PC REVIEW: JFK RELOADED

Released November 22, 2004, on the 41st anniversary of the JFK assassination, JFK Reloaded is a simulated look at events that took place in Dallas which will forever live in infamy.

President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed while riding in a presidential motorcade that day in 1963. A former Marine, Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the murder. He allegedly used only three bullets fired from an old, bolt action rifle while shooting from the sixth floor of a building located directly on the path of the motorcade route.

No one had actually seen Oswald pull the trigger and there are many doubts as to how he could have accomplished such a task since investigators believe that there is too much evidence to suggest that he was not the only shooter. We may never find the answer since he was shot by Jack Ruby before he could stand trial. The Warren Commission investigated and declared that Oswald was the only person guilty of the crime. Recent studies of the Zapruder film have resulted in numerous conspiracy theories.

Before I go any further I want to make something perfectly clear. There is a fine line drawn with a game such as this. While it does state that it is an interactive documentary of sorts, there can be no argument that you are taking part in a simulated terrorist act to murder a President of the United States - and one of the most beloved at that. The fact that this is JFK makes all the difference in the world to those that may not be able to appreciate the objective of this game. It's intended purpose is to examine the events of the shooting to show you how difficult it would have been for one man to shoot and kill the president under such circumstances - with only three bullets from a single vantage point with antiquated equipment. Is this a justification smokescreen? I will admit that the game raises some interesting points, no more "despicable" than Oswald's defense would have raised if he lived long enough to be tried.

If it's any consolation, this game doesn't make it "fun" to kill JFK. It takes the concept very seriously, letting you test various theories. Sure, it could have used virtual dummies or bots in place of realistic renderings of the actual people involved but the developers were striving for realism.

JFK Reloaded is a very short game. It can only be purchased and downloaded off the net from developers, Traffic. Can you imagine if this game were available at Wal-Mart?

Playing as Oswald, you must kill the president and wound Governor Connolly as they pass by you on the way to the tunnel using only three bullets. You can only use the same equipment that Oswald had access to. When you consider how high up he was and that the shots came within a few seconds of each other, the lone gunman theory may be convenient but it may not be realistic. You have unlimited time to practice your routine but when you're ready to perform, you only have 10 times to get it right. Your score will be recorded on the JFK Reloaded website where the best score could take home a possible $100,000.

From your vantage point you can see the motorcade approach you head on. You can fire at any time and hit anyone on the street including agents, cops and civilians but to play the game as intended you must recreate the scenario exactly. That means waiting until the president's bullet-proof limo turns left toward the tunnel before you fire. If any bullet ricochets and hits a civilian you will lose points. If you fail to reload, aim and fire within the allotted time you also lose points. If you don't hit your target you lose points. If you use more than one bullet you lose points. This is a very difficult simulation.

Graphically the game looks very realistic. It's well detailed and highly polished. All the angles are perfect and everything is well lit up on what was a beautiful, sunny Texas day. Even the Zapruder film has been has been painstakingly recreated, perhaps a little more graphically than the original. You can view your evil deed from various camera angles, one of which you can place anywhere. When you start firing, the crowd goes crazy. When the president is killed it's a very emotional moment. It's here where the sound of the game takes over from the visuals as you can hear the screams of the crowd while the police and secret service agents scramble to take care of matters. I must admit that Traffic has really done its homework in recreating the events of that fateful day.

JFK Reloaded isn't really a game. It's not a shooter in the action/adventure vein. It's a very intense discipline and not just an excuse to shoot a president. Regardless of your stance on this issue, one cannot deny the fact that the developers did a remarkable job in accomplishing their goal of creating the world's first interactive reconstruction of John F. Kennedy's assassination.

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System: PC
Dev: Traffic
Pub: Traffic
Release: Nov 2004
Players: 1
Review by Dan
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
3.5
VALUE
2.0