Deadly Dozen - Pacific Theater Review


Deadly Dozen: Pacific Theater is the sequel to the budget title shooter Deadly Dozen.  As the title suggests, it moves the World War II action from Western Europe to the islands of the South Pacific - and even the very Northern Pacific in what is probably the first treatment of the fighting in the Aleutians in a computer game.  While it suffers from its share of problems, the gameplay is surprisingly good for a budget title and you get more bang for your buck than with many action games that sell for more than twice the price.

Screenshots
The steamy jungles of the South Pacific.

The game's title refers to the twelve men available for each of the game's missions.  They are a ragtag group of misfits that have been honed into a crack fighting force (and who are not to be confused with the Dirty Dozen).  Before each mission you'll be able to select a team of four of these men and select the weapons they will take into battle.  Each man is rated in a number of categories such as toughness and proficiency with different weapon classes.  Some of the men are specialists in demolitions, sniper weapons, etc., but in the end it really doesn't matter too much who you select since you can equip each man with any weapon or item and the skill ratings do not have a noticeable effect on the action.  As such, you can just accept the game's default choices and jump right into the mission.

Once you've selected your team the mission begins.  Each mission comes with a set of primary objectives and usually an optional objective as well.  The mission goals are pulled from a standard set of objectives, and it seems that you're always sent in to rescue somebody, assassinate somebody else, or blow something up.  Oh well, somebody's got to do it, right?  You'll spend a lot of time in jungle environments, but the maps are surprisingly large and filled with details.  You see and hear swarms of insects, jungle streams, and a seemingly endless sea of foliage.  The game also includes environmental effects, and missions will take place at different times of day and in different weather conditions.  There's a night mission that takes place during a thunderstorm that is particularly impressive.  The pounding rain is both seen and heard, and lightning flashes periodically flood the landscape with bursts of light.

The character models don't hold up as well as the environmental graphics.  Movement is a bit jerky and there seems to be only one or two death animations.  The faces are also on the flat side and appear washed out.  For a game that tries to build on the personality of your team, the models don't have much character.  In fact, other than for different voice acknowledgements when they're selected the soldiers are interchangeable.