What’s the first World War II game that you played as a kid? If you grew up in the late 90s as I did, it might be Medal of Honor. Developed by DreamWorks Interactive and published by Electronic Arts, Medal of Honor was released in 1999 for the PlayStation. Does this game earn the Medal of Honor? Strap in boys, we’re parachuting into the Medal of Honor review.
Medal of Honor Plot:
You play Jimmy Patterson, a fictional lieutenant who gets recruited into the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) a real organization that was involved in World War II. Patterson is sent on various missions to help the Allies win. Missions include rescuing a downed pilot, destroying “Greta” the railgun, going undercover to sabotage a U-Boat, shutting down a mustard gas facility, destroying a heavy water plant, recovering stolen art, and blowing up a rocket facility.
Before each mission during my Medal of Honor review, I heard the details through a black and white video showing WWII footage as my commander discussed what’s crucial about the mission. You also have a pen pal friend who is a French woman that is undercover. I can’t remember her name but she gives important details in her letters about what you’ll face in the mission and objectives you need to complete. As the game progresses it sounds like she gets a crush on you but who wouldn’t after you’ve become a war machine slaughtering thousands of Nazis in your way!
Want to know a fun fact from this Medal of Honor review? Steven Spielberg, yes that Steven Speilberg wrote the story for the game!
Medal of Honor Gameplay:
Remember how much I loved the menu to Driver? It was perfect and something that games today don’t put a lot of effort into. Medal of Honor has a fantastic menu too. It’s set in an office with members of the army walking around and conducting various things. You can highlight different sections of the room to open up submenus like multiplayer, options, records, briefing, next missions, etc… There are lots to see and hear on this busy menu. When you save the game you use a typewriter, it’s these small details that go so far in creating a believable world and it scored big points during my Medal of Honor review.
This is WWII so there’s tons of shooting that you’ll be doing throughout the game. You aim by holding R2 to bring a red crosshair on the screen and move it with an analog stick. It took a little getting used to during my Medal of Honor review but after a few missions, I loved it and became an expert sharpshooter by the end of the game.
The best element to Medal of Honor is the enemy AI and their reactions to being shot. Shooting different areas of their body result in different animations from them. You can shoot them in the arm for them to clutch it, or in the leg to see them hop around on one foot, you can even shoot them in the nuts to watch them howl in pain and grab themselves. It’s all very detailed as the enemies can go down after being shot, get back up to defend themselves, or crawl away to try and recover. It’s very realistic for a PS1 game and I came away very impressed during my Medal of Honor review. There are probably 20 different animation deaths to witness throughout the game for the common soldier. Your enemies respond to the environment around them too. It was fun to watch them gather around a snowman during a snow mission, or sneak up on them while they’re pissing or having a smoke. When you throw a grenade sometimes they’ll even pick it up and throw it back. One time an enemy tried kicking the grenade back at me only to have it ricochet back to him and blow him up. He started to run away with his hands up when he realized what he did before being blown up. There are attack dogs that scared the crap out of me. I think when I was younger they were tough to kill because they were low to the ground and you had to be quick before they bit you. I didn’t feat them at all this time around and quickly put them down like old yeller.
There’s a great variety of missions in Medal of Honor. Some missions will be a firefight throughout the whole level as you kill Nazis left and right. Other missions will require you to be undercover and act accordingly as you sneak around stealing information or flipping switches. Most levels are beatable within 15 minutes but make sure not to die near the end of the level because there are no checkpoints. You’ll have to start all over and replay everything if you fail. This happened to me a few times during my Medal of Honor review where I was right by the end of the level and fooled around too much. I ended up getting blown up by an RPG which really ticked me off.
On occasion during my Medal of Honor review, there were a few times when the enemy would be able to shoot me from behind a wall. It didn’t happen much but it was a glitch I didn’t care for. Another glitch I ran into was a few soldiers got sucked into the wall but could still shoot at me. It only happened one time but it was strange and frustrating that I couldn’t kill them.
The same friend that had Blackthorne for the SNES and Driver for the PS1 also had Medal of Honor. I used to go to his house after school and play it with him. The dogs always scared us but we discovered that if you threw a grenade they’d bite it and take it back to their commander blowing them both up. We used to say “Give the doggy a treat” before throwing a grenade. I never beat the game on my own until this review but it didn’t come without one huge issue.
My disc was scratched up and the movies between levels didn’t play very well. That wasn’t a big deal during my Medal of Honor review but when it came to the second to last level, a section of it wouldn’t load. You are in some mines where you are recovering stolen art and you need to make your way to the exit but instead of the tunnel being there, a large black hole blocked my path. I restarted that level almost 20 times to see if the black hole would glitch would stop but it never did. Thankfully it was near the end of the level and there’s a code that you can input to reach the last level so I did that and beat it. I was able to play 95 percent of my game with a damaged disc.
Medal of Honor Review Score:
Medal of Honor ushered in a new era of World War II games. It set the bar very high with the detailed enemy soldiers, mission variety, and large weapon selection. Medal of Honor inspired Call of Duty, and I wish the series was still going strong today but sadly there hasn’t been a release since 2012 and that game received horrible reviews.
Medal of Honor scores an 8.9 out of 10.
What would you write for your Medal of Honor review? Do you remember when Medal of Honor first came out? Were you able to beat the game? Did you play the multiplayer? What was your favorite weapon to use? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!