps to negate with the surging hordes of enemies when the game gets tougher and tougher in the later stages.
You start off by training as Private Martin of the US for the basics and then are immediately put out on a mission when you works as a path finder. You then take a series of missions destroying the enemy artillery. In the next part you play as Sergeant Evans of 2nd Ox and Bucks of the 6th Airborne Division and take part in Operation Tonga. You are to hold a bridge and then subsequently destroy artillery across a damn and finally sabotage the battleship Tirpitz to secure naval documents. The Russian chapter has you playing as Corporal Alexei Ivanovich Voronin who is put straight in the middle of the battle of Stalingrad. You start off without a weapon and after making acquaintance with an experienced sniper finally start finding a footing in the war.
At many times the game gives you a feeling of watching an animated film where you have the luxury of controlling your own actions. The controls are superb. Its best played using the keyboard and mouse and I had absolutely no trouble adjusting to its style. To start with I was more inclined on using the up-down-right-left keys for motion but quickly realized that w-s-a-d was a better option for the number of elements that I had to use from time to time. The game-play is as good as it could have been in those days. The AI is not what it is today, but the sheer number of adversaries coming at you from different angles make it quite tough to stand your ground. Even though they are not very intelligent, they just keep coming at you from everywhere. At many junctures I just died as I couldn’t finish shooting them all off. They also don’t die after being shot just once. For that you need a head shot.
There are certain aspects of the game that have to be played in a specific way and if you play it any different, it just won’t work. For instance in the Pavlov’s house sequence, there are six snipers in the building and you are supposed to get rid of them all before moving ahead. However as a soldier draws out the fire from the snipers, you are supposed to stay put and fire from a distance. I made the mistake of advancing forward a few times and once the machine guns open fire, the snipers are lost forever. That way you will never be able to complete the sequence. The portion where you are supposed to ride a tank and destroy three key artillery objects also requires precise timing more so when you are playing in the veteran mode.
The graphics of the game are as good as they could have been. However there are loads of glitches where characters stand on invisible platforms and the facial mechanics are no match to what we see these days but we have to take into account the period when this game came out. Having said that it still tries to gel the graphic, the old stock footage and some well written letters to give a compounded old school feel to the game. It has a standard Call Of Duty playtime of around 4-5 hours if you are a pro. For someone like me it took around 6 hours to finish and I am talking about now. The maximum time I spent was on the Russian chapter especially the tank battles.
Irrespective of its deficiencies, Call Of Duty is an epic game. It was the torch bearer for the modern day first person shooter games. It is so well done and immersive that playing it in 2015, I still felt the same rush that I experienced playing it for the first time. A terrific achievement in terms of technology and aesthetics.