Soldier of Fortune for Linux

Looking at the Soldier of Fortune box, I was initially struck by the number of warning labels visible, each proclaiming such things as “Violent Subject Matter” and “Animated Blood and Gore”.
Multiplayer

I found the multiplayer environment to be great entertainment. Soldier of Fortune's multiplayer games betray its Quake heritage and no cooperative multiplayer modes exist. The favorites are there, like standard Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, along with a couple new types: “Arsenal” where random weapons are assigned to you by the computer and you must score a kill with each of your weapons; “Assassin” where you must kill a specific player and defend yourself against players who are assigned to specifically kill you; and “Realistic”, a multiplayer type where weapons do realistic damage to arms and legs, and medkits repair specific body parts (fixing your legs so you can run again, or your arm so you can aim again, etc.). Like Quake, SOF's multiplayer mode seems to warp space and time, shrinking what originally appears to be a long, boring evening into a short series of endless multiplayer levels and countless virtual homicides.

Installation

Loki, as usual, did a spectacular and totally seamless job porting Soldier of Fortune to Linux. SOF does require a 3-D accelerated video card and uses Mesa/OpenGL to support 3-D hardware acceleration. Loki lists the Voodoo Banshee, Voodoo2, Voodoo3, G200, G400, RIVA TNT and TNT2, and the GeForce 256 as supported chip sets. I had no real difficulty getting the software to install cleanly on a standard VA Linux Systems 6.2.3 load (a Red Hat 6.2-based system) with a Matrox G400, or on my Debian (woody) system with the XFree4 CVS tree and a GeForce GTS. The footprint of the install is a bit hefty (about 700MB for the full install, which is the only option) and comes with both text and graphical install modes. Loki's minimums include glibc 2.1, a 2.2.x series kernel and an OSS-compliant sound card and driver. Obviously, if you want multiplayer games, you'll need a network card and either TCP/IP or IPX support (for LAN games) enabled in your kernel. Joysticks are supported. Minimum box hardware, according to Loki, is 64MB RAM, and a Pentium II processor; I had very nice performance on both a 400MHz PII and a 550MHz PIII, each with 128MB system RAM.

In Conclusion

I'd have to say that I totally dig Soldier of Fortune. It's fun. It's got character. It's definitely not afraid to get in your face. Most of the things I found lacking in it also are the things that make it such a great first-person shooter game. Did I mention how fun it is? If you're looking for some middle ground between Quake and Rainbow Six, this is probably your game.

J. Neil Doane (caine@valinux.com) is a professional services engineer with VA Linux Systems and an Indiana escapee. In between prolonged spasms of rabid geekness, random hardware scavenging and video gaming, he is a pilot, a guitarist and a very poor snowboarder.

______________________