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Medal of Honor Video Game Series

Updated on May 18, 2011

Medal of Honor Series: An Overview

The Medal of Honor series is one of the longest standing and most storied video game franchises. Starting with the original Medal of Honor which made its entrance on the Playstation 1, the series has become a household name for fans of first person shooters. The series went beyond the traditional gameplay experience with the direction of cinematic genius Steven Spielberg. The added "Hollywood" element meant that the gamer experience with the Medal of Honor games was not meant to merely be another shoot em' up, but rather a thoroughly enthralling experience straight out of the the movie Saving Private Ryan.

With the exception of the latest Medal of Honor which is set in the modern day Middle East dealing with current conflicts, all of the previous entries in the Medal of Honor series put the player in various positions throughout World War II. Everything from the storming of the beaches in Normandy to the bombing of Pearl Harbor can be experienced. While some of the games were critically acclaimed much more than others, each entry in the series brought the same style of classic gameplay with different nuances. For example, Medal of Honor Airborne has the player parachuting into combat, opening up a whole new strategy of gameplay with virtually unlimited starting positions depending on where you land.

This lens serves to highlight the major installments in the series and provide relevant reviews from both the critics and my own perspective as a gamer. Only those versions released on the major consoles (Playstation, XBOX, etc..) make it into this lens, although the PC versions (I have heard) are certainly worth playing.

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The Original Medal of Honor

This is the Medal of Honor game that started it all. Gamespot gave the game an 8.5 score (out of 10), and the game proved to rival the popularity of the acclaimed and addictive 007: Golden Eye game which was released earlier on the same platfrom. Here is an excerpt from the official Gamespot review: "Medal of Honor is set in the heat of World War II. As a member of the Office of Strategic Services department, you must infiltrate enemy-occupied territory, sabotage equipment, steal documents, and generally act as a monkey wrench in the Nazi's plans. Being an OSS agent doesn't only require you to be a commando, there will be times when you must don the cap of spy as well, using forged papers and Nazi uniforms to gain access to areas where a straight-on assault would fail. This sort of gameplay feels much like a 3D take on an old Apple II-era WWII adventure-game series: Castle Wolfenstein. It's true that id Software later brought the Wolfenstein line into the third dimension, but MoH is more of a 3D version of Wolfenstein than Wolfenstein 3D was. And as good as Wolfenstein 3D was, it was only a straightforward shooter. Medal of Honor's gameplay elements - masquerading as an officer, stopping troops from flipping alarms, and using passes - makes it feel more like an adventure game, such as Metal Gear Solid, than like a fast-paced blow 'em up like Quake."

My Take: Medal of Honor was an instant hit at the time. It is still one of the best games (in my opinion) for the Playstation. If you are a fan of classic video games and still play on the PS1, this one is a must have.

Video Game Review of the Original Medal of Honor

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Medal Of Honor
Medal Of Honor

The classic game that started the whole series is a must have for the Playstation 1. The graphics may not be state of the art or to modern day standards, but the gameplay is solid. Hint: you can buy it used for a better price on Amazon.

 
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Medal of Honor: Underground

This entry followed close on the heals of the original game. For a change of pace, the player takes on the role of a French resistence fighter who happens to be a woman. Here is a sample of what Gamepost had to say: "Medal of Honor: Underground is a first-person shooter that is fairly similar to its predecessor. Each mission is preceded by a short briefing that details the location, situation, and objectives. In addition to her resourcefulness, Manon has a large assortment of WWII-era weaponry at her disposal, from side arms and rifles to Molotov cocktails and the Panzerfaust (an antitank rocket launcher). It falls to you, then, to make effective use of these weapons and guide Manon through occupied territory so she can complete her objectives. The objectives are fairly varied, though many can be reduced to find the proper switch or item and proceed to the exit."

My take: Really there is not all that much different about Underground that separates it from the predecessor. That said, the storyline and setting still make this game a solid gaming experience.

Medal of Honor: Underground Game Walkthrough

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Medal of Honor Underground
Medal of Honor Underground

This iteration in the Medal of Honor series provides more excellent game-play on the classic Playstation 1 platform.

 
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Medal of Honor: Frontline

Medal of Honor: Frontline truly put this series on the map. Highly rated by players and critics, this entry is almost cinematic in quality. The first mission starts with an epic task of storming the beaches at Normandy while being straffed by Nazi machine gun fire from the bluffs. It genuinely feels as though you are re-enacting scene from Saving Private Ryan. Here is what Gamespot had to say, "The bulk of the game takes place during one of the most daring offensives of World War II: Operation Market Garden, a plan that, had it succeeded, may have ended the European war several months earlier. While Operation Market Garden ultimately failed just short of its final goal, in Frontline, as Lieutenant James Patterson, you'll press on alone, making your way well behind enemy lines using stealth and sabotage as well as heroic force to achieve your own goals. In the important shoes of this American GI, by game's end, you'll have single-handedly prevented the invention of an experimental Nazi jet bomber from turning the tide of the war, and you'll have gone toe-to-toe with a wily Nazi antagonist and his hordes of deadly soldiers."

My take: Frontline is one of the top ten best first person shooters ever released and represents the very best of the series. This is a must have for all fans of the series or fans of first person shooters.

Medal of Honor: Frontline Review

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Medal of Honor: Rising Sun

This version of Medal of Honor was highly anticipated, but failed to deliver the same level of quality as Frontline. Taking place in the Pacific, the harrowing first mission at Pearl Harbor is fun, but does not adequately replicate the quality throughout the game. Here is what Gamespot had to say, "If you've kept up with the Medal of Honor games over the years, or even the legion of World War II games in general, you'll notice right away that Medal of Honor Rising Sun represents a noticeable shift in setting. For whatever reason, nearly all WWII games focus on the various European operations that took place during the grueling years of the war, but Rising Sun steps up to the plate and moves the action entirely to the Pacific theater of operations. The game's missions will take you to various hotspots in the Pacific conflict, such as Manila, Guadalcanal, and Singapore, and, in true Medal of Honor style, you'll be tasked with accomplishing big objectives with a small force (sometimes limited only to yourself). Rising Sun isn't the longest game, with only around eight missions that usually last 30 minutes to an hour each, but there's at least a decent amount of variety in its locales."

My take: If you are a fan of the series, Rising Sun is an interesting diversion. However, the novelty of the new location is eventually overwhelmed by the negative gameplay attributes in the later stages of the game. While it is playable, there are some annoying bugs as well as a lack of imagination for some of the later missions. Being stuck in a jungle makes the missions more like finding your way out of a maze than like an enjoyable gaming experience. That said, Rising Sun is not a bad game by any means.

Medal of Honor: Rising Sun Review

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Medal of Honor: European Assault

Euopean Assault tried to return to the original success of the series by putting the player back onto the mainland of Europe to defeat the Nazi war machine. The best part about this game is the open-ended path to mission accomplishment. Linear missions are replaced by creative thinking on the part of the player to achieve the various objectives. This is what Gamespot had to say: "In European Assault, you take the role of William Holt, an American intelligence officer. As a sort of freelance operative, your missions take you to four different areas during the campaign. You'll begin by riding shotgun with the British SAS on their famous St. Nazaire raid, and then you'll be whisked to North Africa where you'll assist General Montgomery and the Desert Rats against Rommel's Afrika Korps. The third campaign has you helping Russian partisans and the Red Army on the eastern front, and the final campaign will put you back with US forces during the Battle of the Bulge. While your adventures cover a lot of ground in a geographic sense, there are only 11 missions in European Assault that are scattered across those four areas. Counting mission restarts, it only takes about eight hours or less to beat the game. A skilled player could conceivably blow through the entire thing in just five or six hours. While the game isn't very long, you'll still probably have a lot of fun while it lasts."

My take: European Assault is a fun game that delivers a quality experience for Medal of Honor fans. While it is not spectacular or revolutionary, the added freedom to pursue multiple avenues towards mission accomplishment means that there is increased replayability for this game. A solid performance all around. The only knock against it is that the campaign is relatively short and leaves you wanting more.

Medal of Honor: European Assault Trailer

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Medal of Honor: Vanguard

Medal of Honor: Vanguard was one of the biggest disappointments in the franchise. The gameplay was formulaic and added no new elements to the series. Gamespot only managed a 5.5 (out of 10) rating for the game. Here is what they had to say, "Vanguard places you in the role of Frank Keegan, a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne division. Each mission is set up with a bit of black-and-white footage narrated by Keegan, followed by a brief cutscene once the mission starts. It's the same basic story from previous games, and you're not likely to give it a second thought. There are four campaigns, each of which is divided into two to four missions. You'll be fighting in Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Germany, doing just what you'd expect to be doing in a WWII FPS. You'll plant charges on enemy antiaircraft weapons, procure documents, rescue missing soldiers, clear bunkers, use bazookas on tanks, and shoot a ton of Nazis. You'll get to do a little bit of parachuting here and there, but there's nothing to it--you have a tiny bit of control over where you land, and it doesn't matter a whole lot where you end up. There's no online play to speak of. This isn't a huge shock on the Wii, but considering that other Medal of Honor games for the PS2 have had online play, its omission is notable. You can play some split-screen multiplayer if you'd like, but come on--this is 2007, not 1997."

My take: If you liked the classic Medal of Honor games, this game can function as an expansion back. Do not pay full price for this. Try and find it on Amazon on the cheap.

Medal of Honor: Vanguard Trailer

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Medal of Honor: Vanguard - Nintendo Wii
Medal of Honor: Vanguard - Nintendo Wii

For the Wii. Note: the production qualities are much better suited to the Wii than to the traditional PS2 console.

 
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Medal of Honor: Airborne

Airborne was a great return for the Medal of Honor series. Being able to be dropped into the mission are and CHOOSE your landing location meant that missions were highly replayable and restarts were not necessarily annoying. Every time you are killed you get to jump into the mission area again, but with all of your progress up to the last checkpoint saved. This means you can try and approach a target from different angles until you meet success. As such, there is much more of a strategy and tactics element to Airborne.

Here is what Gamespot had to say: "Once on the ground you'll take on waves of Axis soldiers over the course of the game's six levels. Six levels might not sound like a lot, but each generally takes an hour or more to complete, so it'll probably take most people around eight hours to finish the game. Your objectives are shown on your radar and you're free to tackle them in whatever order you choose. Between choosing your starting location and being able to pick what to take on first it might sound like there's a lot of freedom here, but there's really not--you can't start from many different places, and you have to do the same tasks regardless of the order you start them. Mission objectives range from blowing up AA guns to clearing buildings of enemy soldiers, taking out tanks, and detonating lots of explosives. On their own these tasks aren't anything unique, but because the levels are so long and feature so many objectives you often feel as though you're performing monumental feats rather than routine tasks."

My take: While not critically acclaimed, I found Airborne to be a great addition to the Medal of Honor series. Just the ability to parachute onto the map took the game to a whole new level. Although the reviewers thought otherwise, I found that there actually was many neat locations to jump into other than the specified green zones. Some were more difficult, for sure, but there is nothing more satisfying then jumping straight into the Nazi hornet nest and managing to kill them all off from the outset. This is a must buy for first person shooter fans.

Medal of Honor: Airborne Review

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Medal of Honor (2010 version)

This latest entry in the series marked a dramatic departure in the history of the franchise. World War II was gone! Instead, the rocky terrain of Afghanistan was the setting for the latest installment in Medal of Honor. The game was rated above average by most professional critics, yet it failed to deliver Call of Duty-like gameplay. Although it certainly does compete, it is not the near perfect shooter many were expecting. Gamespot had this to say: "The single-player campaign takes place in Afghanistan, where craggy peaks loom over dry, rocky terrain. You are part of an American military effort to find and eliminate Taliban forces, and the grounded-in-reality premise feels more immediate than those that feature fictional enemies. The nicely varied environments provide an attractive array of places to wage war, and even though the visuals suffer from some technical imperfections, the fact that the whole campaign takes place in one region of the world creates a good sense of cohesion. It's easy to keep track of who you are and where you fit into the offensive even though you play as multiple characters. While come cutscenes provide good dramatic set-up, the ham-fisted interactions that take place in the command outpost often feel cliche and cheap. It's probably for the best that Medal of Honor didn't take on a wider representation of the current conflict, focusing instead on the characters you meet in the field and their soldierly attitudes. The great battlefield chatter portrays intriguing facets of professionalism and camaraderie among the soldiers, setting an authentic tone that enhances the experience."

My take: the 2010 version of Medal of Honor is an interesting diversion. While not epic, it is fun and features some video game innovations. That said, it is not the best entry in the franchise. If you never played the Medal of Honor series because of the World War II setting, this is the perfect excuse to pick yourself up a copy.

Medal of Honor (2010) Review

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    • cok666 lm profile image

      cok666 lm 6 years ago

      although I not yet had time to play this game ...

      nice lens ..^_^