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Have You Played... Medal Of Honour: Allied Assault?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

People talk about Medal of Honour for its cinematic singleplayer campaign, which (at the time) impressively recreated the Normandy beach landing scene and other scenarios famous from Saving Private Ryan World War 2. I remember it mainly for its Stalingrad multiplayer map, however.

It was set in and around a small cloister of multi-storey buildings which had been ravaged by bombing. There was a central courtyard into which these buildings peered, through windows and through the holes blown in their sides.

That made it a tense, sneaky map to play on. I’d spend my time with a bolt rifle, crouching around inside buildings, peering out of windows and across the courtyard into other windows, trying to snatch a peek of the enemy. In a way, Red Orchestra’s entire design seems visible in the experience of that one map.

When I think about it now however, the map represents much of what I’d come to hate about multiplayer map design in later Call of Duty’s. Mainly that it encouraged camping, by offering defensible and obscured positions which overlooked areas newly spawned players couldn’t avoid traversing. But in the setting of World War 2, where weapons were slower to fire than in modern CoDs, it made for a wonderful and tense experience.

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Graham Smith

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