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Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (DS) artwork

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (DS) review

"Ooooh, terrorists. . . scary bastards. "

Ooooh, terrorists. . . scary bastards.

But you’re an experienced soldier attuned to the art of modern warfare; a couple of socially inept thugs shouldn’t pose much of a threat, right? You’re gripping a high-powered machine gun that sings sweet bullets of death, not to mention a couple of grenades handy should you need to enforce ‘crowd control’. You’ve even got some teammates backing you up who are at least as smart as the terrorists, but that isn’t saying much. Ooooh, terrorists. . . gonna get you bastards!

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for the Nintendo DS is a stripped down and super shaken and stirred rendition of its big brother counterparts. In other words, it bears a passing resemblance to the X360, PS3 and PC versions of the game; visually speaking, though, it is as ugly as the console versions are beautiful, but since we’re talking about a DS First-person shooter here, I’ll spare you the graphical debate and skip right to the chase. Ooooh, terrorists. . . are you ready, you bastards?

Bad A.I. can utterly destroy a game and CoD4 is pushing the boundaries of “bad” so far that if it wasn’t for its incredible legacy, I doubt I would have finished it. But I did. How did I feel? Well to be honest, I was glad that it was over and done with, even it only took little over three hours. Ooooh, terrorists. . . disappointing bastards.

When terrorists go about terrorising, you’d expect them to put up a decent fight to protect their corrupt values and all. Not so here. They all have set paths to follow and at the end of that path, they stop, perhaps duck a few times, and shoot only when you appear within their line of fire. Not only is it pretty stupid seeing an enemy soldier walk right past you because he hasn’t reached the end of his pre-determined path, but you can shoot him in the butt to urge him on if you wish to do so. At least once he’s there, he’ll put up a fight which may kill you if you’re not careful (they seem to be shotgun pros even at a distance), but if you just carry on walking past to the next section he’ll just forget you were ever here. Ooooh, terrorists. . . exploitable bastards.

Good thing your teammates are somewhat more competent (not that you need them). They will provide covering fire and even shoot many hard-to-reach terrorists given time. They also seem to be near impervious at times, but I’m not complaining, that is, until they mysteriously lose this invincibility at key moments when biting the dust with a few stray bullets will cause you a game over. At least they don’t inadvertently kill themselves; the terrorists sometimes lob grenades at the walls in front of them. Even better: you toss an active frag over to them, they shout “GRENADE!”, they remain completely motionless and moments later . . . Ooooh, terrorists. . . idiotic bastards.

But if killing the bad guys is fun, it shouldn’t matter if they happen to be dumb nuts, right? You’ve got nearly infinite ammo (well usually numbering in the three to four-hundreds at all times), but not nearly as enough weapons. You start with an acceptable machine gun, you can steal some inferior models from the terrorists and if you’re lucky enough to survive some particularly tricky assailants, you can nab their shotgun or sniper rifle too. The machine gun suffices for the most part, though, and you even get an awesome convulsing animation as you riddle them with bullets! The terrorists are pretty tough cookies, but at least they still succumb to the good old headshot. Ooooh, terrorists. . . noobish bastards.

If only headshots were so easy (they kinda are, though). Heck, if only controlling your damn character was easy, or at least not schizophrenic! A similar control scheme to the model DS FPS, Metroid Prime Hunters, is used here: move with the directional pad (or face buttons for lefties) and use the touch-screen to aim as well as to select weapons (only a main firearm, a pistol and some grenades). Shooting is simply a matter of hitting either shoulder button. If you got cramps before, you’ll get them here too. But overall, it should work well if it follows MPH’s example, right? Well, CoD4 doesn’t. Instead they have stupidly mapped the zoom function for your machine gun or whatnot to a double-tap command. Works well in theory, but the sensitivity is wildly unpredictable and as such, you’ll have a masochistic time killing people from afar only to have your pin-point target zoom out of focus, or as you’re walking casually down the bullet-riddled streets you’ll zoom into a blurry, pixelated brick of many brown shades. Or maybe even a blurry terrorist who’s just lobbed a grenade at you. Ooooh, terrorists. . . blurry bastards.

There has never been a perfect Call of Duty title before, though, and so I can drop a few issues (however major they are in here) if the rock-solid mission-based gameplay delivers. In this game most of the time you’re moving from point A to point B. Sometimes this is disguised as saving a fallen Private before taking his sniper rifle to shoot up the snipers that are obstructing passage. Other times, you literally have to find document A before finding document B and so forth. And the always-present map (on the bottom screen) tells you where you must go next, not that you really need it seeing as the levels are so linear as is. The map serves as a handy radar too; makes finding all those terrorists that much easier. Ooooh, terrorists. . . you think you can hide, you bastards?

Sometimes a terrorist may still surprise if you if you run by too fast. Assuming you don’t just run right past them (which would have been a great tactic for time-trials. . . if the game actually tracked your statistics for each mission), you may wind up in a bitter struggle over your weapon. Basically a mini-game ensues where you have to swipe left and right and all over the screen until you regain dominance of your gun and smack them in the forehead with it. It lasts for about five seconds which seems pretty long for a struggle; even more so seeing as you both jiggle about like convulsing conjoined twins. Ooooh, terrorists. . . jiggly. . . bastards.

As for more substantial mini-games, there’s bomb defusing and other electronic malarkey which all boil down to two distinct tasks: bomb defusing requires you to trace the path of highlighted wires and activating charges and whatnot depends on your ability to rotate tiles to orientate assorted tube shapes in such a way that an emitting light source can shine through to all four outlining spheres. Both of them are a piece of cake, but they aren’t as fun as the weapon struggles. Ooooh, terrorists. . . just bastards.

Perhaps the most important thing to take note of here is that the DS version of CoD4 is a good effort, but the limitations of the system has made it impossible for all the essential elements of a CoD game to make the transition intact. Poor weapon selection, dull mini-games, terribly volatile controls, even worse A.I. – must I go on? I haven’t mentioned the on-rails sections, so I guess I could talk more about that if you’d like. . . However, there are multiplayer Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes in here too, if you’re into that sort of thing, but MPH still remains the best you can get on the DS for these kind of shoot ‘em up thrills. There’s a severe lack of customisation, stats tracking and you can’t even play via Wi-Fi connection; this is a wireless-only affair. What does that say to you? Lazy?

No doubt there will be a few who can look past its glaring faults and see CoD4 for what it’s worth: a playable FPS tailor-made for a portable device lacking in similar titles. However, judging it purely on its own merits doesn’t change a thing for me. I outlasted the war and I came out unscarred. Maybe it’s because I simply ran past everyone towards the end, but it’s more likely that the terrorists are just a bunch of stupid bastards, easily tricked into sucking bullets down like sweet balls of sugar. Whatever the case, they took hold of something special, but released nothing but squandered potential.

Ooooh, terrorists. . . PWNED bastards!!!

VERDICT – 3.5/10 Oh my God! You killed Arkrex! You bastard!

arkrex's avatar
Community review by arkrex (November 12, 2007)

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