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3/21/2004: Return to Castle Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory [>> Go]

    Enemy Territory is a completely free multiplayer first-person-shooter computer game along the lines of Quake 3, Unreal Tournament, Battlefield 1942, etc. Enemy Territory was originally going to be an add-on to Return to Castle Wolfenstein (which is not free), but the developer instead decided to release it as its own free game, rather than making it available only to people who already purchased RTCW. This was very cool for the developers to do, because it means that you can play a game with RTCW-like graphics and gameplay without paying a dime.

    To download Enemy Territory, go to the official Return to Castle Wolfenstein Web site and click on the link for "Enemy Territory". That will list some locations where you can download the game (all 250+ MBs). Install it, configure it, and you're on your way.

    Enemy Territory is a first-person shooter based in World War II. You play as a soldier for either the Allied or Axis teams. When you join a game, you can choose from 5 different classifications of soldier you'd like to play as - a gun-toting footsoldier, a medic, a covert-ops specialist, a field-ops specialist, or an engineer. Each class has special abilities or duties that you can exploit to help your team progress. For example, a Medic can drop health packs for teammates, and an Engineer can diffuse bombs. Teams will fare better with a good mix of classes on the team, so when you join a game, you can see what classes the other players are using and pick one you think would be helpful (there can be more than one of each type, so if there's already a Medic, you can also choose to be a Medic). There are a couple of different types of games, including all-out deathmatch (kill everything you see and avoid being killed), last-man-standing (similar, but the round ends when only one person is left alive), and objective games (one side or the other has certain objectives to complete, such as bomb a certain location, in order to win the round). This makes it a little harder to get up-to-speed on than other online shooter games like Unreal Tournament or Half-Life:Counter-Strike, but there's a good primer on the whole game at Planet Wolfenstein (and the documentation that is installed with the game is also very good).

    As with most online games, a high-speed Internet connection (DSL/Cable) is very helpful, though not absolutely required. If you must play by modem, try to find servers which cater to such players - it can be pretty frustrating to play over a modem with other non-modem players.

    If you like this type of game (the "first-person shooter" genre), Enemy Territory is a fun and free alternative (or addition) to what's already out there. It won't run on really old hardware (it just barely works on my 5-year-old 500mHz P3 box), but if you've got anything newer than that, Enemy Territory's a good game to have on hand for an occasional shoot-em-up break.

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