Have You Played… Medal Of Honour: Allied Assault?

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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26 Comments

  1. BobbyDylan says:

    Yeah. That beach landing was brutal! Lots of reloads there.

  2. noiseferatu says:

    Call of Duties.

  3. Stargazer86 says:

    This was the first game I ever played on a non-DOS PC. At the time it was the most fantastic thing and that beach landing was pure greatness. Then when CoD came along, it took those moments and cranked them up even higher. And finally Battlefield 1942 let you create those moments yourself.

    And now I pretty much hate all those series. Years and years of salty build-up right there, I tell you.

  4. lagiacrux says:

    mohaa was THE multiplayer shooter we played the most at our lan parties with schoolmates. many hours were wasted sniping, rocketing and camping on stalingrad free4all with 10+ players. such good times …

  5. Detournemented says:

    Wow, blast from the past. I played that Stalingrad map hundreds of times when this came out. Tis sad that these game franchises are now soulless drivel.

    I bounced hard off of Red Orchestra due to getting in to it to late to effectively compete. Would really love to see a new version of Day of Defeat – that was my favorite WW2 from the era.

  6. Cooper says:

    I’ve always wanted a 2-player multiplayer game that’s basically some of the scenes from ‘Enemy at the Gates’.

    Where there’s just two of you, slow reload sniper rifles and lots of shells of buildings to hide in…

    • crowleyhammer says:

      Sniper elite recreates this i think?

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      termit says:

      Sort of did this with a friend back when Delta Force 2 was still a thing. We would set up a low frag limit for a map, and have a sniper duel between just the two of us. We had an unspoken gentleman’s agreement that neither of us would stay in one place for too long, of course, otherwise would not be very fun.

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    Oakreef says:

    It was weird to play this after Frontlines on the PS2 and see that they’d done the Normandy landing again differently in a totally different game but part of the same brand.

  8. dsch says:

    You can’t be serious in the last couple of paragraphs. Stali, encourages camping? Not with MOHAA’s mechanics. My memories of that map are of how it facilitates mobility, going into and out of windows, jumping from one balcony to the other and through the blown up floors, going round the staircases up to get down again somewhere else. Before the “realism” mods took over, I’d do this with a bolt-action or sniper rifle, which was basically a railgun with a scope. You can lean around corners and take a pot shot (no damage falloff for shot location) — campers wouldn’t have lasted a minute. After realism mods destroyed the balance (automatic weapons because insanely powerful, because realism), there were plenty of sniper/rifle only servers to play on, and it was the fastest, purest, and most joyous multiplayer shooter experience you can have. I loved that game.

  9. FreeTom says:

    I *think* I have, yes. It’s one of many sort-of-but-not-really-realistic FPSes that I enjoyed well enough at the time, completed on medium difficulty and then never thought about again.

    Which is good, of course. Definitely preferable to the teetering heap of games that I’ve got halfway through, become distracted by something shinier and then lied to myself that I’ll come back to finish them one day.

  10. Ross Angus says:

    The Siegfried Forest was my favorite level of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. Such an atmospheric level.

  11. Jenuall says:

    Yes – played it but not finished as far as I recall. It was fun, but I was a bit obsessed with Return to Castle Wolfenstein at the time. Enjoyed both the single and multiplayer in RTCW much more, it just seemed more fun!

  12. Aerothorn says:

    At the time, I loudly criticized Allied Assault for copying the beach landing from Saving Private Ryan. Numerous people told me “but that’s what it was like” and it’s like, no, there were many thousands of soldiers on many different beaches who took different routes and had different experiences. And rather than trying to capture any one of those they just copied SPR line-for-line.

  13. Arren says:

    I was one of the QA testers of MOH:AA’s multiplayer, as it happens. It had its moments — though I never played it again afterward — but the only thing anyone ever seems to remember is the Omaha Beach set-piece. Nice to see that’s not the case here.

  14. JakeOfRavenclaw says:

    This and Half-Life were the first shooters I really fell in love with. It definitely came along at an interesting time–you can really see the beginnings of CoD emerging from the chrysalis of Half-Life, if that makes sense.

    Also, the soundtrack was excellent. I’m pretty sure Michael Giacchino was still on board at that point, and he did some really great work for the series.

  15. Xiyng says:

    Unfortunately yes. ‘Unfortunately’ because I missed it back then and only played it last year. Without nostalgy, it really hasn’t aged well. I guess my main gripe was with the lack of teammates though, which made it feel a lot like any other shooter. There were other flaws too but that’s the biggest one.

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    Kreeth says:

    FUCKING psychic snipers who can see you crouched behind a wall from 2 miles away. Was it the rh level? It was the absolute epitomy of f5-die-f8-frantically look for esp sniper-die-f8-try to get a shot away-die-f8-kill the fucker-f5-move two feet-die-f8-continue-forever on the first playthrough.

    Still for some reason I played it again and again. I must have had so much time on my hands

  17. thetruegentleman says:

    Fun fact: only two people among the first company to land at Omaha beach actually fired their weapons on D-Day…at Pointe-Du-Hoc, not Omaha.

  18. Krayy says:

    Great game and had some brilliant moments in it, but the ending was just such a let down. Basically a QTE starts with a “run through the fire”, jump on a train and the credits rolled. WTF was that after such a build up?

  19. TWChristine says:

    As I remember, I really enjoyed Medal of Honour, as well as Call of Duty 1&2. I think they were actually the last FPS type games I played before moving on to other genres (aside from dabbling in some Planetside 2). I thought it was kind of silly for them to essentially copy the beginning of Saving Private Ryan, but at the same time, the movie did such a good job of depicting a terrible event, I can understand wanting to ride on that. I also seem to remember the game (although I think I remember CoD doing a better job of this..) trying to at least come off as telling a serious story and not be seen as “Shooting People is FUN!” like the modern games have done. Then again, it’s been about a decade since I played these games, so I might be way off.

  20. benkc says:

    Was this the one that had a level where, rather than shooting people, you ran around a naval yard shoving your fake documents in everybody’s face?

    Not that you were supposed to do that. You were supposed to pull them out, like, once, or maybe twice. But I found it highly entertaining to pointedly walk up to every single person and shove my fake documents in their face.

    • Jerkzilla says:

      Yeah it was, but since I was 12 at the time, I must have screwed it up and just shot everyone with the one shot kill suppressed pistol I was given.

  21. Atrak says:

    I remember this level fondly, as it just so happened that it was the map released on the multiplayer-only demo. I spent oh so many hours playing that particular map with friends and just online with strangers. I have to agree with ‘dsch’ though, when they say that the map actually promoted movement. While yes, you could snipe, you would usually get killed very quickly from behind by people who were actually moving around the map. The map will always be one of my favorite multiplayer FPS experiences, the fact that it was almost entirely situated around and overlooking a courtyard was brilliant.

    I think the only online FPS experience that came close to being as enjoyable was Tribes and especially Tribes 2. There was nothing like getting into a Thundersword Bomber with 2 other people and being able to perfectly syncronise as a 3 man crew and systematically begin wrecking the other team.

  22. tenyuhuang says:

    When MOHAA was first introduced into Chinese market I had to play the game “by installment” since I didn’t own the capable gear required to run this beast. To defragment those feelings and kill some time, a few days ago I decided to fire this masterpiece up and get me a whole experience.

    (Not so much) to my surprise, I feel like games today aren’t a hella way more interesting than something we had a few years ago.

    Don’t get me wrong – while CoD, Halo or anything seems like Tracer’s arse can be referred as a really good cancer once in a while, games today are in fact, not bad, sometimes even darn impressive! *Partly* due to the fact AAA these days require a fuckton of technology, people and work to make it to gold master.

    – You always have my respect, arguably the most awesome industry on the planet <3.

    That being said, we have a lot of nonnegligible differences over the years; it's just an awkward feeling inside that these excellent evolutions, deviations and variations in game design didn't add up in the right spot, let alone bringing significant fun improvement in games themselves.

    I REALLY don't know if this is just me have a prejudicial extent of nostalgia, and I'm really curious if a lot of people feel the same :D

    I understand that we should not step back and forth in memories and it's always time to advance; but while technologies like MegaTexture streams a huge texture into our eyes to make it sure everythins's not repetitive, I'd really love to have an equal quantity of non-repetitive FUN streamed into my soul.

    I know it's too much to ask. In these hard times (for the industry), I'd rather let my favorite developer live with a ton of mediocre products for a few more years than die from great commercial failures…

    – but hey, I can wait.