Delta Force: Task Force Dagger

Marketing this as a sequel feels a bit forced.


Not quite Desert Storm.

Built with the same base code that drove Delta Force: Land Warrior (2000), the shrewdly marketed Task Force Dagger (a standalone product) is more or less the same game with a few extras thrown in. A thin veneer of authenticity sets the game in such locales as Kandahar Airport, Bagram, Mazar-e-Sharif, and other Afghan battlegrounds, but those who’ve wrestled with Land Warrior will easily recognize TFD for the glorified mission pack that it is (a fact NovaLogic developers seemed ready to concede). And along with the same 3D-augmented voxel-graphics engine comes many of the same limitations from past games.

TFD is chock-full of all the right acronyms, featuring 10 different Special Forces character types and a plethora of heavy-duty weaponry and literally endless voxel-rendered outdoor levels. Much of it is unfortunately recycled material from Land Warrior, and what’s really new – 25 missions in particular – present few challenges that haven’t already been covered. Yet there’s some amusement in its familiarity in spite of the ancient character animations, gameplay gimmicks and the “new” no-brained Taliban pulling many of the same AI blunders from games past. Their only notable tweaked behavior is the pathfinding, allowing enemy soldiers to better negotiating city streets and not run into things.

The armory is essentially identical save for a few more snipers and a very useful suppressed M4 that makes night missions, arguebly the game’s best moments, a tad more easier to manage. But otherwise claymores are still pretty much useless outside of deathmatch, Satchel Charges have been replaced with SLAMs (the change is purely cosmetic), and artillery strikes are woefully unspectacular. The only actual new addition as far as gameplay is the UAV, an aerial eye in the sky that flies above the target area. You can switch to the UAV cam at any time and focus in on enemy activity, but the camera window is so painfully small that this potentially useful tool is squandered.

Final Thoughts

Dagger’s multiplayer portion is a bit more interesting, but here too the game suffers from having the co-op mission play scrapped, a decision which unquestionably bites ass. The “search and destroy†mode comes off as an interesting alternative, tasking players with taking out specific objectives. It’s almost as much fun as Flagball, a cool flag-snatching game popular in paintball.

And that’s really all there is. Because behind the Clancy-riffic window dressing, Task Force Dagger is a limping echo of a game that was somewhat behind the curve when it first appeared. Kill for kill, it’s about as entertaining as Land Warrior for the same reasons, but to have the gall to charge the game as anything other than a mission pack might not have been the best move on NovaLogic’s part.

System Requirements: Pentium 233 MHz Processor, 32 MB RAM, Windows 95/98/ME

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