War of the worlds

What will wars be like in 135 years? The optimists might say there will be no wars, as those nations with nuclear weapons will be afraid to use them.

bfield disk 88 (photo credit: )
bfield disk 88
(photo credit: )
Battlefield 2142, a DVD-ROM in English by Dice for EA, distributed with a 28-page Hebrew-language user's manual by Hed Artzi Multimedia, requires Windows XP and a 1.7 Ghz Pentium 4 PC or better and a high-speed Internet connection, for ages 16 through adult, NIS 219. Rating: **** 1/2 What will wars be like in 135 years? The optimists might say there will be no wars, as those nations with nuclear weapons will be afraid to use them, while those that have only conventional arms will be pacified by better living conditions through technology and education. But the realists say that war will not have been abolished by 2142. If one depends on his EA game for prognostication, the world will be submerged in a new ice age caused, ironically, by global warming and the inability of the sun's rays to get through the layers of pollutants that industrial plants are coughing up. In this horrendous era, snow falls intermittently on gray landscapes, and the Asians and Europeans are fighting tooth and claw over the small amount of habitable land that is left on Earth (now why didn't we listen to Prof. Stephen Hawking when he advised mankind in 2006 to inhabit other planets because we were messing up this one?). Amazingly, there is no mention of the Arab-Israel conflict, so either peace will have finally come to this tragic neighborhood or the region will be long gone. Soldiers dressed in heavy body armor are not only on the battlefield, but they also sit inside two-legged giant mechanical assault vehicles called Battlewalkers that traipse around like chickens while shooting from their heads. And then there are Titans - enormous floating fortresses that hover in the air over battlefields - which can only be destroyed by capturing missile silos and shooting at their weaker underbellies, boarding them, destroying their consoles and wiping out the reactor cores. Only then will the Titans blow up. There is no blood in this first-person-shooter game, but nevertheless it is meant only for teenagers older than 16 and adults because the action never ends, and the sole activity is constant killing. You have to be a true fan of the Battlefield series, especially the Battlefield 2 game on whose game engine 2142 was based. Everyone else will be bored - if not shot - to death, by the constant gunfire. There are four types of troops - recon (a kind of special forces soldier and scout combined with a sniper), assault, engineer and support - and a large variety of personal weapons. But the arms are surprisingly not Star Wars-type weaponry; they are not innovative or very different from what soldiers are shooting with today, and you have to wait a while to unlock some of them as you proceed with the action. Unlike the previous game in the series, everyone who buys 2142 has to register via the Internet to play even in the single player mode; without it, you can't play it at all. Your Internet connection must be fast or the action will be very choppy and with enemies not dying, even if you shoot straight at them. On-line multiplayer gaming is really the only satisfying way to play this brutal disk, as you compete against live anonymous competitors living anywhere on the globe. As many as 48 players get together on the EA server for a single contest and shoot at each other until they want a snack or a bathroom break. For fans, it is very addictive. You fight on until you capture the flag stuck in your enemy's territory, and then go after another one. The false names of people, with first initials, whom you kill are shown on the screen. You have to just jump in and play without getting a tutorial; the only explanations you get - besides those from the user's manual - are in a short on-line training film about how to overcome the Titans. There's no beginning or end. There are no specific missions, just maps of Belgrade, the Fall of Berlin, the Suez Canal, Verdun and others to kill over. You learn what to do by trial and error, during which you will be "killed" and have to "respawn" yourself an endless number of times. But the music is energizing, and the graphics are highly polished. EA certainly has done a good job, as this is the best first-person shooter of its kind. Its main shortcoming is that it is a bit short on maps. Just make sure the gamer comes up for air.