Fighting a war in the jungles of Vietnam, virtually

March 7th, 2011 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) You leap behind a heap of wooden boxes, an AK-47 in hand, dodging the bullets whizzing past and return the fire, or while piloting a chopper through dense jungle you let fly a hail of machine-gun fire on enemy camps below. Welcome to real time war gaming in ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’.

A first-person shooter (FPS) video game, Black Ops was brought out by major game production company Activision worldwide Nov 9, 2010. The game, developed by Treyarch, is the seventh in the Call of Duty series and is set in the Cold War period.

Adam Biessener, of Game Informer Magazine, quoting from an Activision press release, writes in an article that Black Ops made record-breaking day one sales. “Black Ops sold through roughly $360 million in product in its first 24 hours on sale in the US and UK, compared to approximately $310 million for Modern Warfare 2.”

The game has life-like sequences. The protagonist, Alex Mason, a part of the special commando force under the CIA, is out hunting down three baddies. His adventures take him to Cuba, the dense jungles of Vietnam and Laos and even into a snow blizzard in Russia.

When the chopper takes off, it kicks up a thick cloud of dust and you can hear the blades whirring above. In an underwater sequence, you feel you are actually swimming under a river, and the fine snow dust covering the character and scene in the Russia sequence is so real, you feel you could actually pick up the snow.

The characters are life-like too, the expressions, the sweat trickling down their faces, their movements - all thanks to a dedicated team of artists who conceptualised the game.

“It is a very exciting game… the game play, the graphics, storyline, the characters, environment and the weaponry are all very sophisticated. I like the multiplayer aspect too,” avid gamer Achal Ghosh, a college student, told IANS.

Ghosh, who loves shooter games, said: “The helicopter controlling in the game is very real. You feel you are actually holding the controls. The facial expressions of the characters are really good and bring the game to life.”

His friend and another enthusiastic gamer, Siddharth Iyer, said: “I love the interaction between all the characters. My favourite character in the game is Viktor Reznov and his main dialogue - ‘Dragovich, Kravchenko, Steiner… all must die’.”

However, while the game has a dedicated following, it has raised some controversies, like assassinating Fidel Castro, though the player ends up shooting his body double.

“The game is an American game, and I feel the Vietnamese are not shown in very good light. There is also a controversial part in the game where you have to assassinate Fidel Castro, but you end up shooting his body double,” said Iyer.

Cubadebate, a state-run news website, criticising the assassination attempt on Fidel Castro in the game, says: “What the United States couldn’t accomplish in more than 50 years, they are now trying to do virtually…This new video game is doubly perverse. On the one hand, it glorifies the illegal assassination attempts the United States government planned against the Cuban leader … and on the other, it stimulates sociopathic attitudes in North American children and adolescents.”

Venkatesh, another college student, commenting on the gaming industry in India, said: “Sadly, India is far behind the West in the gaming industry. The games in India are nowhere even comparable to the first installation of Call of Duty, which was released in 2003.”

“There is no proper gaming industry in India. The games available in India are produced individually, and a good game requires lots of money, which no one in India is willing to spend. In the West, firms like Activision and Electronic Arts can churn out multi-million dollar ventures.”

Black Ops, which has a generous sprinkling of abuses, blood and violence, is meant for people above 18. The game costs Rs.3,000 if you order online.

(Ranjana Narayan can be contacted at

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