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America and Russia may never have been the best of friends, but few of us would have expected a full scale invasion of America by the Soviets last decade. In the world of Freedom Fighters, however, history took a few different turns. Bolstered by their swift victory over the Germans in World War 2, thanks to their development of the atomic bomb, the USSR quickly goes on to dominate Europe. Using their influence to help other communist countries around the world, it’s not long before the reds turn their attention to the USA, and a full-scale invasion begins. Playing as plumber Christoper Stone, your dreams of being in a game about rescuing princesses are quickly shattered, as you realize that you must now lead a rag-tag band of resistance fighters against the might of the CCCP. Well received by players and critics alike upon release, Freedom Fighters has faded a little into obscurity over the years. A sequel was promised back in 2004 but never appeared and many gamers believe, based on the quality of the first game, that this was a missed opportunity to create a bigger franchise.
Freedom Fighters will install without any issues on modern PC’s. Simply insert the CD into your optical drive and follow all the on-screen prompts. If the games installation utility does not start automatically, open Windows Explorer (or File Explorer on Windows 8) and explore the contents of the CD. Locate the Autorun.exe file and run it manually.
Once the game is installed, you’re almost ready to play, there aren’t even any patches to install.
Tweaking visual quality
Before starting the game, you will want to choose a screen resolution. To change the games resolution, insert the Freedom Fighters CD again and wait for the menu to appear. If it does not, open Windows Explorer (or File Explorer on Windows 8) and explore the contents of the CD. Locate the Autorun.exe file and run it manually. From the options now presented to you on the menu, choose “CONFIGURE”. This will then open a window allowing you to choose a screen resolution. Keep in mind that Freedom Fighters was designed as a non-widescreen (4:3) aspect ratio game and by choosing a widescreen resolution, you may make the graphics appear out of proportion. In practice, the game copes well with widescreen screen modes, the cut-scenes are heavily letterboxed but the main game appears just fine.
Once you have configured the screen resolution, start the game. From the games main menu, choose Options and then Graphic. You will now be able to tweak several other sliding controls that affect the games visual quality. On a modern PC you can turn all of these slider controls all the way to the right, with the exception of the Gamma Correction option. Gamma correction controls how bright the image is and should only be adjusted if you find the graphics too dark.
Freedom Fighters uses the now depreciated Direct Sound hardware acceleration features. This means that, in all versions of Windows from Vista onwards, you will only be able to hear basic stereo sound on many PC’s. If you have a Creative Labs EAX sound card, you can use the Creative ALchemy software to restore surround sound to the game. Doing this is really easy, simply start the ALchemy tool and the Freedom Fighters game should be detected automatically. Select it in the list of Installed games and then click on the arrow pointing right, this will activate the ALchemy drivers for the game and restore full surround sound.
Despite being a 3rd person perspective game, Freedom Fighters has no support for game controllers whatsoever. If you want to play with a game controller, our old friend Xpadder can come to the rescue. Although this works pretty well, remember that the game has no aim-assist, so lining up shots with the sniper rifle can be difficult without the accuracy of the mouse. Nevertheless, if you prefer to game from the comfort of your sofa, here’s our Xpadder profile for the game:-
For movement, we used Xpadders Distance Zone feature. Since Chris will walk if the shift key is pressed down, but run otherwise, we configured the left analogue stick so that the shift key was sent along with the directional key unless the stick was pushed 75% of the way down or more. For a more detailed explanation of distance zones, check out our Youtube video here. You can also click this stick to toggle crouching.
The d-pad has a few functions. The up and down on the d-pad is mapped to mouse wheel up and down, allowing you to cycle through your weapons. Left and right issue commands to your fellow freedom fighters.
The right analogue stick is mapped to mouse controls, allowing you to look around the environment.
The left trigger zooms in with a weapon, while the right trigger fires your weapon. The start button will open the pause menu. On the gamepad’s main buttons, A is jump, B is punch/close attack and X is use item or recruit fighter.
Finally, pressing Select will open your map, and right shoulder will tell your troops to follow you.
We played the games opening with this configuration and it seemed pretty comfortable. The only time we had any complaints was when trying to line up a shot on a moving helicopter, but that wouldn’t have been the easiest shot to pull off even with the added accuracy of a mouse.
Screen/graphical tearing during play:- If you experience screen tearing while playing the game, use the control panel software that shipped with your graphics card (e.g the Nvidia control panel) and force vertical sync on for the game.