|The main menu. Stylish.|
Obviously you’ll want to know what kind of rig you need to run the demo, so let’s have a look at the official minimum requirements for the demo:
- 3D Hardware Accelerator Card required - 100% DirectX® 9.0 compatible 32MB video card and drivers*
- Pentium® III 600 or Athlon™ processor or higher
- English version of Microsoft® Windows® 98/98SE/ME/2000/XP
- 128MB of RAM
- 200MB of uncompressed free hard disk space (plus 500MB for Windows swap file)
- 100% DirectX® 9.0 compatible 16 bit sound card and drivers
- 100% Windows® 98/ME/2000/XP compatible mouse, keyboard and drivers
- DirectX® 9.0
Alexander Munro, the hero in Elite Force II
· ATI® Radeon cards (* Radeon 7200 not supported in Demo)
· nVidia® TNT2 and TNT2 Ultra
· All nVidia® GeForce™ chipsets
|The U.S.S. Enterprise-E is looking good in this in-game cinematic.|
Suffice to say, these are pretty modest requirements and the majority of systems out there should be able to handle the game just fine.
Weighing in at just 118MB, the Elite Force II single player demo contains two partial missions, taken from different parts of the game. Five of the full version’s 14 weapons as well as the Tricorder want to be taken for a spin, and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to use every single one of them.
Starting up the demo, you’re greeted by Elite Force II’s main menu. It features a large rotating 3D model of the USS Voyager, mixed with a stylized version of Star Trek’s familiar LCARS displays. Pretty cool.
|One of several Attrexians waiting to be rescued.|
You’re actually on your own in this first mission, as the rest of the team is searching different parts of the installation.
After being dropped off via shuttlecraft, you’re soon attacked by several small Exomorphs. Fortunately, you’ve brought some Federation firepower along, which should make quick work of the attackers.
Let’s have a closer look at the weapons you start out with:
II Phaser: This is the default weapon in EF2. It doesn’t need
ammunition, but isn’t exactly what you’d call a room
Federation Assault Rifle: This shotgun type weapon is extremely
effective (and not to mention loads of fun) at close range. It can
also fire a wave of energy burst to take care of multiple enemies
- Enhanced Compression Rifle: Based on EF1’s compression rifle, the ECR has a very high rate of fire. It comes with a nose-mounted energy grenade launcher that’s pretty handy.
Right at the beginning you’re faced with a jumping puzzle of sorts, as you have to make your way past several vents spitting hot gas. If that isn’t your thing, explore the environment a little and you may find a way to turn them off, making it easier to get past this obstacle.
|This Tricorder mini-game requires you to align the pieces correctly in order to restore power.|
Elite Force II also features several Tricorder mini-games, some of which are required to solve puzzles. These are activated by using your Tricorder on certain consoles and control panels. The demo features one of these: In order to restore power to a mine cart, you need to rotate little pipes in order to build a physical connection between two power systems of the same color. This is somewhat reminiscent of Pipe Dream and a welcome change from the typical ‘push button’ gameplay found in first person shooters.
|An Attrexian NPC holds on while Munro tries to seal a hull breach.|
The space station itself is very moody, with flickering lights, burning plasma fires and the sound of screeching metal. As mentioned before, you’ll find numerous dead and dying Attrexians, though now and then you’ll manage to come across live ones. These will fight alongside you, and in one case, you have to protect one from the attacking Exomorphs while he tries to unlock an armory.
Sequences such as this work very well, and the NPCs manage to navigate the environment without getting stuck.
The first level ends with Munro helping out two Attrexians and entering a giant elevator – which is somewhat anticlimactic, but you have to remember the demo levels are only an incomplete piece of the release version’s larger missions.