Hour of Victory is, ostensibly, a World War II
first person shooter. True to form, it is in a first person viewpoint, and the included weapons, character outfits and locations do give you the sense that it is occurring in the second World War. World War II themed
might be a bit more accurate, however.
According to the manual, the Allies have discovered that the Germans are in the process of developing an atomic weapon, which could skew the balance of the War in Germany's favor. The Allies put together a small team of elite soldiers in an attempt to ferret out information about the secret program and put a stop to it.
The game takes you to a variety of locales where you rescue a German scientist and enlist his help to destroy the nuke at the end of the game.
Your team consists of the three following super-soldiers: Ambrose Taggert, William Ross, and Calvin "Bull" Blackbull. However, despite the presence of three team members and the effort your generals apparently went through to put them together, you can only play a single character, so choose wisely.
| Taggert is the game's covert operative. The manual does state that he can move silently and hide in special areas around the map, although if we're all honest with ourselves, he's not particularly stealthy and enemies are more likely to surprise him than the other way around.|
His weapon load-out belies his nature as well, since two of his three weapons are more than a little bit loud - a Sten gun and grenades (perhaps they're really silenced grenades in disguise). Taggert can make stealth kills, but he must use the small quantity of throwing knives he's given at the beginning of each level - when he runs out of knives he can no longer kill anyone in a manner befitting a covert operative.
Taggert can also cut through wire fences located around each map, although he can always walk around the building and go in the front door instead.
According to the manual - "He speaks directly and means what he says. His voice has a distinctive determined tone that reflects his seriousness and resolution."
| Ross is labeled as a Commando, which makes sense as you can only play as one character in any given level. He can take far more damage than the other two characters and can lift heavy objects in order to clear a path (oddly enough these paths usually include wire fences and ropes to climb quite close by).|
Due to the design of the game and its tendency to pile enemies at you head-on, playing as Ross is much easier than playing as either of the other characters due to his resilience in combat.
According to the manual - "Confident, unexcitable and a bit cynical, Lt. Ross is famous for cracking understated ironies."
| Blackbull is a sniper. Played a first person shooter before? No? Well, he follows the unexpected route of carrying a sniper rifle, having low health and slower movement than your typical soldier character.|
Unique to Hour of Victory is his ability to scale walls, although he can only do this where enemies have carefully tied ropes and dangled them down.
According to the manual - "Sgt. Blackbull is as tough as his leathery skin."
Hour of Victory has your usual assortment of FPS conventions and controls. Eschewing the traditional health system, they're implemented a twist on the regenerating health of Halo - you can regenerate health, but you must remain still. The process takes roughly ten seconds, and if you nudge your stick in any direction while it's happening, regeneration stops and you must wait again for it to resume.
Stars point to the next objective in your current mission on the minimap, and enemy soldiers show up as red dots. The soldiers employ an interesting variant on the average game AI - they're very unpredictable, which adds another level to the gameplay. You never know if the two soldiers down that alley will hide, pop out and shoot you, or if they'll pretend to duck behind cover in the middle of the road or repeatedly run in circles.
The Germans in the game have also engineered weapons that can fire at angles that aren't straight out of the barrel, although the technology is never revealed or they're fingerprint-protected, as every time you pick up a weapon from a fallen soldier it simply fires where you point it, without fail.
There are also levels in Hour of Victory built around tank
combat. The tanks can steer and move forward - just don't do both at the same time, we're talking 1940's machinery here! - and can obliterate almost everything with their cannon. True to form, enemy tanks are also weaker in the rear; make sure to give them a good pounding from behind.