Call of Duty «

The Call of Duty franchise is all about intense team-based gameplay with inventive takes on established mission types and a fulfilling multiplayer mode. I wondered how well these traits would translate with allowances into a handheld version. As it turns out, this appears to be a tall order indeed.

CoD’s signature team-based gameplay sort of stays intact, because you are certainly dead if you try any Rambo-style, one-man-army shenanigans. The problem is, your teammates seem heavily scripted with very little autonomous behavior. While you can quick-save at any point (thank goodness), the quick load is anything but. There were times I spent more time loading than playing during intense parts of the game.


The graphics are average, but at times you’ll think you’re playing a whack-a-mole sim with the amount of popup you’ll encounter. The framerate is sub-par, not quite Matrix slow-motion style, but close enough to hinder gameplay. The bland textures don’t help the mix, either. I wasn’t expecting PC quality here, but I had hoped for something better than what Call of Duty offered.

Brutal enemy AI even on the Greenhorn setting turns you into a huge bullet magnet. It doesn’t help that your opponents evidently used a time machine to warp into the future to snag some night-vision goggles; their accuracy isn’t hindered by lighting conditions. Otherwise the enemy AI felt pretty run-of-the-mill — you won’t find anything ground breaking here.

This title does sport up to four players in either Deathmatch or Team Deathmatch modes via Bluetooth. This is a nice gesture, but the multiplayer maps are really too large for so few players and the limited game types won’t keep you frag-happy for long. N-Gage Arena support is strictly for unlockable weapons and items used in multiplayer.

In typical CoD fashion, the story unfolds with a briefing displayed before each mission that gives you something to do while the level loads. During each mission, your Captain will shout warm and fuzzy words of encouragement — well, not exactly, but the use of real voice is a nice touch. A compass arrow is prominently displayed onscreen at all times to help lead you to your next objective. This is important, because it could get frustrating quickly if you had to wander around without it, as the levels tend to be rather large.

The framerate issues and ho-hum AI are just too much of a hurdle for this title to be very enjoyable. I think even diehard CoD fans will be disappointed. The multiplayer mode doesn’t add enough to make up the difference either. With titles like Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm that prove an FPS can be done well on a handheld, I think Call of Duty falls short. You might want to let the answering machine take this call.


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