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2009/11/11

Apocalypse Then: Ten Years of Medal of Honor

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On this day in gaming, in 1999, Medal of Honor for the Playstation was released. Developed by DreamWorks Interactive (now EA Los Angeles) and published by Electronic Arts, it was the original title in a franchise that is hailed as one of the best World War II shooter series, and indeed one of the best First-person shooter series in the genre, often competing with other series like Call of Duty and Brothers in Arms. Indeed, some are under the impression that it is the “first ever World War II First Person Shooter”, or at least the one that springs to mind.

Now admittedly, I haven't played the original, even though I have been around Playstation consoles in the past, but I have seen it, read about it, and heard about it enough. I think I read reviews of
Medal of Honor and Medal of Honor: Underground years ago, and no doubt it intrigued me a lot, and when Allied Assault was due to arrive on the PC, I was more than eager to have a go with it.

Also, the American spelling of "Honour" has also niggled me for years.

IGN
(Imagine Games Network) ranked the game number 21 on their list of the "Top 25 Games of All Time" for the PlayStation, and Guinness World Records awarded the Medal of Honor series with a world record for "Best Selling First Person Shooter Series" in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008.


And on top of this, the game’s story was created by Steven Spielberg, who also directed Saving Private Ryan, one the best war movies of all time, which came out a year earlier. The Medal of Honor series is often considered to be related to this film, as Spielberg is associated with both, and his name crops up in the credits for more than one of the games in the franchise.
Of course another name which has become synonymous with Medal of Honor is Dale Dye, a retired USMC Captain, who served in the Vietnam War, who has been in the movie and video game business for the last twenty something years, and has worked on numerous high-profile war and action films, and not to mention MoH, where he served as the game's military advisor, and has maintained this position on most other MoH titles.

In Medal of Honor, the player takes on the role of Lieutenant James Steven Patterson (or Jimmy Patterson for short), an American soldier and OSS (Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA) operative during World War II , and this has become a theme somewhat, at least initially, with the first few titles, with Manon Batiste being with the French resistance, and Lieutenant Mike Powell in Allied Assault also being an OSS operative. Stealth, intelligence gathering, fighting behind enemy lines, sabotage, infiltration and such played a role in these games, but this style of play was abandoned in later sequels.


Lately, as of the last year or more, there have been rumours and even official talk of a new Medal of Honor title, and the last time I read about this was indeed on the eve of the series’ tenth anniversary. There are reportedly plans, although much of this could be speculation, that this title will take place in a more modern setting, such as its contemporary series, Call of Duty, which received its latest incarnation just this week: Modern Warfare 2.


It’s said that the MoH series will drop its long-lasting World War II theme and follow in Infinity Ward’s footsteps. To this day, we have yet to see any real evidence of this. No screenshots, concept art; not much at all.


Medal of Honor titles:

  • Medal of Honor (Lt. Jimmy Patterson) - (PlayStation) - 1999
  • Medal of Honor: Underground (Manon Batiste) - (PlayStation, Game Boy Advance) - 2000
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (Lt. Mike Powell) - (Linux, Windows, Mac OS) - 2002
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault - Spearhead (Sgt. Jack Barnes) - (Linux, Windows, Mac OS)
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault - Breakthrough (Sgt. John Baker) - (Linux, Windows, Mac OS)
  • Medal of Honor: Frontline (Lt. Jimmy Patterson) - (Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube) - 2002
  • Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (Cpl/Sgt. Joseph Griffin) - (Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube) - 2003
  • Medal of Honor: Infiltrator (Cpl. Jake Murphy) - (Game Boy Advance) - 2003
  • Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault (Pvt/Pfc/Lcpl/Cpl/Sgt. Tommy Conlin) - (Windows) - 2004
  • Medal of Honor: European Assault (Lt. William Holt) - (Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube) - 2005
  • Medal of Honor: Heroes (Lt. Jimmy Patterson, Lt. William Holt, Sgt. John Baker) - (PlayStation Portable) - 2006
  • Medal of Honor: Vanguard (Cpl/Sgt. Frank Keegan) - (PlayStation 2, Wii) - 2007
  • Medal of Honor: Airborne (Pfc/Cpl. Boyd Travers) - (Windows, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Mobile) - 2007
  • Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 (Lt. John Berg) - (PlayStation Portable, Wii) – 2007
  • Latest Medal of Honor title (TBA)

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