Eurogamer: Soldner Retrospective

By John Walker on August 16th, 2010 at 12:00 pm.

Soldner.

My love for Soldner is real and weird. The most bugged game I’ve encountered (while Boiling Point’s bugs were extraordinary, it was at least a decent game underneath), it plays like slapstick comedy with an unbreakably straight face. I returned to it, playing the completely unpatched original version, and sticking to the single player (I did try to play some multiplayer later, but of course it didn’t work), to see if it would deliver the joy years on. It, of course, did. You can read my adventures here.

There’s a quote from it below, as it’s a bit long.

This is not my favourite fuel tank popping out of existence story Soldner has provided. I remember a few years ago playing it, driving to a house in which a target was held, with a large fuel container out front. There were two enemy tanks, which on seeing my arrival sprang into action. One started driving around the house in a peculiarly elliptical orbit, while the other tested the strength of the external wall of the building by repeatedly ramming into it.

After it blew itself up the orbiting tank’s trajectory took into its path the fuel tank, causing it to crash directly into it. There was some sort of pop, and then in their place sat a Jeep, driven by a man in a red beret.

This is like being given a cuddle by God.

Read the rest here.

Soldner.

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40 Comments »

  1. Tom-INH says:

    I remember you describing that bit quoted above on one of the early podcasts. I couldn’t stop laughing for a good couple of minutes afterwards.

  2. terry says:

    I never played this, but I might pick it up given I’m a sucker for hilarious bugs. I got a great one in Fallout 3 the other where I dropped a pressure cooker that then clipped slightly into a wall, which made it rise clattering to the ceiling in a spasmodic manner and finally shoot across the room. It made me pine for something so rad to occur in a scripted manner because it would scare the bejesus out of people.

    • robrob says:

      Pressure cooker, you are rad! You. Are. Rad.

    • Sarlix says:

      My number one most bizarre gaming experience (well off-line anyway) happened to me in Fallout3.

      I was at the base of some sort of ravine when I heard a MASSIVE explosion, I remember thinking “hmm that’s odd, I wonder what that was” I shrugged it off and carried on my way to the top of the ravine. When I reached the top there was a NPC standing there, I believe he was a quest giver rather than just a travailing merchant.

      We started to have chat when it became apparent he indeed had a quest for me. He was in mid process of tell me where I needed to go and about to give me some item, when out of nowhere the top half of a wind turbine, A FREAKING WIND TURBINE! came hurtling down hitting the NPC square on the head and crushing him to death. All I could see was his arm sticking out still holding whatever quest item he was about to give me.

      I could not believe it, and still can’t to this day. Clearly the explosion I heard earlier was something to do with this whole freak accident. I never found out what had caused it, or were it had come from but man, it was the weirdest thing ever . I remember thinking at the time ‘there’s no point telling anyone about this, no one will ever believe me! But I swear it did happen!

    • dudekiller says:

      Man! Fallout 3 was an incredible game for bugs.

      I remember a time when I was exploring the ruined wastelands of Washington, travelling along a road by a river. I came across two children standing, absolutely motionless, fused one into the other, right in the centre of the road. One faced north, one faced south, and each one’s face was pushed through the back of the other’s skull, like the faces of Janus.

      Two children, one white, one black, locked in a tighter embrace than anyone could ever hope to achieve. Games aren’t art? Check and mate, motherfucker.

    • dudekiller says:

      Oh, yeah! There was also the time, about ten or so hours into the game, when huge areas of Washington – whole city blocks – got enveloped in a sinister, shimmering haze, distorting the shape of the buildings. Whenever I got closer, the haze started to wrap itself around my gun and work its way up my arm.

      I spent HOURS picking my routes around these blocks, assuming it was the visible manifestation of some awful radiation that would turn me into a flying pressure cooker or a two-faced child.

      Turns out, I was witnessing the mad visions of a disintegrating graphics card. Fantastic.

    • Sarlix says:

      “One faced north, one faced south”

      Like some sort of twisted sign post lol….Love it.

    • Man Raised By Puffins says:

      Man, my tale of being chased through a basement by an elastic suit of power armour suddenly seems terribly drab.

    • westyfield says:

      I had this amazing bug in Fallout 3 where every now and then it would think I was running it in a window, and interpret my clicking and dragging (firing a machine gun while moving) as me trying to drag the window around. Then it would crash.
      Fun times.

    • 2GunCohen says:

      A 4 manned patrol off the very manly Brotherhood Of Steel in underwear …
      Exterminating a camp of Raiders and blowing upp because some cars went off.
      What a magnificent sight of bravery and stupidity in one moment.

      I wept a tear that day :D

  3. AndrewC says:

    ‘could you point on the crucifix where God touched you?’

  4. ShowMeTheMonkey says:

    Me and my brother played this sooooo much!

    I loved it so as it was batshit insane. We used to love picking people in jeeps up with the hook on one of the helicopters. With four of us we played two helicopters, two jeeps and then tried to kill each other with our swinging jeeps. What followed is one of my greatest gaming memories of my brother.

    To cut a long story short it all ended when one of the jeeps decided that it would like to stick to the ground. The chopper kept climbing and suddenly as if on elastic the chopper sprang back to earth hitting the jeep and exploding.

    Ahhhh, what a crap game. I loved it.

    And who can forget: “SOLDNER” “SOLDNER” “SOLDNER” “SOLDNER” “SOLDNER” “SOLDNER” “SOLDNER”

    “MAP CHECK”. Why on earth add a voice that yells that at you everytime you open the map?!

  5. crooon says:

    For a game with a typo for a title, why is anyone surprised?

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Is it a typo?

      The german for Soldier is Soldat, so I assumed it was some weird play on that, or the smushing of two words together, like pokemon.

    • Boldoran says:

      I think its called Söldner in the german speaking world which translates to mercenary. The probably just dropped the umlaut so foreign journalist can type the name correctly.

    • Batolemaeus says:

      What Boldoran said, which is sad for the inverse reason that “Brütal Legend” is very funny to say out loud in german.

  6. ShowMeTheMonkey says:

    HAHAHA!

    I just wiki’d Soldner and found that its bugs surpassed and broke the fourth wall:

    “All copies of this game sold as Marine Corp: Semper Fidelis in Target stores have defective CD keys. Initially, emails to techsupport@evolvedgames.com resulted in working keys being emailed to the customer, but this no longer seems to be the case. It’s recommended that customers contact Target for a refund”

    Ahhh Soldner, even in real life you’re buggy.

    Soldner.

  7. westyfield says:

    Can we get a video of the ‘soldner’ man? Please?

  8. The Great Skratsby says:

    Ah hah, ah yes.

    I remember anticipating this game immensely, hoping it would be a crossbreed of Operation Flashpoint, Battlefield and Hidden and Dangerous.

    From the first loading screen my hopes and dreams were subsequently crushed, now I strolled down the path of tactical shooter bitterness.

    Soldner.

  9. tome says:

    I’m still laughing literally five minutes after I read the piece.

  10. Spacewalk says:

    All of those screenshots are from a fictional video game but only one of those captions could get you arrested in the real world.

  11. Player1 says:

    This game ain’t dead yet. There is a “new” patch from two years ago out which irons out a lot of bugs and some people are still playing it while others are working on a completely free Community Edition which should come out right after Duke Nukem Forever.

    You can find infos here: http://soldner.jowood.com/ and here: http://www.togcom.de/forum/

  12. EBass says:

    hmmmmm funniest bugs ever.

    Hidden and Dangerous. During one of the later missions (set in a forest, you start with a half track) I shot a machine gunner out of a German Half Track and the driver of the half track suddenly got out of the vehicle, grew to about 60 feet tall and started sprinting about. He still died to a couple of shots from my SMG though and I could hardly miss.

    Deus Ex. Take a drink from a water fountain in Unatco HQ and suddenly the whole place goes hostile sprinting about yelling “ITS DENTON! GODDAM TERRORIST!”

    Worst most annoying bug ever is still Black and Whites end of game bug which made your creature permenantly tiny diseased and useless, even the patch didn’t sort that out for me.

  13. stone says:

    I want this now!! Is it even possible to get Soldner vanilla in some digital store ? I don’t want the Semper Fidelis FAIL version obvioulsy (ref the KEYS).

  14. Tei says:

    It was horrible, don’t make me think about it.

  15. Gassalasca says:

    On a scale from one to disturbing, how fond is God of cream teas?

  16. AtkinsSJ says:

    It’s £1.74 on Amazon. Might have to give it a go just to see it in action. :D

  17. Dozer says:

    “Cuddle from God”? I’ve heard that said before… you’re not plagiarising BdT are you John?

  18. Digit says:

    Wow! Now this I never expected to see on RPS D:

    Blast from the past or what.

    I worked at Wings Simulations on the add-on and the preceeding and subsequent patches right before JoWood pulled the plug. Before I got my job at Wings, I wrote for Avault many years ago and flew to Germany to interview the developers on Soldner, as it was due out in about 4 months from the time my interview went up. I remember thinking when I played it, that things were going to be very interesting on release, because at that time there was a lot of tech at play, but no gameplay.
    Unfortunately I think several factors conspired to making them release the game before it was ready and I remember the initially version out of the box I played. I pressed ‘A’ and my tank started spinning on the spot uncontrollably, and I remember driving it through a wooded area, hitting a little bump in the ground and becoming airborne for about 40 seconds, it was just crazyness. But I don’t think, especially after working there, anyone can say that they didn’t love their game, and the subsequent patches and addon really helped things and brought the game up to a really solid level. I had so much fun in Soldner, it was just ridiculous and I was really pleased I didn’t let the initial version put me off, as it landed me my first (very short heh) job in the industry and some very fond memories indeed :>

  19. Dustin Diamond's Sex-Tape says:

    There’s only so much you can really expect from a game with a typo in its name.

  20. MultiVaC says:

    Soldner. Soldner. Soldner. Soldner.

    I only ever played the open beta, but the name will be burned into my memory forever.

  21. MrTambourineMan says:

    Genious article and ingenious game, but do you remember original Hidden and Dangerous? Drivers of tanks would become “inflated” so that their arms and heads would stick out of the tank and you could then take care of the tank by headshooting the “inflated” driver?

  22. cowthief skank says:

    I think I played it for five minutes. The only thing I remember is the title being spoken when you loaded. Why would they even do this?

  23. Davee says:

    Ohh man, just read this one again after it was linked from a more recent post. So many hilarious memories :)