Call of Duty: Finest Hour
|Call of Duty: Finest Hour|
|Developer(s)||Exakt Entertainment (GC)
Spark Unlimited (PS2 & Xbox)
|Series||Call of Duty|
|Release date(s)||NA November 16, 2004
|Distribution||Nintendo optical disc, DVD|
Call of Duty: Finest Hour is a 2004 first-person shooter video game. It was released for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox on November 16, 2004 in North America. It was the first console installment of Call of Duty, developed by Spark Unlimited and published by Activision. It was followed up by a sequel, Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, in 2005.
Although it is based on the original Call of Duty franchise for the PC, it has a completely different storyline and acts as a side-story/expansion of the main game. In the spirit of previous Call of Duty games, it features six intertwined stories and battles based on real events from the perspective of soldiers on each side of the allied campaign (U.S., British, and Soviet).
The game's music was composed by Michael Giacchino, who previously worked on the original Call of Duty and the Medal of Honor franchise. AC/DC singer Brian Johnson provides the voice of Sergeant Starkey, one of the British commandos.
Finest Hour can support both online and local multi-player support, depending on the console. It has no online multi-player support for the GameCube as it does not take advantage of the GameCube broadband or modem adapter. On the Xbox, Finest Hour has online multi-player support and up to 32 players can play locally though Xbox's System Link feature. The PlayStation 2 port of Finest Hour also has online multi-player support, with up to 16 players per session.
- Private Aleksandr Sokolov is the first playable protagonist and one of the three playable Russian characters in the game.
- Lieutenant Tanya Pavelovna is a Russian sniper. She is encountered by Sokolov, and takes on the role of the second player character on the Russian front.
- Lieutenant (later Major) Nikolai Badanov is a Russian tank commander who encounters Sokolov and Pavelovna. With their help he secures a T34 tank. Badanov becomes the player's character for the remainder of the Russian campaign.
- Edward Carlyle is a British commando serving in North Africa. He is in charge of Demolitions and is the playable character for the entirety of the African campaign.
- Sergeant (later Lieutenant) Chuck Walker is a member of the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division and a veteran of D-Day. His squad is tasked with clearing the German resistance from Aachen and finally from the last bridge over the Rhine at Remagen.
- Sergeant Sam Rivers is a U.S. tank commander. Rivers is the playable character for a single mission only in which his tank backs up American forces during the German Assault on Bastogne. He is later seen again in the mission at Remagen but not as a playable character.
In the Russian campaign, Private Aleksandr Sokolov starts in Stalingrad, Russia. Sokolov is riding in a wooden boat with other soldiers and a commissar who patriotically gives them a pep talk when all of a sudden a Stuka swoops in killing a couple of the boat riders and prompting two men to get off boat and flee just to get shot down by the commissar who surprisingly is still able to keep his cool, says that cowards will be shot. Sokolov then gets off the boat and lines up for the giving of arms, the comrade in front of him gets a gun while Sokolov gets an ammo clip. After getting the ammo clip and a good view of Stalingrad being destroyed, Sokolov follows Sgt. Puskov who tells him to follow him to stay alive. Sokolov then follows Sgt. Puskov around the trenches and sees comrades die the instant they get closer to Stalingrad while more comrades come in to their inevitable deaths. After finally getting cover from the machine gun fire, Sokolov then encounters a small fight with his comrades against a small German force stationed at an armory. At this point, Sokolov can only look on until a comrade blindly runs towards the middle making him an easy target and getting shot down, letting Sokolov finally be able to participate the fight by taking the fallen comrade's Mosin-Nagant rifle. After taking out the Germans, Sokolov and Sgt. Puskov then enter the armory, to see via the window, retreating German soldiers. Conveniently, an MP40 is lying on the ground with a lot of magazines. Sokolov then uses the MP40 to mow down the retreating Germans until Russians are now the ones running through the streets. As Sokolov and Sgt. Puskov exit the armory, they see a large force of Soviet troops being told by a commissar that they can now overwhelm the remaining German position on the other side of the wall. The Soviet troops then run in masses towards their deaths into MG42 fire, while the commissar only steps back a little and just stands there waving his comrades to the direction of the mass atrack. Sgt. Puskov sees this as a waste of perfectly good men and tells Sokolov that there is another way around that has little resistance. After taking out the German machine guns, Sgt. Puskov then tells Sokolov that he is surprised that he's (Sokolov) still alive, presuming that he may have had a lot of subordinates that just died after joining him. Sgt. Puskov then leads Sokolov and another two men with a machine gun through a house with German troops. After clearing the building of German soldiers the other two men then assembled the machine gun and laid down fire on German troops, soon the gunner is killed and Sokolov is ordered to take his position and continue to lay down fire. Some time later Sgt Puskov suddenly pushes away Sokolov from the machine gun and says "German sniper! Look out comrade!" Before getting killed by a sniper, sacrificing himself. Right at that instant a female Soviet sniper, named Tanya Pavlovna shoots the German sniper saying that she has 'been hunting that bastard all day'. She sends Sokolov on a mission to round up comrades and take out three pillboxes and lead his comrades to capture a German bunker by taking down the Nazi flag and raising the Soviet flag in its place. After the mission is completed, Sokolov becomes Pavelovna's spotter as the two work to harass the Germans. This is where she teaches him that he can use the noise of the battleground to his advantage by using the loud sounds to silence the guns noise itself, she also tells him the importance of relocation and to always try to shoot the officers first. The game then switches over to Pavelovna. After taking out some German squads and a Panzer IV with a little help from a mine carrying sapper, Pavelovna and Sokolov are then visited by a frantic soviet soldier who tells them that they need help from the Germans from overrunning a tractor factory which was converted to produce Soviet tanks. Pavelovna and Sokolov then followed the soldier and see a German tank rip apart a couple of Soviet squads to pieces. This prompts The squad to use the sewage system to bypass the German tank only to discover that the sewers were not only crawling with Soviet soldiers who get separated from their main group, but the sewers were also infested with Germans patrolling the area. After finally getting out of the sewers Pavelovna and Sokolov then help defend a tractor factory that has been converted to the role of manufacturing T-34s. Upon successfully defending the factory, a tank crew, led by Nikolai Badanov, arrives to man the tank just as a Panzer IV advances on the factory. Sokolov and Pavelovna escape the factory on top of a T-34. The player assumes the role of Nikolai Badanov next. Nikolai stops at General Belov's headquarters after fighting through pockets of German resistance. The tank then gets into engine trouble and is forced to stop for repairs, unfortunately the smoke from the engine attracted Germans and made the repairs much more difficult now with bullets flying around. Pavelovna then goes up inside a tall building and provided sniper fire while Sokolov and Nikolai with his other tank crew defend the tank and its repairer. Suddenly a Panzer IV appears and shoots at the building where Pavelovna was providing sniper fire, collapsing the building entombing Pavelovna in the process. After the tank is finished repairing Nikolai then destroys the Panzer IV in an act of revenge. The tank then arrives at General Belov's position. General Belov then told them that they needed Nikolai and his tank to take a radio and deliver it to a team of spotters whose radio had been damaged. Without radio contact, the Soviet artillery has not been receiving target coordinates. At that instant a wounded Pavelovna is being carried inside with a concerned Sokolov comforting her from the pain as medics mend her injuries. Badanov's task is to recapture the ruins of Red Square, arrive at the Stalingrad train station, break through to the team, and deliver the radio. After clearing the station of German squads, Badanov then gives the radio to the spotters. The spotters then relayed the German tank positions to the radio letting General Belov to finally destroy the German force by rockets. Afterward, Badanov is involved in the Russian assault on a German airfield at Tatsinskaya. This attack is codenamed Operation Little Saturn. At first the operation was kept secret but word got out and the German's at the airfield made a frantic evacuation. But even though the element of surprise was lost, there was still more fun to be had, says Nikolai. He fights through the heavily defended barracks and supply areas. Nikolai and other T-34s proceed to the airstrip to destroy German aircraft. Upon destroying the airfield they meet up with more Soviets to assault the German headquarter's air traffic control.
The British campaign follows Edward Carlyle. Carlyle embarks on a night raid in Matmata to destroy a German fuel depot. The commando team, a squad of more than five soldiers led by Sergeant Starkey manage to destroy a radio post defended by a much larger German force. After that, the squad will most likely end up with only Starkey, Carlyle, Pvt. Locke, and a volunteer native, Yuseff. Even Though Locke and Yuseff are not part of main characters, they do not die. After that Starkey then takes his remaining squad to take out a generator and in this level Locke and Yuseff will be killed if left to die. After taking out the generator, by shooting bullets at it or a simple knock by the end of a gun, Starkey then leads his remaining team (Most likely by now only Carlyle) through the town, using Sticky bombs and teller mines that are found along the way to take out German armor. Starkey then leads his squad to a fuel depot while being given covering fire by two friendly jeeps, equipped with machine guns. After the Matmata raid, a jeep picks up Starkey and Carlyle, presumably one of the two jeeps who gave covering fire to Starkey's team. As they refuel in the desert, a German shoots the machine gunner. Carlyle then shoots the sniper and waits for Starkey to refuel the jeep while German forces slowly pour in by their side. Carlyle quickly mans the .50 caliber machine gun to shoot at the German vehicles, aircraft and soldiers as Starkey drives around the desesrt. A Stuka drops a bomb that separates Starkey and Carlyle. They are thrust into a battle for an unnamed Roman fortress, Carlyle is able to destroy the German entrance. This stops the seemingly endless waves of further German reinforcements and silences the MG42s. He then rescues Sgt. Dehart, who was trapped on the roof of a German stronghold. After being rescued, Dehart tells Carlyle that a cartographer is being held by German forces, who has vital information. He also claims to know a way to outflank Rommel through the desert. Carlyle finishes off the remaining Germans and rescues the cartographer and finds Starkey jokingly say "Hey, Carlyle, were you just going to leave me out there?" before laughing to join them.
The American missions see the player control Chuck Walker, a sergeant in the American 1st Infantry Division. The first three missions concentrate on the capture of Aachen. Walker and his friend and fellow squad member (corporal) Benny Church are promoted for their service in Aachen. After capturing Aachen, the story shifts focus to M4 Sherman tank commander Sam Rivers, a young African-American who has been made sergeant for his commitment and bravery. After successfully helping to fend off Germans around the town of Tillet. The player returns to take control of the newly promoted Lieutenant Walker. Walker's new mission is to infiltrate the city of Remagen and scout the status of a bridge that is rumored to be left standing over the Rhine. After finding the bridge, Walker and most of what's left of his squad fight their way to a house, that is infested with Germans, and destroy two king tiger tanks. Walker then teams up with Rivers. They along with their squad protect Rivers' tanks and escort it to the bridge. However upon reaching the bridge, a huge hole in the ground prevents the tanks from moving on. A helpful hint is that a Browning 30.cal can be found behind the Sherman scoop tank. After a motivational sentiment from their Captain, Frank Kowalski, Walker and Church move into position to take control of the bridge. Unfortunately, this means that Walker and his squad must now capture the bridge alone. Players may find difficulty in crossing to the other side of the bridge for the only way to go inside is to take out 6 MG 42s defending the line and the players current weapons cannot take out the German nest for it is too far for pin-point accuracy, the only way is to pick up a German sniper in left side of the bridge which is usually found at the middle of the bridge. After taking out pockets of German resistance and going through the bridge's tower systems (For the only unlocked tower is not the one with the Flakvierling but is just another way to make the level longer and more challenging) Walker operates the Flakvierling anti-aircraft gun on top of a tower and fends off the counterattacking German Stukas after crossing the bridge, though Walker can choose a MG 42 for better firepower and fast mobility, but it can only attack at what's in front and beside him. They rebuff the aerial threat and Walker hangs the US flag over the tower and waves the tank column in. The Allies then move in to take over Germany.
Finest Hour received mixed to positive reviews. IGN states that despite its portrayal of a good shooter, it is still stuck between realism and over-the-top antics. The graphics have been criticized as being very ordinary along with the effects being disappointing. The sound was also found to be out of sync in some areas of the game. Finest Hour is considered to have fallen short of the high benchmark set by its PC counterpart.