At the end of last year, things started to look up for the Dreamcast-owning shooter fanatic. We finally got Quake III Arena and a bunch of strategy shooters, as well as being promised Unreal Tournament and Half-Life in the first quarter of the New Year. While it looks like the aforementioned titles will be released in the next couple of months, news about one of the proposed shooters has all but dried up. Oh Soldier of Fortune, where art thou?

Soldier of Fortune would have represented a first on the Dreamcast. Sure, there are plenty of violent games available for our console, but the violence in Soldier of Fortune is different, because it is extremely realistic and over-the-top. Your enemies look like living, breathing humans, and the damage that occurs when you put a bullet through one of them brings that reality home. Shoot people point-blank in the head with a shotgun and their faces will dematerialize in a spray of crimson, leaving jagged stumps where their ugly mugs used to be. Use a belt-driven machine gun to saw an opponent’s leg off, and you can then choose to shoot that severed leg in half out of spite as your enemy hops around on the leg you spared. Ghoul technology made it possible for every character in Soldier of Fortune to have over 30 damage areas — each one doing a specific amount of damage to the target (unlike Quake or Unreal, in which a head shot is no more damaging than a leg shot) and causing a different reaction or death animation.

There is a story behind the game, something about an escalating environment of terrorism and crack, gun-for-hire John Mullins being the only man capable of cleaning it up. But what really makes Soldier of Fortune such a fun game — and such a worthy addition to the Dreamcast library — is the Deathmatch. Though it was never confirmed whether or not Crave would make SOF SegaNet compatible, our saliva glands were stimulated by the very thought of bringing that level of carnage to the Dreamcast.

So What Happened?
Over the past few months, we at Sega Radar have continuously attempted to mine any information we could find about SOF. Why? Because we think it’s one hell of a game, and could just be the title the Dreamcast needs to appeal to the violence-loving older market it has had some trouble capturing. Unfortunately, the information we found was vague at best. The game seems to be perpetually moving backwards and, despite our attempts, we have yet to even see a screenshot of the Dreamcast version.

We called Crave’s PR firm this morning to ask about Soldier of Fortune. They told us that the game will definitely be released this year, but were unable to give us any more details. Hopefully this story will have a happy ending, but in this weird period of the Dreamcast’s history, nothing is guaranteed.

This Just In! Seconds before press time we finally heard back from Crave’s PR firm that Soldier of Fortune will be shipping in April and that we should be seeing the first screenshots sometime next week (the ones below are from the PC version).