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    Soldier of Fortune Preview

    by Brett "MystikaL" Guarnieri
    Raven Software


    Release Date:

    Preview Navigation

    Click Image to enlargeAround a week before the demo was released, I started seeing a lot of Soldier of Fortune related content, though never paid much attention because of the genre it was in. I don't usually pay attention to many shooters anymore, mainly because I have grown not like them (they seem all alike). I do, however, like Unreal Tournament, which is unique in many ways, which I won't go into. It took a while of noticing more and more content to get me to decide to download it. The demo was fairly large, and would require around 5 hours to download. I had to decide to download the demo on a Saturday night, so it was easily finished by the time I woke up. I started playing it immediately, and was hopelessly hooked. I basically played all day, wondering why I hadn't downloaded it earlier.

    Soldier of Fortune is an extremely fast paced FPS based on the popular magazine. You are a mercenary for hire, a job that always keeps you on your feet. The objectives, will, of course, are varied and highly dangerous. You take on the role of consultant John Mullins, who is an actual real life person. He isn't an ordinary person taking off the streets begging at the companies doorstep to get a job like Hellchick from Planetquake (check the about Hellchick on PQ for more), but an actual Soldier of Fortune. He is an ex-paratrooper and Special Forces Green Beret.

    Soldier of Fortune has already made a huge impact on the gaming community. Hundreds of demo servers are running daily for your multiplayer needs, along with previews/info, interviews, screenshots, and other SoF content popping up everywhere. Soldier of Fortune is an extremely good game, and will no doubt be successful when it ships. Just to describe a few unique features of it, the special hit areas on the enemies are part specific. You can knock just about anything off, including glasses, helmets, and even knock guns out of their hands. Wherever you shoot you’re bound to see an impact. If you shoot them in the leg you will see the blood marks in the exact or almost exact position the bullet hit. The same goes to all the other parts on the body.

    Demo Gameplay

    Click image to enlargeThis game features the realistic feel of games similar to Rainbow Six, though, with bigger guns, with the violence of Kingpin. The graphics use a heavily modified Quake 2 engine for realistic graphics, along with Ghoul, a great custom modeling system devised by Raven Software.

    The games opening screen features a very well written menu screen, along with many customizations option. I, however, did notice that the engine was based on id’s Quake 2 mainly because of the way the multiplayer scores were displayed. (I always remember that, of course, that isn't the only thing I remember, but the first thing that came to mind because I tended to lag and was always checking my score.)

    The aspect of shooting while reloading is odd, but probably realistic (I've never used a gun before so I am not the guy to say if the shooting while reloading is realistic or not). The levels get boring after a while, so I turned to multiplayer for my main fun. The main character is based on a real character, but kind of clashes. He looks like a really old guy. I would of predicted a mob type guy in a black trench coat and having lots of women. Of course, with only a couple of levels, you can't really get a good feel of what's to come. I’m relentlessly hoping by the screenshots, which the game will turn out to be more realistic and the main character turns out to not actually clash like it seems to in the demo.

    Click image to enlargeThe sound is incredibly realistic, and I can say that it's overall better than games like Half-Life, Quake 3, and Unreal Tournament, which all were noted for their sound. The game supports SB Live 2.0, so it's top notch. When shooting guys in the arm, they whimper, moan, etc., something that's really cool. When achieving a frag in multiplayer, you immediately hear a little sound notifying you've killed someone, something that helps a great deal. The game's music changes as you wander into different situations, a nice feature.

    The game is rather funny at times, especially when I was walking down the stairs into the bathroom to find one of the enemies taking a whiz on the bathroom floor. The animation of all the guys is very realistic, and can be compared to the animation in Half-Life, which features a skeletal animation system. The game also uses a high-level motion capture studio to make the characters movements as real as they can get.

    The gore is extremely intense, letting you shoot off body parts, including arms, legs, etc. The blood goes everywhere when you shoot enemies, and you can shoot off more and more parts of their body, even when they are already dead. The scripted sequences will definitely be something to look forward to. One of the funnier ones was when a guy was taking a whiz on the bathroom floor. If you really take a hard look at the game, it’s a realistic version of Kingpin.


    Click image to enlargeAs you journey through Soldier of Fortune's levels, you will be playing the role of John Mullins, a real life ex-paratrooper and Special Forces Green Beret.

    Born in Southwest Oklahoma in 1942, joined the U.S. Army out of high school, quickly becoming first a paratrooper, then a medic in the rapidly-expanding Special Forces (Green Berets). Served his first six-month tour on an "A" Team in the Republic of Vietnam in 1963. Commissioned an Infantry Second Lieutenant in 1964, attending Ranger School in 1965, Lieutenant Mullins then once again served on an "A" Team in Vietnam during the 1966-67 period, as a Studies and Observations Group (SOG) officer in 1968-69, and as a Provincial Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) Advisor in 1969-70.

    By then a Captain, John Mullins returned to the U.S. for advanced schooling in tactics and languages, returning overseas for assignment in Europe as a Special Operations Officer. Throughout the 1970s he ran training and operational missions in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Central and South America.

    Finally retiring from the military in 1981 after twenty-one years service, nineteen of it in the Special Forces… Mr. Mullins offered his services to government and civilian customers, returning to the Middle East for three years, then performing missions in Central and South America, Europe, Africa, Afghanistan, and various countries in the Far East. These missions ran the gamut: training, VIP Protection, asset recovery, hostage negotiation and rescue, advising, and occasionally leading foreign police and military personnel in high-risk operations.

    Click image to enlargeIn 1990, Mr. Mullins founded Longbow, Incorporated, a company that specializes in the manufacture of Non-Toxic Frangible ammunition, marketing this product (built upon his patent) to law enforcement and military customers throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Mr. Mullins also founded W.C.B. & Associates, a company specializing in the construction of tactical firing ranges, and is the founder and president of the Tallgrass Center for Advanced Tactical Training (TCATT), which presents live-fire training courses for the police and military.

    Mr. Mullins is an author with one published novel (Days of Fire, Berkeley Press, 1991, soon to be reissued by Soldier of Fortune Press), two more novels to be published in 1998-99, and magazine and trade journal articles too numerous to mention. His teleplay for soldier of fortune, Inc., the syndicated series, was aired during the 1997-98 season. Another teleplay has been purchased for the second year of the series. In addition, his second novel, "Iceman and the Tracker,” has also been optioned for a major motion picture.

    Click image to enlargeMr. Mullins has a BA in History from the University of Maryland and an MBA from Midwestern State University. He speaks four languages, is a frequent panelist and guest speaker for conferences and seminars conducted by government and corporate entities, in particular those dealing with First Responder Training for Incidents Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction. Mr. Mullins also serves as a consultant to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in matters of Law Enforcement Training for a response to WMD.

    Combat awards include the Silver Star, Bronze Star with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and several Purple Hearts. Military schools are too numerous to mention, but run the gamut from Military Free Fall to Underwater Demolitions to Counter terrorism. Other specialties include VIP Protection, High-Risk Installation Security, Aviation Security, and Intelligence.

    Other characters in the game include the following:

    • Hawk Persons (played by Michael Clarke Duncan)

    • Sam Gladstone (played by Tom Wyner)

    • Sergei Dekker (played by Earl Boen)

    • Saber (played by Brian Thompson)



    Game Features:

    • 31 Levels Spanning 10 Missions All Over The Globe

    • Story Driven Plotline With Ultra-Realistic Weapons, Enemies And Environments

    • High Action, Fast Gameplay With Cinematic "Action Movie" Feel

    • Strong Multiplayer Game Featuring Deathmatch, Assassin, Arsenal, Team Deathmatch And Capture The Flag

    • Password Protected Parental Lock Feature To Scale/Eliminate Violence

    • Reviewed, Approved And Endorsed By John Mullins, Professional "Consultant"

    • House of Moves Professional Motion Capture With Over 200 Animations Per Enemy

    • Professional Voice Acting

    • 12 In-View Weapons and 7 Combat Items Based On Weapons In Real-World Arsenals

    Technology Features:

    • Heavily Modified Quake II Engine Technology

    • 3D Hardware Accelerated Only (No Software Renderer)

    • Detail Texturing, Damage Texturing, Texture Replacement

    • 32 Bit Color

    • A3D 2.0 and SBLIVE 2.0 Support

    • Dynamic Music System + Playback Of Compressed Audio

    • Revolutionary New AI System For Smarter Enemies

    • Designer Scripting Language For Superior World Interaction

    • Terrain Engine For Scrolling Outdoor Maps

    • Fog Regions

    • Client Prediction Enhancements

    • Web Style Game Interface

    Raven's which feature:

    • 26 "Gore Zones" On Each Enemy And Player Model

    • Bolt-On Models And Attachments

    • Multiple Skin Support

    • Accurate/Improved Lighting

    • Animations Greater Than 10hz

    • New Networking Model

    • Per-Poly Physics/Collision Detection

    • Lights Inside Ghoul Models

    Bolt-on objects - The enemies in this game are completely customizable, most items on them are bolt-ons and can be removed (shot off) i.e. Hats, Glasses, Limbs, you can even shoot the guns out of their hands.

    Talking Enemies - In itself, this is pretty standard. But since SoF takes place all over the world...The enemies speak in their native tongue, not all enemies speak English. That's cool.

    Guts & Gore - Realistic damage modeling... one bullet… one hole. Blood, wiggling guts on the floor, gray matter on the walls, severed limbs. 26 Gore zones with damage based on the power of the weapon. For example a headshot can: A. Remove the head. B. Open the top of the head and spray brains all over the place. C. Split the skull in two. D. Cave in the face.

    Destroyable Objects - Just about the only thing in the game you can't destroy is the light sources. The enemy can hide behind tables, boxes, crates, etc., but it's just a matter of turning them into toothpicks.

    Professional Voice Acting - All of the voices in the game were done by professional actors... some you have even heard of.

    Hand Switching - Although you can't carry two pistols, you can switch gun hands to shoot around corners.

    Stealth Options - If you don't want the entire enemy base breathing down your neck, you can use stealth options including throwing your knife.

    In-Game Features - Some pretty cool in-game features like Footprints in the sand, snow, and bloody footprints, etc., Shadows, Bullet casings, bullet holes.

    Bullet Dance - As long as you keep pumping' 'em into that corpse, it'll keep jumping.

    Deathmatch Options - Some pretty cool deathwatch options like: Assassin, where you are assigned a specific player to tag and Arsenal, where you only get points for killing players with every weapon you got. You can even play as an enemy.

    Difficulty Levels - You have 5 difficulty levels to choose from that affect number of guys coming in at you, amount of items you can bring in to the level, and the number of saves that you get per level (i.e. easy, you have unlimited saves).

    Customized Options - If you decide that you don't like any of the built in options.... Just disable it; just about all of the game's features are customizable.


    The weapons are extremely realistic in Raven Software's Soldier of Fortune. You start off with a knife and 9mm, though you quickly pick up a shotgun from one of your foes. As you go on, you also find C4 (with timers), and flash grenades. What makes the weapons different from other games is that each one is deadly in a different situation. Using one very powerful situation can lead to a not so good situation, depending where you are. For example, at certain times it might be better to use the Knife than to waste your C4, etc.


    • Knife

    • Small Pistol (.9mm)

    • Large Pistol (.50 Cal)

    • Shotgun

    • Silenced Machine Pistol

    • Light Machine Gun

    • Heavy Machine Gun

    • Sniper Riffle

    • Grenade Launcher

    • Rocket Launcher

    • Microwave Pulse Gun

    Combat Items

    • Flash Grenades

    • C4 Plastic Explosives with Timer

    • Neural Pulse Grenades

    • Night Vision Goggles


    Team Leaders


    • Rick Johnson - Lead Programmer, Soldier of Fortune

    • John Scott (Slaine) - Programmer, Soldier Of Fortune

    • Dan Kramer (El Krem) - Programmer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Nathan Albury - Programmer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Keith Fuller - Programmer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Steve Sengele - Programmer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Pat Lipo - Programmer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Marcus Whitlock - Programmer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Jake Simpson - Programmer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Robert Love - Programmer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Beppo - Programmer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Gil Gribb - Technology Programmer, Soldier of Fortune


    • Joe Koberstein - Lead Artist, Soldier of Fortune

    • Jarrod Showers - Animator, Soldier of Fortune

    • Eric Turman - Animator, Soldier of Fortune

    • Bobby Duncanson - Artist, Soldier of Fortune

    • Joe Sibilski - Artist, Soldier of Fortune

    • Kevin Long - Artist, Soldier of Fortune

    • Gina Garren - Artist, Soldier of Fortune


    • Scott McNutt - Level Designer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Greg Barr - Level Designer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Jim Hughes - Level Designer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Matt Pinkston - Level Designer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Mike Renner - Level Designer, Soldier of Fortune

    • Jon Zuk - Level Designer, Soldier of Fortune


    If you are already hooked to the demo and really want to get into it, along with obtaining more screenshots, game information, news, etc, head on over to one of these fan sites.

    All original content by is copyrighted 1999-2000 GameSurge. You may not use any unless given direct permission from the author, or a small piece of articles, news, reviews, etc for snippets. All screenshots in this preview are copyrighted 2000 Raven Software and may not be used unless you ask them. Some of the information was from Clan Nexus's SoF Page., but used with permission from the authors. Any information from Raven Software was also used with permission and shouldn't be used without

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