The game-play has all the controls found in a regular shoot ’em up. The weapons and the creeping around are pretty standard. The real difference is that you’re part of a team, usually about six or seven commandos and snipers. They are an elite team made up of Green Berets – which makes them the best of the best, of the best – called the Ghosts. They are called that because if you meet them in combat, you’re already dead. Actually, if you meet me in combat, there is a good chance you’ll escape with your life… and possibly mine. The team is divided into three groups, and you direct them to predetermined points and set their rules of engagement. If you just want to run around and shoot stuff, you’ll end up dead in double-quick time – much like in real life. Stealth is the key here, you need to see the enemy before they see you. Luckily, you have six pairs of eyes on the lookout, and if one of your team sees a baddie, he’ll open fire and take him out. This often happens before you’ve even figured out where the hostile foe is, which is a bit unnerving. If you recklessly send your men into the field without cover, they are just as capable as getting picked off as you. The fewer men in your team, the harder the job will be. If you boldly front the team, then there’s a good chance you’ll be taken out by enemies unseen. If this happens, you play as another member of your assault team – if there’s one left, that is. Hi-tech hardware
The weaponry is high tech and, as far as I can tell, authentic. There are assault rifles, sniper rifles and a selection of explosives. The sniper rifle has a continuous zoom that is operated by a mouse’s scroll wheel if you have one. There are night-vision glasses that let you sneak up on bad guys in darkness, too. The camouflage in this game is unique. In other games players can be spotted a mile away, because of the unrealistic lighting and hard edges – not so here. I was constantly getting scared because one of my own men was creeping through the undergrowth, unseen. Enemies are equally difficult to see, so camouflage is a double-edged sword. Another aid to stealth is the ability to drop right down and creep along on your belly. Most games let you crouch, but this lets snipers stay almost totally concealed while picking off terrorists. Each mission gets gradually harder, but as you finish each one new specialists will join the platoon. This makes life a little easier, but I’d recommend taking this game slowly. It’s silly to lose your top sniper just because you were in a rush. Plan ahead, make waypoints, and keep your head down. Whenever you’re safe, reload weapons. As soon as an enemy is spotted, waste no time in wasting him – otherwise you’ll die, or worse still, the alarm will be raised and the whole squad taken out. It’s heart-stopping stuff to be lying in the long grass not knowing where the gunfire is coming from, and hoping there’s is a member of the squad left to save you. This is by no means a relaxing game. There’s a multiplayer element to Ghost Recon, but it uses the GameSpy network rather than its own built-in solution. This makes it a bit clunky, and hard to figure out. This is somewhere that Medal of Honor definitely has an advantage.
If you have nerves of steel and a steady hand, then Ghost Recon will provide hours of fun. If you’re a fan of high-tech Clancyesque warfare, you won’t be disappointed. The Ghosts offer all the tools you need for surgical strikes at the very heart of enemy territory. But it’s down to you whether the results are Green Beret or Captain Mainwaring‘s Dad’s Army. Min specs: Mac OS 9; PowerPC G3/450MHz; 256MB RAM; ATI Rage 128 graphics card (with 16MB VRAM); 1GB hard-disk space.