WWII: Desert Rats
WWII: Desert Rats, a bargain-priced military third-person shooter, is part of the Elite Forces series. The 3D shooting and driving simulation takes place in Northern Africa and is loosely based on historical events surrounding Nazi Germany's intention to increase their power base in Europe. Since the Allies' intent was to keep this from occurring, your goal is to oppose the Germans and prevent their occupation. At startup, Desert Rats gives a quick historical video account of World War II up to the game's starting point.
The game differs a bit from similar action-oriented war games, as you not only control the gunner, but also the driver of the jeep in which he's riding, which adds an additional level of challenge. While the mouse controls the gunner's movements, shooting, camera views, and gun sighting, the vehicle is maneuvered with the keyboard. The simultaneous control can be a bit tricky at first, but is possible through practice.
Another interesting addition is the use of "bullet time," similar to that used in Max Payne. With the click of a mouse button, you can slow the game down to more easily avoid bullets and grenades and shoot your enemies. It's not as important as it sounds, though, since the average player can make it through the entire game on at least medium difficulty without needing to employ the technique. Regardless, it's still a fun option and can only help your cause as you set out to stop the German takeover.
While gameplay isn't as deep as some similar games, WWII: Desert Rats offers eight weapons, a dozen missions, five gunners (each specializing in different styles of weaponry), and three difficulty levels (easy, medium and hard) to keep you interested. Some missions may require you to employ the bazooka specialist, while other will benefit from a machine gun expert, but combined, the various elements add some depth to each mission and give you the opportunity to try out different strategies.
WWII: Desert Rats is a worthwhile budget title with the added twist of dual control of both the main gunner as well as his jeep and driver. The game fills a niche in the popular military third-person shooter genre, and for the price is a decent entry. For gamers looking at a quick budget fix for their military shoot 'em up needs, Desert Rats isn't a bad choice. ~ Scott Racer, All Game Guide
The graphics aren't particularly impressive, especially compared to similar games available. The scenery is a bland tan and brown palette of repeated sand dunes until you get to the bland tan and brown enemy base. While depicting real-life desert terrain, the blandness doesn't make the game any more fun. Character and vehicle models are lackluster as well. ~ Scott Racer, All Game Guide
All the sounds you expect from a military shooter are here: gunfire, explosions, and enemy soldiers yelling out orders. There's nothing extraordinarily bad, with the possible exception of the voice acting during the mission briefings. ~ Scott Racer, All Game Guide
As a budget title not meant to be competitive with powerhouses like Medal of Honor and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, WWII: Desert Rats is decent enough. It's somewhat short and not particularly challenging, but if you just want to sit down and blow stuff up for a brief time, it's not a bad choice. ~ Scott Racer, All Game Guide
Beating the game once will probably be enough for most gamers, though you can ramp up the difficulty to the toughest level and use different gunners for any given mission. The basic story doesn't change, though, and once all options are explored the replay value diminishes greatly. ~ Scott Racer, All Game Guide
Documentation consists of a four-page reference card and nothing else, though everything you need to know about playing is listed. ~ Scott Racer, All Game Guide