'Delta Force 2' was the second in Novalogic's 'Delta Force' games, themselves ancestors of the company's earlier voxel-based flight simulator 'Comanche'. It was published in 1998 and used an updated version of the company's voxel graphics engine. Although marketed as a sequel, it added very little to the original game besides some new maps, a pair of new weapons and some minor graphical tweaks. In some respects it was less enjoyable than its predecessor. Novalogic subsequently abandoned their voxel engine as impractical and antiquated, and thus Delta Force 2 is probably the last major computer game to use voxels (he says, with crossed fingers
). This is a terrible shame, as the game's major selling point - a smooth, horizon-to-horizon view distance of complex, undulating terrain - has so far not been captured with polygons.
Gameplay-wise, it was essentially identical to the original game, in that it was a superificially 'realistic' but actually cartoonish action game, along the lines of the venerable arcade classic 'Commando'. As a superhuman Delta Force soldier, your job was to project US foreign policy in a pre-War on Terror war on terror. This you did by blowing away dozens upon dozens of third-world and Eastern European soldiers and militiamen, none of whom could hit a mountainside at five paces. Very little of the game took place indoors, and the graphical engine was not designed to do this; instead, you played the game by sniping the baddies from several hundred metres away, before blowing them up with an infeasibly large stock of rifle grenades which you could carry about your person. 'Delta Force 2' co-existed with the popular 'Rainbow Six' games, and was quickly overhauled by such games as 'Operation Flashpoint'; amongst other things, your weapons had no recoil or judder at all, whilst your character could run at fifteen miles per hour over almost all terrain indefinitely. Unlike in the original game, your character was injured by falls, falls from mountains which he could climb in seconds, over and over again.
In the original game, the mindlessness of the action was surprisingly good fun, just as Arnold Schwarzenegger's classic 'Commando' remains an enduring slice of ripe 1980s cheese. Unfortunately, Delta Force 2 was a disappointment, not least because it did not run at an acceptable speed on even the most advanced PCs in 1998. Furthermore, it was as mentioned above essentially a continuation of the original rather than a true sequel.
Not a great deal was added to the original game - the new weapons encompassed an underwater pistol and a shotgun attachment for your M4, neither of which you ever had cause to use. The underwater pistol was much too specialised for a game which did not require you to enter the water, whilst the shotgun attachment was only useful at close range, and Delta Force was not a close-range game. Furthermore, as the baddies were consistently and uniformly killed with one shot from your rifle to any part of their body, there was no reason for a shotgun. The terrain was liberally sprinkled with extruded grass, which looked nice, but had no effect on gameplay besides slowing your machine down - the enemy did not seem to be aware of it, and could see you just as well as before. They still couldn't hit you, but they could see you. Enemy AI, as before, consisted of firing continually whilst standing still or, in some cases, moving from one waypoint to the next.
Some elements of the game were actually inferior to those of its prequel. The game's most major failing was performance; due to the voxel-based nature of the graphics, no PC on Earth in 1998 could run it at 1024x768 without juddering. 3D acceleration was included, but only for cards which could render 3D in 32-bit colour, which in 1998 this was a rare novelty, excluding 3DFX's dominant 'Voodoo' range. For technical reasons which elude me, voxel graphics are not accelerated by 3D cards, and the only positive result of 3D acceleration was that buildings and polygonal objects were smoother than before. Even on a modern-day, multi-ghz machine, Delta Force 2 is slow.
'Delta Force 3: Land Warrior' was, if anything, even less interesting, lacking even the wide-open space of the first two games. In this respect, the 'Delta Force' games mirrored the quality path of the 'Rambo' films exactly.