It is rather odd to think that one of the most forward-thinking first-person shooters ever made is also one seen as perhaps the worst in game play. Operation Body Count used a modified version of the game engine used to make Wolfenstein 3D from 1992. By the time OBC was released in 1994, Doom had hit the market. Doom had a much more diverse and expansive game engine and had game play so good and addicting that it hold up to this day. To learn more about this ironic blunder involves digging deeper.
Operation Body Count used a heavily modified version of the Wolf3D engine, and boy did they push its boundaries. Beside ceiling tiles and carpeting, the environment was made to react to all of your beautiful violence. Bullet holes, broken glass, and walls destroyed from explosions are just a few things changed. These dynamic sort of things were never in Doom, but did carry over to a game called Duke Nukem 3D in a much more effective and spectacular way. There were also land mines, booby traps, allies that you could switch between in real time, and awesome weapons. So what could go wrong?
One of the main problems was the aging engine. Sure it was only a few years old, but the hard right-angled walls, low resolution, lack of height changes or stairs, no elevators etc made it seem more primitive than an Etch a Sketch. Then again, it was not any game where you have the opportunity to light people on fire in 1994. Yes, light people on fire with a flamethrower. There is also a so-called grenade launcher, which really seems to be a rocket launcher that literally destroys walls in the game. So you can pass room to room, blowing wide open pathways. This was certainly innovate for its time, and games since then would fake this destructive concept through scripted events and conditions. To have control over your environment like this was crazy.
Unfortunately, the game gets too challenging rather quickly, and you sometimes have to depend on hidden passageways. This includes the last level. But by the time you reach this point, your eyes are bloodshot from staring at pixelated hallways and lightning-fast enemies darting back and forth. Awesome graphics and music, unfortunately, don’t make up for the poor game play and level design that could possibly drive you crazy in a literal sense.
Who doesn’t love a good, frustratingly difficult, video game from the early ’90s? Operation Body Count certainly fits the bill. One ironic aspect of the game is its title; with how much of a struggle it is to play, your body might be the only thing counting down the seconds until you can finally stop giving yourself carpel tunnel. Another ironic aspect of the game is the fact that despite the lack of complexity in its design, it manages to be incredibly difficult to complete. It’s as if the game developers purposely made it frustrating just to see how long players could endure the constant barrage of enemies and dead-ends.But hey, what’s a little mental breakdown when you can set people on fire with a flamethrower, right?
Do you have any fond memories of Operation Body Count? Let me know in the comments.