Can you imagine our surprise? "It will be done when it's done." That's what I was told when I asked the powers that be in Activision's office for a release date for id Software's badass multiplayer shooter, Quake Wars. That, it seems has and always will be the id mantra.
And you can't fault them for that because it's a good one to have, and when the Doom creator's games do ship, they head straight to the upper echelons of gaming greatness. Yes, you're not sure when you're going to get it, but when you do, you ruddy well know it will blow a hole in your pants.
Still, I got to take id's latest creation for a whirl around the battlefield this issue and I was impressed. A lot.
If there is one shooter out there to beat for its sheer multiplayer pulling power its Activision's other mega franchise, Call Of Duty 4. Quake Wars, quite possibly, has the chops to go toe to toe with it. Enemy Territory is more of an experience I'd liken to a skirmish round in Midway's Unreal III what with the multitude of vehicles, hoverpacks and arsenal of ball-busting weaponry that would make even Arnuld blush.
The invasion begins
But if there is one PSN behemoth you have to do combat with it's COD4. Just ask Deano, it's all he has, ever and probably will play when he's at home. And yes, Enemy Territory packs enough muscle to do that.
In an interesting twist for id, and for the Strogg who have stalked the corridors, rooms and distant planet of outer space in previous Quake games, the battle is brought to earth on a global scale. I had the chance to get to grips with it this month and gunned my way through some of the game's maps and the training mode with the team...
One thing was made clear to me by id's Steve Nix before we were all allowed to carve up the training map and blow up alien scum: Enemy Territory is all about objectives and achieving them as a team of 16 players. The story is simple. Extra terrestrial nasties the Strogg are invading planet Earth and the EDF (Earth Defence Force) need to fend the savage buggers off. You can choose to play on each of the twelve maps as either the human led EDF or the Strogg.
Playing as both has its advantages. but, personally, I really dug playing as the invading alien race for the cracking selection of vehicles, robot walkers and jet packs on offer as the Strogg.
Each side has five different types of troops for you to get to grips with, all of which will be essential in mastering if you really want to storm each map and complete every objective with style.
First up for the GDC are the Soldiers, with a thing for heavy weapons. Next is Field Ops, these guys can deploy fire-support guns in battle and designate targets for each along with the means to call in airstrikes and supply troops with ammo. Third is the Engineer, a support/defence class specialising in construction and repair of vehicles and turrets.
Lastly is Covert Ops for those stealthier objectives like hacking computer mainframes and Medics for fixing up downed troops. The Strogg forces are broken down in pretty much the same way, but with cooler-sounding names (Aggressor, Oppressor, Constructor, Infiltrator and Technician) and their own unique attributes on the battlefield - like the Infiltrator's ability to possess the corpse of a fallen GDF and infiltrate enemy buildings.
Each map you brawl on is strewn with multiple objectives that require you to use pretty much all of your team at certain points in the battle. Of course, you can just ignore this, let someone else complete the objectives and go crazy with a shotgun.