Charter Member of the Sub-Media

May 26, 2004

Jagged Alliance 2 and the FN-FAL « Stuff Important to Me »

This has been a part of my life for so long now, I can't believe I haven't really blogged about it before.

I absolutely love this game.

I picked up the original Jagged Alliance game for $5 in a bargain bin. It was an interesting turn-based strategy game revolving around mercenaries you hire for missions. It was heavily scripted...but you could choose whatever characters you wanted to hire from a list of about 30. Each one had a personality, and that could actually affect how things went in the game. It was a blast...but one of my kids in my church youth group saw the box, asked me show him how it worked, and then would come over to play it before our meetings sometimes. I ended up giving him the game after I finished. I wish I had it back, now....

But I ran across Jagged Alliance 2 a few years later, again in the bargain bin. I immediately purchased it, and started playing. It was still turn-based, still strategy, still revolving around mercanaries you hire for a campaign of missions...but it was more open-ended, less scripted. They hired a butt-load of voice actors to do all the voices (because you still have about 30 mercs to choose from, plus all the characters you encounter in the game), and one of the fascinating extras about the game is trying to figure out which characters are possibly done by the same actors. Some actors seem to only do one, but most do at least 3-4.

The game has attracted a strong cult following. You can do some reading about it here and here.

This is virtually the only computer game I've played for the last two years, including all three major deployments (and three minor ones). I can't begin to guess how many hours I've spent playing the game, and I'd be embarassed to estimate. Probably something less than most people spend watching TV and movies, perhaps (which I rarely do, other than NFL football). It's captured my imagination, but it also really challenges the mind, because the strategy is quite complex.

I've never finished the game, although I've restarted at least 6 times. Each time I play it better. I have my best characters picked out, and I've really refined my tactics. When I first started playing, I would save before each move, and if I got whacked, I would reload. Then I tried "Iron Man" mode, in which you cannot save during combat, making it more dangerous...but if a battle ever went too disastrous, I could still reload from the last point before the battle, heh. This time I'm not using "Iron Man" mode, but still saving far less often, and if a bad result happens, I take it. Extreme disasters are still not accepted, though, but what can I say? I like the characters too much to let them die...

I know most of the phrases they use at the various points of the game, and can often quote them with a fairly accurate impression, even down to the accent.

But the most interesting part of all this? That game probably had the greatest impact on my finally deciding to purchase rifles. It's probably also why I'm more into military rifles than civilian hunting rifles.

I'd always wanted to get into guns. I supported the Second Amendment, after I thought about it a little.

One of the best guns in the game is the FN-FAL, mainly because of damage, range, and speed of use. The AK-74 is faster, but weaker on range and damage. The Steyr AUG has slightly better range, but weaker on damage and slower. The M-14 is only a hair better in damage, and significantly shorter range and as slow as the AUG.

So I had to buy an FN-FAL eventually, right?

Well, the more I learn about rifles, the more I realize the game designers were kinda full o' crap. The FN-FAL is a good, reliable rifle...but it doesn't have a longer range than the M-14, since the bullet is exactly the same. The only other way to say it has a better range is if the bullets can go equally as far, but the rifle itself is more accurate, so it is effective to a longer range...except that my research on the FAL says that its sights I doubt it can outdo an M-14 at all.

More soon...

Posted by Nathan at 01:47 PM | Comments (1)

Hey, Nathan.

I, too, am a huge Jagged Alliance 2 fan. I've been playing the game almost since it came out. I love the voice acting also love the strategy. There's so many ways to accomplish the same thing, but usually there's only one or a few ways that are optimal.

As for the guns, the FN-FAL as my favorite in-game weapon, hands-down. It has great power, range, and speed. I usually deck it out with a rod&spring, laser, sniper scope, and either a barrel extender or bipod.

As for relating to the real-life FN-FAL, I have never fired one myself. However, I can say it may indeed be more accurate and/or have longer range and/or have more power than the M14 if the barrel length is longer and/or the barrel has a better rifling pattern. With a longer barrel, the bullet is able to pick-up more speed (energy) from the expansion of the power explosion. That's why sniper rifles all have really long barrels. Also, the rigidity of the barrel has a lot to do with it, too. Some guns, like the M16, are intentionally lightened, to give greater mobility. This sacrifices long-range accuracy, since the barrel actually is disorted (bent slightly) when firing. This is why sniper rifles also have very thick (and heavy) barrels.

So, it may be that the in-game FN-FAL has a longer and/or heavier barrel than the in-game M-14 does. The in-game FN-FAL is a heavy weapon for sure. Ira, for instance, has a difficult time carrying that gun with all her other stuff. I usually give her a lighter-weight and ammo 5.56mm gun, like the Steyr AUG.

Also, the deficiency of the sights can be corrected with a scope.

Anyways, I'm glad you enjoy JA2. It is indeed a great game.

Posted by: DaveWhite at August 19, 2005 12:23 PM
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