Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm «

After seeing the first-person shooters and other 3D titles offered on the N-Gage so far, I had been skeptical as to the platform’s ability to properly push polygons. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm has made me a believer, and I’m confident it will do the same to you. Not only does it display what are easily some of the best graphics in an N-Gage game yet, but it’s a high quality title overall. In fact, it’s as good as its name is long.

The Winning Team

It’s amazing just how close this version of Jungle Strike comes to its console cousins. It doesn’t skimp on any of the aspects that made them worthwhile games. You’re given a bunch of outdoor missions set in Cuba five years in the future, and a squad of four elite soldiers — or “Ghosts” — with which to accomplish their seemingly-impossible tasks.

This isn’t camo facepaint; I caught West Nile up in here!

You control one Ghost at a time, though you can switch off at will. Each one has a main gun, an alternate firearm, and a handful of grenades. You’ve got enough firepower to tackle just about any adversary, and for good reason. However, as your name would entail, your crew prefers to do things via the subtle approach, with cool, deadly efficiency.

Like console iterations of Jungle Storm, you can order your fellow troops around. However, this aspect is quite scaled back on N-Gage. The only commands you can give are to tell everyone to head to a nearby spot that you point out with an arrow, or to regroup — which is at least helpful when the AI gets tripped up on something. Speaking of AI, the computer will hold its own in a firefight, and will often take out enemies you didn’t even know were there, so there’s definitely some value to keeping them alive.

Multiplayer gives you the chance to team up with real people, as your squad cooperates to get the job done. The strange thing is it only allows for three-man teams, while single-player puts you in a four-man team. There’s also the option to partake in a variety of deathmatches to just blow the hell out of your friends.

Army of One

The control of Jungle Storm may take some getting used to. Think of it like a PC FPS, but the d-pad acts as the mouse. In other words, it makes you turn left or right, and look up or down. The 2, 4, 7, and 8 buttons then cause you to strafe or move forwards or backwards. As I said, it’s quirky at first, but it quickly becomes apparent that this was a wise control choice. Of course, you can remap the buttons as you see fit in the unlikely event that this isn’t to your liking.

You’re not always in the jungle.

You can crouch down for more accurate shooting and to be a smaller target for hostiles — though this comes at the sacrifice of speed. Clicking the “check” button on the QD or clicking the control pad in the older model brings up a zoomed-in view of the action to get a jump on faraway enemies. Of course, when you’re sporting a sniper rifle, it zooms in much further. You can strafe while this view is up, but moving forward will recall it. I found all the controls relevant and purposeful, and rarely did I get lost on the N-Gage keypad — which is saying something.

Good Lookin’ Out

Hot damn, is this a pretty game! As I said before, it’s the best demonstration of 3D on N-Gage. The graphics look every bit as good as something you’d see in PSone games like Medal of Honor or Rainbow Six. The all-important first-person view of your hand and weapon looks sharp, the character models demonstrate some great detail, and the environments are smoothly textured and full of ambient objects.

Gameloft even went so far as adding some particles to the picture. You’ll see rainfall and looming fog. There are even levels which take place in the dark, giving you the opportunity to bust out the night vision goggles. Muzzle flashes and explosions are satisfyingly brilliant as well.

Fighting With Honor

The game’s eight stages may not seem like much, but there are three difficulty levels for each one, and they are relatively large in size. Additionally, Jungle Storm throws some Challenges at you, where you attempt to beat missions with specific parameters. For example, there’s a time limit, or you only have one soldier to work with.

Gameloft has been responsible for the majority of good games on N-Gage thus far, and Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm is another winner. Quite the opposite of Crash Nitro Kart, which was both crummy game and made the N-Gage look bad, Jungle Storm helps the N-Gage shine while making itself look good. And like that, the platform has a quality first-person shooter.


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