Wednesday, June 8, 2011

MEDAL OF HONOR: UNDERGROUND



Medal of Honor: Underground
Developer - DreamWorks Interactive
Publisher - Electronic Arts
Release date - October 23, 2000

Medal of Honor: Underground is a video game that is a partial prequel to the World War II hit Medal of Honor. It was initially released for the PlayStation video game console on October 23, 2000.

Story

Patrick Klepek explained in Gaming Age how "Gamers who played Medal of Honor will remember Manon Batiste, part of the French Resistance, who was an enormous help toward Lt. Patterson's efforts. Set in the era of World War II, the year is 1940 and the German armies have overrun Manon's town. Attempting to survive with her brother and the few people still around in her town, Manon's best companion, her brother, is tragically killed during a routine raid to retrieve weapon supplies. Manon then sets out to meet up with her brother's contacts in order to fight against the Nazis. It will take all her strength and perseverance in order to move up the ranks in the OSS so that she can head back home and help in the liberation of her nation.

According to GamePro, Manon is a "young member of the French Resistance introduced as Jimmy Patterson's 'control' in the original Medal of Honor. Set prior to the start of the original Medal of Honor game, Underground follows Manon's journey from a naive member of one of France's first resistance movements to that of a seasoned veteran recruited by the OSS, going on covert missions in occupied Europe and Africa, including the destruction of a Tobruk supply base, destruction of coastal guns in Crete, stealing important documents from Heinrich Himmler's castle, rescuing prisoners of war from Monte Cassino and the sabotage of a V-1 flying bomb factory. Manon ultimately becomes a key figure in the Allied invasion at Normandy and returns to Paris to assist in its liberation from German occupation.

Gameplay

You play as Manon, a young French girl recruited by the French resistance fighting against the coming German onslaught. The Nazis will use suppressive firing, squad tactics, tanks, half-tracks, and motorcycles to try to stop you. The game features 22 levels spread throughout seven missions, with 12 authentic weapons, including the pistol crossbow and the Panzerfaust. A new disguise mode allows Manon access to the Third Reich's most evil secrets. Artificial intelligence-controlled fellow agents will assist by battling the Gestapo, cracking safes, and driving vehicles. After fighting the Nazis across Europe and North Africa, try battling your friends in Medal of Honor Underground's split-screen multiplayer arenas.

After completing the game, the player can play a non-canon bonus level, named "Panzerknacker Unleashed", in which the player plays as Lt. Jimmy Patterson, who has been sent to a castle after the Allied Forces received a distress signal from there. Many strange enemies are fought at the castle, including dancing dogs which are armed with machine guns and drive half-tracks, knights carrying battle axes, Zombie soldiers, robotic soldiers and several large nutcrackers, called Panzerknacker. The objective of all of the three missions available in this level is to build your own Panzerknacker, who assists you in the final mission.

Development

Main character Manon Batiste is based on Hélène Deschamps Adams, a real life member of the OSS, the forerunner of CIA. Adams herself appears in the game's final mission to brief Manon before each level.

Michael Giacchino explains that for "Manon, I wanted a theme that could convey one emotion at a particular moment, and then a completely different emotion the next without having to rely on two completely different themes. As a result, Manon's two main themes are very similar and yet very different. One version of the theme stays the course in a major tone, conveying a feel of great national purpose against the Nazi menace, and the secondary theme dips into a minor 6th chord which describes Manon's more intimate and emotional feelings as an individual and a woman who is pitted against the fascist war machine. Both of these themes are bookended with what liner notes author Paul Tonks has aptly named 'the resolve theme'. This theme was meant to represent the moments where Manon is called upon to steel her nerves and gather the courage to continue on with the fight....Manon travels to places that are not quite so militaristic as Jimmy Patterson. Her journey was a bit more 'scenic'. Critic Ian Lace said of her theme: "One has to suppose that the main character of this new game, Manon, inspired by the exploits of Hélène Déschamps is French. Michael Giacchino has created a theme for her that in its first few notes irresistibly makes me want to anticipate the old pop song, 'Arrivederci Roma' which I found disconcerting because she is French and so much of the action, particularly at the beginning and end, takes place in Paris.

Producer Scott Langteau offers that "Underground had an entirely different feel than the original MOH, and yet the gameplay was entirely familiar. That's what we tried to do, anyway. In Underground, it was personal. The game's front end was gritty and less militarily organized; it was rustic and roughly hewn. The same can be said for the game. Manon used petrol bombs and also used her femininity to gain access to restricted areas. We used the freedom of telling her backstory- she was in the French Resistance, then joined the OSS-to give the game its own flair and widely varied missions that took us all over Europe: Greece, Italy, etc.

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