Where the game really comes alive is in its choice of sequences. The current release offers ten attack operations, including "Gaza Missile Factory," "Terror on Route 77-A," "Holy Sepulchre Hole-up," and the most challenging "Raid on Jenin." Each sequence increases in complexity, and although a commando unit's capabilities and prestige points increase with each successful mission, previous achievements are no guarantee of future success. This is a thinking-man's war-game, and a player's careful and brow-furrowing preparation are likely to be rewarded.
In each operation, the goal is to "eliminate terrorists before they strike," and to minimize "collateral damage." And here is where the game's exquisite detail is the player's best friend and worst enemy. Each sequence is set against the stunning backdrop of the Holy Land and contains characters from all walks of Israeli life: secular and Haredi, Kibbutznik and Moshavnik, Arab fruit-seller and Christian fundamentalist, Chinese restaurateur and Romanian construction worker, and each with their own collateral damage point-values. Accidentally incinerate a loitering Arab teenager or Belgian peace-protester, and your game can continue with minimal effect, but fail to defend a visiting "friendship mission" from Shaker Heights and you might as well hit Reset.
The stealth rollout of the game has dodged the public outrage that was expected to greet its release, but a war of words has been gathering steam on the Internet. A website run by Friends of Palestine (FOP) claims that Anti-Fada Paratrooper is "racist in its content, Nazi-like in its propaganda, and may be in violation of several UN Security Council resolutions." Another Arab support group, Citizens United Now and Tomorrow, claims that the game "provides yet more evidence of the Jews' insidious efforts to control the world media." On the other side, the United Jewish Appeal website defends the game as "a realistic rendition of Israel's position on the front lines of the war against Arab terror."
Soon the battle for space will relocate from the olive groves of the Jordan Valley to the shelves of Wal-Mart, as the Arabs hit back with a game of their own, a Hizbullah-backed shoot-'em-up translated as "Special Force." But will the American market embrace a game that allows the player to "conduct real-time martyrdom simulations"? Time will tell. "Special Force" did score a notable victory last week as Carrefour, the French hypermarket chain, signed an exclusive distribution deal for the European market.
CEO Golan waves off the politics, more worried about the counterfeit copies of A-F P that are starting to pop up on the streets of Hong Kong and Bangkok. He is effusive about the 2004 release, which apparently will include ten new anti-terror modules including sequences at an East African beach resort and a trance disco in Goa. And it's not just the Anti-Fada Paratrooper itself that's going global. GGL has purportedly concluded a co-development agreement with the Indians for the 2004 release Kashmir Commando.
Next month: Suburban Crack Whore
Born and raised in San Pedro, CA, Michael Kuratin studied Political
Science at Berkeley, where he also loitered frequently around the Creative
Writing department. Now working as a foreign affairs analyst by day,
Michael also writes essays, fiction and poetry on such varied subjects as Basque history, Hieronymous Bosch and modern-day maritime piracy. His literary influences include Jorge Luis Borges, Richard Brautigan and James Joyce.
Zeek in Print
Spring 03 issue available here
Shtupping in the Shadow
of the Bomb
The Mall Balloon-Man Moment of the Spirit
Beats, Rhymes & Nigguns
Matthue Roth & Juez
Susan H. Case
Josh Gets his Checkup
The Ritual of Family Photography