Select your weapon, soldier.
In any game, you must pick a gun, and a secondary weapon (you have grenades as well). Then you set off and try to achieve your objective, which involves killing as many enemies as possible, or running around chasing flags. When you die, you respawn again and repeat, until the end of the round, just like any decent shooter game. It’s very simple stuff. But here’s where the fun begins. There are 7 different styles of game, each of which can be tweaked for maximum fun, with different maps, modes, bots, and even the delightfully fun Weapons Mod.
The flamethrower is one of the powerups available in the boxes that get scattered about the map.
The game comes with 51 maps, designed for the different Game Styles, and 3 modes. Personally, I don’t use any of them unless I’m in multiplayer, but many people prefer Soldat with Realistic mode. There’s also Survival mode, where everybody respawns at once, and Advance mode, where you start with secondary weapons and fight for random primary guns. The bots, which are only really used in single player, all have their own favourite weapons, for example Boogie Man is a chainsaw-wielding maniac who fares surprisingly well for somebody who doesn’t use missiles. For advanced users, there is Weapons Mod, a text file that can be edited to create crazy and powerful weapons, that are there to mess about with – unless you turn into a real Soldat nut! I’ve personally only used them to create ridiculously destructive miniguns…
Weapons mod is a hoot!
The only way to go about describing the gameplay is to describe each Game Style in turn – each is a new type of tactics, but the same manipulation.
- Deathmatch is the standard brainless killing spree. Kill anything that moves. Some will find this the most fun, a simple distraction, but I prefer tactics, and a proper goal.
- Capture the Flag, the most popular style, is a variation on the classic tag game – with guns. Steal the enemy flag and return it to your own.
- Hold the Flag is rarely used; your goal is to keep the flag with your team.
- Pointmatch is also rare, and uses the flag again, it’s like Deathmatch but with a point system for different types of kill.
- Teammatch is Deathmatch with teams.
- Rambomatch is again similar to Deathmatch, but players seek a magic bow, and only when using this can they score points.
- Infiltration is the most tactical, Alpha Team must captue Bravo Team’s flag, but Bravo’s only goal is to defend it for as long as possible.
Customise your character, and watch his head get chainsawed off.
Your soldier moves like a dream. The mouse and keyboard-based combat works really well, if after a bit of practice. You’re treated to a jetpack, which makes moving around that much more fun. And maybe the best part of all: all guns are equal. This ensures true variety in weapons, I’ve never been in a server where everyone is using the same gun. They help more in different situations, which is why I treasure my Barret, Desert Eagles, and AK47 for their differences.
The graphics aren’t a masterpiece, but why should they be? In 2D, the blood and guts aren’t thrilling, but they do the job. Everything is small but compact, to maximise gameplay. And they have the sound effects roundabout spot on!
Soldat can automatically take end-of-game screenshots, making bragging on your blog much easier.
Multiplayer is the reason I have been playing Soldat so much recently. There are some servers that take gameplay to whole new levels. There is one called dodgeball, in which teams throw knives across the arena at each other, separated by a wall. Last team standing wins. Or decaying zombie, in which legions of zombies with bad AI swarm around their flag – your mission is to clear them and take it. Or how about Snipe & Slice, a server where the only weapons available are the Barret, chainsaw, and knife. Multiplayer for me is the reason Soldat is lastable, the AI gets old and predictable (after a long while), but multiplayer lives on!
Why not try sticking 20 bots in a tiny arena to see what happens?
Overall Soldat is amazingly compact, with so much different gameplay it’s unbelievable. Considering the fact that it’s freeware (technically shareware, but the shareware doesn’t really add a lot to the game), the game is definitely worth checking out. And give it a chance, check out all the stuff I’ve mentioned if it takes your fancy. I’m sure there are a heck of a lot of details that I’ve not even looked into. Get some headshots for me, young soldier.