Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (2001 video game)

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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon.jpg
Developer(s) Red Storm Entertainment [lower-alpha 1]
Publisher(s) Ubi Soft [lower-alpha 2]
Producer(s) Darren Chukitus
Designer(s) Brian Upton
Programmer(s) Clark Gibson
Artist(s) Eric Armstrong
Travis Getz
Mike Haynes
John Sonedecker
Writer(s) Tom Clancy
Composer(s) Bill Brown
Series Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows
  • NA: November 13, 2001 [4]
  • EU: November 23, 2001 [5]
Mac OS
  • NA: October 31, 2002 [6]
Xbox
  • NA: November 12, 2002 [7]
  • EU: December 6, 2002 [8]
PlayStation 2
  • NA: December 5, 2002 [9]
  • EU: December 6, 2002 [8]
GameCube
Genre(s) Tactical shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon is a tactical shooter video game developed by Red Storm Entertainment and published by Ubi Soft in 2001 for Microsoft Windows. It is the first game in the Ghost Recon series. It was ported to Mac OS, Xbox and PlayStation 2 in 2002 and to the GameCube in 2003. Ports for N-Gage and Game Boy Advance were planned, but later canceled. [12] Unlike Clancy's other tactical shooter series, Rainbow Six , Ghost Recon is not based on any of his books.

Contents

Together with Rainbow Six , SWAT 3 , and Operation Flashpoint , game industry experts generally credit Ghost Recon with defining and refining the tactical shooter genre. [13] Ghost Recon's success has spawned 2 expansion packs, Desert Siege and Island Thunder, as well as numerous sequels for video game consoles and the PC. [12]

Gameplay

Ghost Recon puts the player in charge of the eponymous Ghosts, a fictional squad of United States Special Operations Forces soldiers from Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. They are organized into three fireteams named using the NATO phonetic alphabet: Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie, with space for three soldiers per team (the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube versions do not have a Charlie team available). However, only six soldiers can be selected per mission. The player enjoys limited tactical control on the battlefield by issuing maneuver commands and rules of engagement for each fireteam through a command map. There are 3 difficulties; Recruit, Veteran, and Elite. Recruit offers unlimited ammo for some weapons, while the level of difficulty corresponds with the level of responsiveness and "training" of the AI.

The soldiers themselves are organized into four different character classes. Every class can carry a primary and secondary weapon, which are organized into "kits". Even though the primary weapon remains the same in all the kits (being defined by the soldier class — see below), there is a variety of equipment to be chosen as the secondary weapon.

For every completed mission in the single-player campaign, each soldier that survives gains one Combat Point to upgrade their attributes. There are four basic categories of skill:

The player also unlocks "specialists" from NATO or allied countries by completing extra mission objectives. [14] The specialists are more experienced than the Ghosts and have more Combat Points, making them an essential part of the team. They are also equipped with weapons not available to standard soldiers. Two specialists are armed with the Objective Individual Combat Weapon, as part of field tests and implementation of the U.S. Army's Land Warrior program. The specialist corps includes three women, who are the only female combatants in the game.

The game is played entirely from the first-person perspective. A heads-up display relays information such as the name of the soldier the player is controlling, the soldier's assigned fireteam, weapon and ammo counter, a threat indicator, the targeting reticule, health status, and a stance indicator (to show whether the character is standing, crouched, or prone).

Players will engage most often with either rebel militia, or russian foot soldiers, who have varying levels of body armor, some being capable of stopping most small-arms fire, and varying levels of accuracy and reactions to the player. Occasionally the player will come face-to-face with armored threats, such as cargo trucks, or civilian trucks with mounted machine guns, and APC's, but the player may also encounter tanks, which requires the M136 recoilless anti-tank rifle in order to destroy. Soldiers are very mobile and adaptive, using cover, going prone, providing suppressive fire, and flanking and sneaking up on the player. Enemy visibility is based on weather conditions as well as the level of light available. Vehicles follow strict movement options. [15]

Bullets will not penetrate most objects, but they will break glass and deflate tires. Explosives or heavy gunfire can be used to destroy wooden doors, and (in the case of explosives) potentially kill anyone within the blast radius on the other side. Depending on a target's armor, it is generally possible to neutralize a threat with one or two well-placed shots.

Soldiers rendered "out of action" during a mission are considered to be dead, and not available for the rest of the campaign. Wounded soldiers who survive a mission will remain wounded unless they are replaced with a healthy soldier for the next mission.

Ghost Recon has both single player and multiplayer modes of play. Up to 36 players are supported in the PC version's multiplayer over an internet (TCP/IP) connection or LAN.

Plot

Ultranationalists take over the regime in Russia, installing their leader Dmitri Arbatov as president. Russia then annexes Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, forming the Russian Democratic Union (RDU), a political and military alliance dedicated to recreating the former Soviet Union.

In April 2008, the U.S. Army's elite "Ghost" soldiers battle South Ossetian separatist rebels who are harassing the Georgian government and their allies. In response to their presence, Russia complains to the United Nations that the U.S. has interfered in their internal affairs. The Russian army then invades Georgia to assist the rebels; the Ghosts support the Georgian military and other forces the US has sent, slowing the Russian advance. The Russian military holds too much of a numerical advantage over the Georgians, however, and the US pivots toward evacuating American and other foreign civilians as the Russians push further into the country.

Eventually, the Ghosts are all that's left of U.S. forces in Georgia and take the last helicopter out of the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi as the Russian military moves in to take the city. The Georgian government also escapes, and sets up a government-in-exile in Geneva, Switzerland while the RDU proclaims its annexation of Georgia, an act publicly condemned by the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany.

The Ghosts are then sent to the Baltic states in response to a Russian invasion launched three days ahead of NATO intelligence estimates. The Ghosts attempt to slow down the attack to buy time for NATO units to arrive in force, with the nearest coming from Germany. The Ghosts fight alongside U.S. Army elements to push the Russians out of the Baltics, with victories in Rēzekne, Latvia, and Venta, Utena, and Vilnius, Lithuania. The defeat takes its toll on the RDU government, with President Arbatov largely blamed for the disaster and put under house arrest.

The Ghosts enter Russia with their first mission being to free U.S. POWs and Russian political prisoners opposed to the RDU. The Russian military executes President Arbatov, which sparks a nationwide rebellion bordering on civil war. The ultranationalists quickly lose public support and many members of the RDU government quit the alliance. The Ghosts later attack several Russian bases such as a naval base at Murmansk and an airbase at Arkhangel'sk, weakening the ultranationalists' combat power. The RDU attracts strong international condemnation and practically dissolve after they detonate a nuclear weapon during a battle north of Moscow between the ultranationalists and a joint force of U.S. and rebelling Russian combat units.

Acting Russian Prime Minister Karpin privately requests additional NATO aid in the fighting, prompting the entire 1st Armored Division to be sent over the Russian border. The Ghosts spearhead a NATO assault on Moscow by cutting through a strong ultranationalist defensive line in the woods outside the capital. On November 10, 2008, U.S. forces finally reach a deserted Moscow, with the last ultranationalist defenders holed up inside the Kremlin. After a final assault by the Ghosts in Red Square, the ultranationalists surrender and both the Americans and the newly liberated Russians celebrate their victory.

Development

The game was in development as early as November 2000. [16] Motion capture was used for character animation. [17] The lead designer was Brian Upton and the soundtrack was composed by Bill Brown. [18]

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Desert Siege is a 2002 expansion pack, released for Microsoft Windows as a separate purchase and can be unlocked as a new campaign in the PlayStation 2 version of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon. It is also bundled with the Mac port. The expansion pack adds 2 new multiplayer game types (Domination and Siege), 5 new multiplayer maps, new weapons for use in multiplayer, and an eight-mission single player campaign, which also unlocks a new specialist soldier (Jodit Haile). In the PlaySation 2 version, players who start Desert Siege by finishing the Ghost Recon campaign first will also retain the soldiers they used in the campaign, including their statistics.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder was released in late 2002 as an expansion pack for Microsoft Windows, and as a standalone game for Xbox. It contains eight new single player missions, 12 new weapons, 5 new dedicated multiplayer maps, 3 new multiplayer modes (Cat and Mouse, Defend, and Behemoth). On the Xbox, Island Thunder features five additional missions and twelve multiplayer maps.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder was never released for the PlayStation 2, but its content was combined with eight new single-player missions set in Colombia and additional multiplayer maps and released under the title Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm in 2004.

In addition to the official expansion packs, the very active Ghost Recon modding scene (over 1,000 mods have been published as of January 2013) has produced a large number of unofficial expansions packs for PC. Free expansions like Frostbite, CENTCOM, Heroes Unleashed, and Year of the Monkey (among others) have gained huge popularity, with download counts in the hundreds of thousands, and attaining community-based awards. [19] [20]

Reception

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon received "mixed or average" for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube versions, while the PC and Xbox versions received "generally positive" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic. [21] [22] [23] [24]

Ghost Recon was a commercial success. By the end of 2001, sales of its computer version had reached 430,000 units. [58] The series' sales surpassed 760,000 copies by the end of March 2002. [59] In the United States, the computer version of Ghost Recon sold 240,000 copies and earned $10.1 million by August 2006. Edge named it the country's 83rd best-selling computer game between January 2000 and August 2006. Combined sales of all Ghost Recon series computer games released between those dates had reached 620,000 in the United States by August 2006. [60] The computer version of Ghost Recon also received a "Silver" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), [61] indicating sales of at least 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom. [62]

Sales of the game's Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions surpassed 2 million copies by the end of June 2003, and helped to drive Ubisoft's Q1 2003/2004 revenues to a record high for the company. [63] By July 2006, the PlayStation 2 version of Ghost Recon had sold 1.1 million copies and earned $39 million in the United States alone. Next Generation ranked it as the 46th highest-selling game launched for the Xbox, PlayStation 2 or GameCube between January 2000 and July 2006 in that country. [64]

Awards

The editors of PC Gamer US presented Ghost Recon with their 2001 "Best Sound" and overall "Game of the Year" awards, and wrote that "few games have made us cringe in shock, roar with aggression, or exult in victory the way Ghost Recon has." [65] Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon was also named Best Game of the Year in 2001 by IGN. [66] Ghost Recon was a runner-up in IGN's "Best Action Game 2001" and "Best Use Of Sound" ("Reader's Choice").[ citation needed ] Wargamer gave it three bronze awards in "Game of the Year", awarded Red Storm with "Game Developer of the Year", and gave "Game Publisher of the Year" to Ubisoft.[ citation needed ] During the 5th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, Ghost Recon received nominations for the "Online Gameplay" and "Sound Design" awards by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS). [67]

Ghost Recon's Xbox version won GameSpot's 2002 "Best Sound on Xbox" award, and was nominated for "Best Online Game on Xbox" and "Best Shooter on Xbox". [68] During the AIAS' 6th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, the Xbox version received a nomination for "Console First-Person Action Game of the Year" [69]

Legacy

Plot coincidence

In August 2008, the Russo-Georgian war began, and a number of commentators noted that this real-world event was somewhat similar to the plot of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, namely how it was prescient in its prediction of Russia's backing of separatist rebel forces in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. [70] [71] [72] [73]

Notes

  1. Mac OS version developed by i5works. [1]
  2. Mac OS version published by Aspyr. [2] PS2 version published by Capcom for South Korea. [3]

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