Medal of Honor (1999 video game)
Medal of Honor is a 1999 first-person shooter video game, developed by DreamWorks Interactive and published by Electronic Arts for PlayStation. It is the first installment in the Medal of Honor video game series. The story was created by film director and producer Steven Spielberg.
In Medal of Honor, the player takes the role of the fictional Lieutenant Jimmy Patterson, a former C-47 Skytrain pilot in the Air Transport Command who was later recruited to the OSS. The game takes place near the end of World War II, (mid 1944-mid 1945). The goal of the game is to complete objectives, such as destroying enemy positions, and kill enemy Nazi forces in the process.
The game includes a split screen deathmatch mode, pitting two players against each other in various maps. Players can unlock several secret characters after completing the game or through cheat codes, from notable historical figures such as Filipino patriot José Rizal, playwright William Shakespeare and outlandish characters such as a German Shepherd and a dinosaur.
Development of the game started on November 11, 1997. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg held a meeting with DreamWorks Interactive staff, outlining an idea for a video game, a first-person shooter set during World War II. The idea originated from the experience his son Max had from playing the game GoldenEye 007 and Spielberg's deep interest of World War II. The game was written and produced by Peter Hirschmann. Dale Dye served as the game's military advisor. Spielberg had previously worked with Dye on the film Saving Private Ryan.
By March 1998, the game had reached its prototype stage with significant differences from the original version in the works. When the game reached its finishing stage in November 1999, there was an angry letter sent from Medal of Honor recipient Paul Bucha who rejected the release of such a game, claiming it was a dishonorable project. Peter Hirschmann showed Bucha a demonstration and gave a talk, saving the project from cancellation altogether.
Original animation tests for enemies took place around December 1997. Enemies were structured with up to 250 polygons. Blood and gruesome deaths were excluded from the game due to the Columbine High School massacre.
The music for the game was composed by film composer Michael Giacchino. Giacchino explained that in Medal of Honor, Jimmy Patterson was represented by two different major musical themes - the main Medal of Honor theme, and his own more personal theme which was used during the tougher moments of his journey." The music was recorded by a full orchestra.
Medal of Honor received a "Gold" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 200,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
The game received "critical acclaim" according to video game review aggregator Metacritic. This was due to critics praising its gameplay, graphics, enemy AI, level design and soundtrack. Gamepro gave the game high regards saying "This WWII Shooter features some of the most tense first-person action ever delivered on the Playstation". They also said "Without question, Medal's stellar soldiering makes it one of the year's top titles and must-own game". PSM stated that the game was "An Extraordinary Game With No Equal On The Playstation".
In the final issue of the Official UK PlayStation Magazine, the game was chosen as the 8th best game of all time. IGN ranked the game #21 on their list of the "Top 25 Games of All Time" for the PlayStation console.
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