The 80s was all about ultra violent entertainment. Movies like Robocop and Nightmare on Elmstreet had more carnage than a slaughter house. Video games were not safe neither. In particular, the arcade game Narc had you and your friends shooting rockets at drug dealers and cute little dogs while needles were being thrown at you. Into the 90s welcomed games like Mortal Kombat and Doom, which was blamed for the Columbine Massacre. And so it should not have been a surprise when a came called Operation Body Count was released in 1994.
As you may have guessed, you progress through the game by how many people you kill, and then move on to the next floor of the building. So you do not have to kill everyone in area, or even find another exit. You can progress to the next level by leaving the same way you came, as long as you kill enough enemies. And by are there enemies. There are so many people trying to kill you that the bodies literally pile up. So believe me, Operation Body Count has the violence through the roof. You can pick up a flame thrower and barbecue everyone in the room. There is also a grenade launcher, which I would call more like a rocket launcher. What is interesting about this weapon is that it will literally destroy the environment, subtracting walls. Enemies would sometimes be intentionally facing away from you, sitting on a bench or facing the wall. The intention, obviously, was to take the pleasure of shooting them from behind.
What is most interesting about this game is how it was made from a modified version of the Wolfenstein 3D game engine. A lot was modified and changed. There was now ceiling tiles and carpeted floors, dynamic environments like breaking glass, and even the ability to turn the power on or off with a switch, which would brighten or darken the environment. There was also the ability to switch between allies, who were also roaming the building killing people. There would be bad guys lying on the floor, pretending to be dead but would pop up as you approached them. Land mines and booby-trapped bodies just added to the nauseating violence in Operation Body Count.
The game play itself is ridiculous. The enemies move way too fast and kill you even faster. And believe me, everything is trying to kill you. From rats to sewer sludge monsters, everything wants you dead. There are robots that crawl on the ceiling and electrocute you. The game aims for a more realistic style as opposed to Wolfenstein 3D, which had cartoon graphics and violence. Operation Body Count, on the other hand, will have you using all of your ammo while standing in a room and letting countless bad guys find you. Going floor to floor in this game is torture, as many of the levels are practically identical and are hard to distinguish. The ending of the game is a gigantic disappointment. After grudgingly working your way through 40 levels of shooting people to no end, you kill the last boss just to see a graphic on the screen that says Victory. Such a lack of reward for murdering so many people makes you feel like garbage.
Operation Body Count is the perfect example of a game that could have gone so much farther with better design. The concept of the game, which is to kill terrorists and save people at the top floor of the building, was cool and fun. The realistic look and weapons was fun as well. Even the violence and innovation was great. Lighting people on fire has never been so much fun. Blowing holes in walls to enter the next room using the grenade launcher was amazing and innovative. The thing that ruined this game, in my opinion, was the repetitiveness. 40 levels of maze like building floors just to kill people is torture and not fun. But it is hard to deny all of the innovation and seeing such a primitive game engine having such realistic graphics for its time period.