Charleston, West Virginia: The Sum of All Fears is a tactical first-person shooter developed by Red Storm Entertainment and released in May 2002. Contrary to misinformation on the internet that purports the game to be similar in style to the Rainbow Six series of games, it most certainly is not.
Anyone that has ever played SOAF knows the game is built using the original Ghost Recon framework, and plays much the same as OGR, except the engagements are small unit tactical efforts on smaller, often indoor maps. The entire game engine is OGR based and all menus, controls and various other aspects of the game are definitely drawn from Ghost Recon.
The campaign that I am starting is set to hard difficulty, with the Special Forces Options of 1) no in-game saves, 2) fail on team casualties and 3) no support teams selected. These extra filtering options at the campaign outset take the hard setting to an entirely new level. The use of specific kit items such as heartbeat sensors and flash bangs is a necessity given the tight corners in this game.
Mission one for the FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) is to storm a television station in Charleston, West Virginia that has been taken over by a radical domestic terrorist group known as the “Mountain Men”. The mission is completely pre-planned out for you, including the route you have to take to get to the objectives: 1) Disarm the security system, 2) Cut the satellite feed, 3) Rescue the hostages and 4) No team casualties (which is now a requirement to pass as it was selected in the Special Forces Options described earlier).
In terms of all of the tactical first-person shooters I have played over the years, the objectives set forth in this mission as realistic, in a logical sequence and match the story provided, albeit they could have come up with a better name than “Mountain Men”. The crew I am rolling with is Scott Lewis, Ann Simpson and John Hurley. There are three kits to choose from: 1) HRT Stealth, 2) HRT Assault and 3) HRT Breach.
I take the default kit on the mission, which includes a 9mm SMG SD, a 9mm Pistol SD, four flash bangs and a heartbeat sensor (HBS here on out). The 12 total flash bangs among the three-person element is what will make or break the game, as there is some variety in what goes down once inside the building although it is otherwise a very heavily scripted affair.
Your team starts out in a garage outside of WWAK Channel 8. From there proceed to the door following the map route drawn out for you on the tactical mini-map (TMM). If you go to the door on the left you won’t be allowed to enter and will receive a message to find another route. If you break to the right and loop all the way around to the front of the building, the tangos will see you through glass doors and you will be shot trying to enter a door that will not open anyway.
Once inside the alcove of the building, bring up your HBS and examine the TMM (default control press the Tab key to make it full screen and use the =/- keys to zoom in and out, and the mouse movement to turn it around in any direction). There is a tango directly across from the door facing it, one to the right that is crouched and will not move and one patrolling that room and the adjacent hallway that may or may not engage you immediately.
Open the door and eliminate the first tango facing the door. If he yells out, the patrolling tango will eventually move to the alcove you are in and you can kill him there (a quick tap of the Tab key will show this). If he is coming, just wait and pop him. However if you kill the first tango before he has a chance to yell, the patrolling tango will most likely not come to the alcove (which is what happened in my play through).
In either case, the tango crouching to the right is a problem, and here is where you toss a flash bang into the room on a short throw, turn to the right to look away and move in for the kill after it goes off. It will stun the enemy for at least two to three seconds which is more than enough time to move in and fire. Proceed to the door and if the patrolling tango is still up, take him out.
There is tango in the adjacent hallway that may enter the room to investigate, so wait for a moment to pop him if he enters the room, otherwise move out and take him down. Once in the hallway, there is a conference room to the right that has a tango in it facing the window, so rush it and fire before he has a chance to acquire you. It is best to do this on your own as the AI seems to have an issue targeting through glass, broken or not.
Once that threat is eliminated, move halfway down the hall and bring up your HBS and examine the TMM. There should be a tango on a right-left break, with a clear line of sight. I have found it best to rush this tango and put him down with a three round burst. Move up to the door and use the HBS and TMM again to examine the situation.
This room is the front entrance to the building, where I mentioned earlier that if you went around that way you would just be shot up. Plus to add insult to injury, there are two NPC policemen out there not doing dick, just chewing the fat. That’s West Virginia for you (hey, I am from there, so STFU).
There should be two tangos in this room, one slightly off-center left facing the door, and the other far left behind the computer workstation. This is an area where you should be able to depend on your AI team members to lend a hand. Press the CTRL key to bring up the Command Map, and then order them to flash bang. They will do a rudimentary job of stacking up, opening and tossing the grenade, waiting for the explosion and then moving in to clear the area.
Move in with them just behind and provide supporting fire to the left, which is usually the trickier tango to take down. Once the threats are gone, move to the workstation and press the space bar to perform the required action once you are standing inside the white square on the TMM. At this point you should have disabled the security system and received the objective complete message.
Depending on how much ruckus you caused with this event, the tango in the room behind the room you cleared may come out to investigate, so focus on the door and eliminate him if he comes through. If he comes out, there may be another threat that moves into the room from the door to the left once inside that room. If he does not come out, use the HBS and TMM to evaluate the situation, then toss a flash bang yourself and move in for the kill (this is not a good room for the AI to stack up on and clear).
Once inside the room move left to the wall just behind the door, and use the HBS and TMM. There are two tangos in this room, one right center facing the door and another just to the left, crouching in between the cubicles. Standoff of the door and open it, using the frame to block the tango from the left from seeing you and take down the tango to the right.
Here you do not need a flash bang, as the tango on the left usually stays crouched. Slowly pie-cut in and shoot the top of his head sticking out over the cubicle walls or move to the side and hit him in the shoulder. Either way, this should be an easy kill as long as he does not stand up and rush you. Once that is done, it is clear sailing along the indicated path all the way up to the next floor where you will halt at the corner and do the HBS/TMM dance to evaluate the next engagement.
There should be two tangos in the next room after a right-left wall break. You can rush the first enemy and kill him fairly easily, however the second one is a bit tougher in that he is at the end of the cube wall up against the door in most cases, and you need a tight shot to put him down.
HBS/TMM the next hallway, move in and take out the tango that is patrolling up and down. Time it to where he has just turned around, open the door and move in to bust an HRT cap in his hillbilly ass. Once he is down, there is a tango in a control room to the right, and another to the left in your hallway. Take both of them out and hustle up the stairs.
At the top of the stairs leading to the roof, the door opens into a small alcove area with a medium length hallway breaking to your sharp left. There is a tango there in most cases to dispatch. Once he is down, you can move out onto the roof and use the perform action control on the power box to cut the satellite feed and complete the second objective of the mission.
Equip the HBS and monitor the TMM as you follow the route to the final primary objective of the mission, the rescue of the hostages. Stop at the first corner where you get a hit on the HBS, which should be a break left with a tango patrolling up and down the hallway, and two others both of which are in enclosed rooms.
Take the lead and drop the patrolling enemy with a three round burst. Move to the door to the right, open it and drop the sucker standing in there (it is a bit dark to see so you might want to equip the night vision goggles by pressing the V key). Once that threat is gone, follow the route to the door leading to the final objective white box on the TMM.
There will be a tango in this control room that you will have to kill once you open the door. Be careful not to rush in past the glass window to the right. This is where you will essentially use the control room as a platform to view the hostages and tangos below on the TV set. You will need to engage and eliminate the enemy from this location.
Make sure you weapons are reloaded and that your team is set to follow you and assault (use the CTRL key to bring up the Command Map to verify these settings). Once you are all set to rock and roll banjo style on these rednecks, rush to the middle of the glass window, turn to your right and aim down into the pit.
Take out any tangos near the hostages (all on their knees) by shooting anyone else that is standing. Then eliminate the guards that are behind the two TV cameras, left and right. This needs to be done in quick order, so if you are playing on hard setting with the Special Forces Objectives all selected, you cannot save the mission and retry from this point.
Make sure you are fully loaded and your team is ready to move with you. The last thing that you want to do here is to rush the window by yourself with three rounds left in your magazine.