Genre : shoot'em-up/action game
Modes : solo and multi-player (16 on PC, Lan and Internet / Modes : Death Match, Team Death Match et Capture The Flag, Capture the isolation case)
Publisher : Wanadoo
Development studio : 4X Studio
Release date : October, 23rd 2002
Platform : PC
Eastern Germany, March 1964. The Great War has been raging for 50 years now. All you have ever known is the madness of the front lines and of men butchering each other. Suddenly, you are given a mission which, if successful, could put a stop to the carnage. Shoot 'em-up and action are the best means of restoring what everybody has long since forgotten about: peace.
1964. The Great War has been fought for 50 years now. The occidentals and Russo-Mongols forces are confronting each other on both sides of a front line that appears to be right in the middle of Europe. Mankind seems to be condemned to eternal warfare…
The head of the immense Russo-Mongol Empire, Baron Nikolaï Aleksandrovitch Ugenberg, also known as the Mad Baron, dreams of an independent pan-Mongol state, a Central Asian empire to rival Genghis Khan's and which would be the first step towards a worldwide empire. "If the madness and corruption of mankind continue to threaten the divine spirit in man's heart, to shed blood and to prevent all moral progress, then the Asian state must put an end to this destructive process and establish a sure and lasting peace", he said.
This megalomaniac is apparently developing a top secret tactical weapon which would enable him to win the war and realise his dream: to be the ruler of all humanity. His scientists are currently experimenting with atomic fission…
James Anderson, an officer of the Western forces who was born in the mud of the trenches, is given the mission of penetrating behind enemy lines and infiltrating the Baron's research complex. His aim: to search out and destroy heavy water samples.
However, there is quite a surprise waiting for him in the factory…
A gameplay which combines shoot 'em-up, action and reflection:
The player undertakes an infiltration mission and must possess combat skills as well as stealth if he is to survive as he penetrates behind enemy lines.
Depending on the circumstances, the player can choose between first and third person views.
The player must pass through 6 worlds in a Germany ripped apart by the front line: the Friedrich line (the Western front), the Anton Denikin line (the Russo-Mongol front), Wolfenburg (an enemy-occupied town), the Mad Baron's heavy water factory, the "Tzar Ivan" armoured train and the Reichstag in Berlin.
The player must face different types of enemy, all of whom have different fighting styles and AI: Kazakh troops, Sturmpionners (soldiers of the "Deutsche Reichskorps", Russo-Mongol allies), Siberians, Cadets from Baron Ungern's bodyguard and, especially, Consortium agents.
James must also watch out for all the dangers of a real war: machinegun bunkers, snipers, mines, tanks, aerial bombardments, muddy trenches, dogs carrying mines which are trained to attack the enemy, etc.
The player's weapons consist of a Russian short sabre, a Heckler & Koch MP-6 "Wotan" assault pistol with a silencer fitted, a Remington M910 "Bull's Eye" shotgun, a M203 40mm "Clovis" grenade launcher, fragmentation and smoke grenades, and antipersonnel and magnetic mines. And let's not forget his best friend, the Simonov K-s 12 "Snayperskaya" Russian marksman rifle, equipped with a telescopic sight which doubles its range in 'sniper' mode. He can also use mounted weapons (for example, heavy machineguns and mortars).
DRT : a real tool of propaganda
Through his adventure, James Anderson finds on his way Deutsche-Russische Tageschau (DRT). It is one of the most widely used media in the ruins that are Europe, 1964. This communication device is used on both sides of the border...Allied spies never miss a chance to use the enemy DRT's in order to find out all they can about what the enemy forces are up to.
On the allies side…
Born in 1924, Anderson is a war child, an orphan of unknown parents.
At 19, he volunteered for the army and advanced quickly through the ranks to become a second lieutenant. Now, in 1964, he has managed to stay alive and is a legendary figure in the trenches. He only has one motivating desire: to survive. Psychological profile: he is at breaking point…
After a remarkable start to a career, at 36, Cecile Newcastle is captain of the prestigious Royal Highlands Regiment, and immediate supervisor to Lieutenant Anderson.
While she has the respect of her men and relatively spotless record, she's still a bit uneasy, knowing that some lobbies are taking advantage of the ongoing war and have vested economic interests in its continuing.
On the Russo-Mongolians side…
Baron Nikolaï Aleksandrovitch Ugenberg
The Baron Nikolai Ugenberg was born in Estonia, in the late 19th century. Profiting from the civil war between the White Russians and the Bolsheviks, he manages to stabilize the Mongolian empire, build a powerful army and take power.
Mystic, staunchly Buddhist and inflexible, he is sickened by speculation and European politics. He intends to stretch his empire from Vladivostok to the Atlantic. Far from the traditional image of the tsarist officer and haunted by his dreams of greatness, the Baron is fiercely independent, an extreme rigorist, attached to his troops and cruel beyond all comparison.
Alternative history: between reality and fiction.
The game takes place in an imaginary environment that has been inspired by real events.
IronStorm takes real elements from the First World War (trenches, barbed wire fences, mines, gas warfare…) and combines them with more modern elements from the Second World War (radar, penicillin, automatic weapons, tanks…) as well as elements inspired by the Vietnam War (helicopters, lasers, electronics…).
The development team has taken great care to create a realistic environment, one which includes well-known items but also some much lesser-known ones: vehicles, weapons, uniforms, communication and warning systems, animals living in the trenches, protagonists' nationalities, etc. Developers also get inspired from the movie "Iron Cross " from Sam Peckinpath to reach this level of realism.
Particular care has been taken with the creation of sound effects representing warfare, and the end result is worthy of the landing sequence in "Saving Private Ryan". For example, the sound engineers came up a dozen or so sounds to convey the impact of bullets into different materials: wood, flesh, iron, concrete, mud, etc.