Boiling Point: Road to Hell

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Boiling Point: Road to Hell
BPR2H - Cover.jpg
PC Boxart
Release Date: 2005
Developer: Deep Shadows
Publisher: ATARI
Series: Xenus
Platforms: PC
Genre: First-Person Shooter


Contents

Overview

A free-roaming first person shooter set in the fictional South American country of Realia (though occasionally referred to as Bolivia in the in-game text), where the player character Saul Myers, a French Foreign Legionnaire and modelled after Arnold Vosloo, heads after his daughter, an investigative journalist, is kidnapped there. There he must cajole, befriend, bribe, intimidate, burglarize, and fight his way through the various factions struggling for power as he searches for clues to the whereabouts of his daughter. With overworked and underpaid government troops, Marxist guerrilla fighters, ruthless drug lords, predatory bandits, aboriginal tribesmen, and CIA agents all wanting his help or a bullet in his head, Saul's mission won't be easy.

Like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl which was developed in the same country, this game had Maxim R. Popenker of world.guns.ru as its "virtual armourer." Like its more contemporary genre-mate, Far Cry 2, this game has factions on a seamless 25 km x 25 km map who wage war on each other all across the landscape. Unlike the aforementioned title, however, doing missions for one faction will make NPCs of that faction initially friendly to Saul, and there are methods of "making nice" with opposing factions, either by paying enormous bribes or by killing that faction's enemies. Furthermore, thanks to the weapons skill system in the game, weapons will behave differently depending on how skilled Saul is with that particular weapon class--low skill will result in high recoil, muzzle climb, and crosshair sway when looking through a weapon's scope, while high skill in a weapon class will lower all three of those characteristics, for weapons of that class.

The weapons in this title are upgradeable, and most have realistic magazine capacities. The selection and usable ammo types for each, however, are not quite as realistic, one of the most common being silent ammunition for weapons without suppressors. Every firearm has a condition meter which will degrade over time, becoming increasingly prone to misfiring as their condition degrades. Thankfully, this degradation happens at a realistic (i.e., slow) rate. Weapons that misfire only require another pull of the trigger to try again, but at higher rates of wear, misfires can become very frequent. As a final note, guns looted off dead NPCs almost always are in poor condition so as to force the player to buy fresh ones or pay through the nose for very expensive repair kits (and if that weren't enough, service fees for actually putting upgrades to weapons and/or repairing them aren't included, unless you want to take a chance with Saul's less-than-stellar technical skills).

Handguns

Colt Anaconda

The most abundant handgun in all of Realia, the Colt Anaconda is found firmly jammed "Mexican-style" in the pants of almost every Bandit in-game, and is also used by many male civilian NPCs in the game (the latter are very quick to use them to kill Saul if they see or hear him using violence). Simply labelled the "Revolver" in-game and chambered for .44 Magnum ammunition, possessing black rubber grips and a nickel finish with a six-shot cylinder capacity, it is slower to fire, takes up more inventory space, and has less bullet capacity than the Desert Eagle the player character starts out with. Fans of Dirty Harry will be disappointed at this weapon's strangely weak stopping power in this game, as it normally takes 6 or more hits to kill an opponent.

For obvious reasons its bullet capacity cannot be upgraded (though its firing rate and reload time can be, two things that are purely a function of the shooter's skill and not dependent on a double action revolver's customization in real life), and it suffers from various graphical gaffes, detailed below. No other types of handguns are used by the civilians, which is odd given the popularity and prevalence of products from native South American firearms manufacturers, such as Taurus International.

Colt Anaconda with 6" barrel - .44 Magnum
"Check weapon with me before enter, Yankee cowboy."
"Hey, I'm French, not American, cuca."
"You gringos all same - no check weapon, NO ENTRAR, hijo de puta!"
A Bandit brandishing a Colt Anaconda. Due to a graphical error, the front end of the barrel is missing a texture and is thus invisible.
Despite this game having well-rendered weapons for its time, the Colt Anaconda is a pile of animation errors in this title. Saul does not use a speedloader or moon clip to load new rounds into the cylinders, erroneously swings instead of gently pushing the cylinder shut, and the revolver even has casings eject from the gun. One errant piece of brass can be seen in the lower right hand corner of this screenshot.
The Colt Anaconda in a developer's promo image.

Desert Eagle

The very first firearm available in the game, the Desert Eagle is simply referred to as "Pistol," is Saul Myer's personal sidearm, and is available from the start of a new game (oddly enough for a French Foreign Legionnaire). The only NPCs who use it are the Police Department of Puerto Sombra, something that would never occur in real life. Its initial magazine capacity is 5 rounds which can be upgraded to 10 rounds (however, the game never shows the gun's magazine as extending past the bottom of the grip when the magazine capacity is upgraded). The ingame Desert Eagle is always depicted as having an uncocked hammer, implying that it is capable of double-action operation, but the real Desert Eagle is single-action only which means it can only fire if the hammer is cocked. More concerningly, the safety switch on the game's Desert Eagle is always depicted as set to safe and cannot be switched off.

The exact model of the ingame Desert Eagle appears to be a composite of a few real-life models. While the game claims it is chambered in .50 Action Express, the ingame version does not have the scope rails seen on the real-life Mark XIX model, the most common variant of the handgun chambered in .50 AE. This would imply that it is in fact based on the Mark VII model, but the slide also has a scalloped area just before the safety switch that is also only seen on a Mark XIX model.

Desert Eagle MK XIX - .50 Action Express
A gold-plated Desert Eagle MK XIX chambered in .50 Action Express that also has the scalloped area just before the safety switch, similar to the one in this game.
Enjoying the tranquil beauty of Puerto Sombra's central park, Desert Eagle in hand. The uncocked hammer is clearly visible in this screenshot and never moves in gameplay.
Saul Myers bursts into Don Pedro's office with his Desert Eagle at the ready.
The Desert Eagle in a developer's promo image. The lack of scope rails or a fluted barrel can be seen here.

PSS

The PSS Silent Pistol appears in the game under the "Silenced Pistol" moniker. It is chambered for the unique 7.62x42mm cartridge, has an initial magazine capacity of 5 rounds (upgradeable to 9), and has the shortest effective range of any firearm in the game. No NPCs use it, but the weapon and its upgrades are given out as payment for completing missions offered by the CIA faction. Why an American intelligence agency would hand out a Soviet-issue black ops weapon to a "deniable agent" is never explained in-game. This handgun is also one of the few firearms in this game that can only use one ammunition type, and is erroneously portrayed as a one-hit-kill weapon regardless of hit location or an opponent's body armour, possibly because the game developers assumed the cartridge's relatively long length meant it contained a large amount of smokeless powder, rather than a unique piston mechanism in the casing that allows for virtually noiseless firing without the need for a bulky sound suppressor.

PSS - 7.62x42mm SP-4
The PSS and its generous donor, CIA Agent Johnson.
The PSS in a developer's promo image.

Submachine Guns

Mini UZI

The only submachine gun and the only in-game firearm chambered for 9x19mm ammunition, the Mini Uzi has a magazine capacity of 20 rounds (upgradeable to 32), an unused folding stock, and can be wielded akimbo. No NPCs use this gun, but the weapon and its upgrades are awarded for completing missions for the Bandit faction. Combining two Mini Uzis in your inventory to use them together cannot be undone and destroys any upgrade(s) applied to the guns, so it's purely an option for the "cool factor." Another variant appears on some alternate box art for this game, which features a vertical foregrip but no buttstock.

Mini Uzi SMG with stock folded - 9x19mm
Gunning down cops in Puerto Sombra, favela-style. Using Mini Uzis akimbo reveals that the ingame model does not in fact have an ejection port for empty casings. The left-hand Mini Uzi also never ejects spent casings either.
Two Mini Uzis in a developer's promo image.
Saul Myers with a Mini Uzi on an alternate game cover, sporting a vertical foregrip. This feature is not present on the Mini Uzi in-game but would have been welcome given the gun's extreme muzzle climb if Saul has a low "Automatic Weapons" skill rating.

Shotguns

Remington 870

The sole shotgun in the game, the Remington 870 fires 12 Gauge buckshot shells. It has a wooden buttstock, with an initial magazine capacity is 6 (upgradeable to 10), a bead for a front sight, and no rear sight. This shotgun is used by all three major factions in the game (the Realian Government, the Marxist Guerrillas, and the Drug Lords), including the Black Soldiers, invariably by troopers wearing body armour who guard bases or are part of Search-and-Destroy teams. Like the PSS, this shotgun is restricted to only one ammo type.

While the in-game representation of shotguns in this game is more realistic than usual, in that the dynamic crosshair system dictates where the centre of the buckshot's area of effect might land, rather than the strict area that will be filled with buckshot when the weapon is fired, the weapon suffers from a couple of animation errors, such as working the pump action when the last shell is inserted rather than just when the first is inserted into an empty tube magazine. Saul will also sometimes reload the shotgun with an incorrect number of shells when the weapon's tube magazine capacity is upgraded and completely empty as well.

Remington 870 Marine Magnum - 12 Gauge
Shotguns: every Jungle Warrior's and Tunnel Rat's best friend.
All shotgun-using NPCs in the game. From left to right they are from the Realian government, the Drug Lords, the leftist Guerrillas, and the Black Soldiers. Popularity truly is a mark of success in the firearms world.
The Remington 870 in a developer's promo image.

Assault Rifles

AK-47

The AK-47 appears in the game as the "Assault Rifle," is chambered for 7.62x39mm ammunition, and has an initial magazine capacity of 30 rounds (upgradeable to 40). It is the standard-issue rifle of the leftist Guerrilla faction in-game, who also award the weapon and its upgrades for completing their missions. The AK-47 is also carried by the Black Soldiers encountered in the game's main quests. NPCs who use it always use armour-piercing ammunition that allows penetration of thin barriers. Thanks to its ubiquity, it is also the universal symbol of weapon or ammunition sellers in the game, even in some cases where such selling would be illegal and have to be covert.

Type I AK-47, hybrid stamped/milled receiver with prototype slab sided magazine - 7.62x39mm
Firing at Drug Lord foot soldiers with the AK-47.
A Guerrilla soldier jauntily patrolling the courtyard of his faction's headquarters with an AK-47. The sign above him reads "FAPC," which makes this faction a thinly-veiled pastiche of the real-life FARC.
A signpost at a gas station advertising the buying and selling of weapons and ammunition there. This is strange considering such trading would have to be covert, especially since the gunrunners at gas stations buy and sell drugs and body parts of endangered animal species as well. Identical signposts are also found among the military bases of the three major factions, where Saul can buy and sell weapons and ammunition if his reputation with that specific faction permits.
The AK-47 in a developer's promo image.

FAMAS-F1

The standard service rifle of the French Forces (and presumably Saul Myer's service weapon in the French Foreign Legion), the FAMAS in this game is erroneously nicknamed the "Battle Rifle" (when in fact its cartridge makes it an assault rifle). The FAMAS is chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO, and has an initial magazine capacity of 20 rounds (upgradeable to 30). No NPCs use this weapon or award upgrades for it, though one is given to Saul in a mission for the Bandit faction. This assault rifle is also the fastest-firing of its class in the game, which makes it harder to conserve ammunition with.

The ingame version of the FAMAS is capable of using the same 5.56x45mm ammo types used by every other ingame gun in that caliber, which is unrealistic since the FAMAS uses lever-delayed blowback operation (as opposed to the more conventional gas operation used by the majority of assault rifles) to cycle its action, necessitating steel-cased 5.56mm ammunition to contain the increased pressure. Unless every 5.56mm NATO round in the game's setting had was steel-cased, a FAMAS-F1 could not realistically be expected to reliably function, as conventional 5.56mm ammunition uses a comparatively-weaker brass casing that cannot hold up to the pressures exerted by the FAMAS' action.

FAMAS-F1, 5.56x45mm NATO
Reloading the FAMAS shows the pistol grip and small trigger guard, identifying the rifle as the F1 model.
Saul Myers showing some invading thugs how much of a "cheese-eating surrender monkey" he isn't.

IMBEL MD-3

A Brazilian-made assault rifle variant of the FN FAL, this firearm is simply called the "Combat Rifle" in-game, is chambered for 5.56x45 mm NATO, has a 20 round initial magazine capacity (upgradeable to 30), has a fixed polymer stock (identifying it as the MD-3 model), and is the standard-issue firearm for the Realian Drug Lords and their hordes of thugs. While the cheapest of its class in the game to buy and upgrade, it also has the lowest effective range even when maximally upgraded.

IMBEL MD-3 - 5.56x45mm NATO
Massacring meddlesome morons from the CIA with the IMBEL MD-3.
A Narco-thug firing away with his IMBEL MD-3 at one of the game's many, many roadside battles.
The IMBEL MD-3 in a developer's promo image.

M16A1

The M16A1 assault rifle appears in the game under the assumed name "Infantry Rifle," chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO, with a 20 round initial magazine capacity (upgradeable to 30). It is the standard-issue weapon of the Realian military, and upgrades for the rifle are awarded for completing missions for commanding officers at military bases.

M16A1 with 30 Round magazine - 5.56x45mm
Saul getting Vietnam vibes while gunning down communist guerrillas in their Realian jungle bases.
A Realian soldier with an M16A1.
The M16A1 in a developer's promo image.

Steyr Aug

The Steyr AUG appears in the game under the name "Assault Carbine," has a thirty round initial magazine capacity (upgradeable to 42), is chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO, and is one of the only two weapons with a usable scope. No NPCs use it but one Realian military mission does award upgrades for the weapon.

Steyr AUG - Austrian Army Version 5.56x45mm
This mindless murderous massacre is brought to you by the words "eh," "you," and the letter "G," and was made possible, in part, by gamers like you.
Aiming at a Black Soldier with the Steyr AUG's scope.
The Steyr AUG in a developer's promo image.

Sniper Rifles

SVD Dragunov

The sole firearm of its type in the game, the SVD Dragunov is referred to as the "Sniper Rifle" in-game, is chambered for 7.62x54mmR, and has an initial magazine capacity of 5 rounds, upgradeable to 10. It is also one of only two weapons in the game with a usable scope. No NPCs use it in-game, but it is seen in one cutscene where a sniper assassinates one of Saul's contact before he can divulge some information.

SVD Dragunov - 7.62x54mmR
I'm sniping in the rain, just sniping in the rain . . .
The scope markings are accurate, but unfortunately the game features no ballistic physics for bullets.
An assassin preparing to make Saul's mission that much harder.

Machine Guns

Unknown Machine Gun

This machine gun is only seen on the title screen, but does form an essential part of one the more unique graphical interfaces of the genre. It is a right-side-loading machine gun with a bipod, and the bullets on the belt form the interface buttons. Clicking on one causes the current set of options to be "fed" (though not actually fired) into the machine gun, while the ammunition belt advances to the next set of options. No casings or belt links are seen dropping out of the other side of the gun when the options change.

One of the more innovative game title screens of its time, though it would have been better if it actually fired with casings and belt links dropping out of the gun's right side. Leaving a machine gun out long enough in the rain for a bright orange spider (crawling right on the tip of the muzzle) to build a web around its barrel can't be good for it either, given how often it rains in this screen (yes, it actually rains from time to time on this title screen).

FN M240D

What appears to be a low-detail M240D is seen mounted on the "Piranha" jeep, as well as the few tanks seen in-game. The jeep-mounted version has a box magazine capacity of 90 rounds and (for convenience's sake) can be independently aimed and fired and reloaded while Saul is still in the driver's seat, but there is no way of expanding the initial ammunition reserve of 910 rounds aside from buying another "Piranha" jeep at 12,000 pesos a pop.

The tank-mounted version is seen on the gunner's hatch, but it cannot be used when Saul is driving a tank. Instead, an unidentified machine gun mounted coaxial to the main gun is fired instead. This version has unlimited ammunition.

M240D vehicle and aircraft-mount version with spade grips - 7.62x51mm NATO.
A machine gun mounted on a "Piranha" jeep.
Saul Myers aiming and firing the jeep-mounted machine gun while never moving from the driver's seat, thanks to the strength and power of . . . a mouse?
A Realian military tank with a machine gun mounted on the roof hatch.

M167 Vulcan Air Defense System

The M167 Vulcan Air Defense System can be found scattered across the jungle bases of the three major factions (though no NPCs actually use it), and one is even found in Don Pedro's private villa.

M167 VADS (Vulcan Air Defence System) - 20mm HE.
The M167 at a Guerrilla base.
A view from the operator's seat of the M167, including all the (well-rendered but nonfunctional) switches and instrumentation.

Launchers

M79 Grenade Launcher

The M79 grenade launcher appears in the game as the "Grenade Launcher," and is a single-shot break-open breech-loading weapon. Two types of grenades can be used for it, one with a time-delay fuse of 4 seconds, and another that explodes on impact. The latter type does not have a distance fuse that arms only after traveling a safe distance (as numerous real life 40mm grenades types do), so explosive mishaps with this weapon can occur if the player is not careful. No NPCs use this weapon or award upgrades for it.

M79 grenade launcher - 40mm
Looking to make some explosive mischief at a Drug Lord's airstrip. No, the ladder sight cannot be used to compensate for ballistic arc.
Destroying a guard tower with the M79 grenade launcher. Here Saul is in the midst of reloading the grenade launcher, first by extracting the empty grenade casing.
The M79 in a developer's promo image.

RPG-18

The RPG-18 appears in the game as the "RPG." This single-shot light anti-vehicle weapon can be bought at the various armorers and gunrunners through the game, but it is also sometimes issued to Saul if he accepts certain missions to destroy vehicles or even some structures. It is cheaper than a bundle of TNT and can even perform the latter's job at a distance, but cannot be reloaded (like the real-life version) or even returned to armorers/weapon-sellers for recycling as Saul is simply forced to drop one after firing it. It is capable of destroying vehicles from cars to trucks to mobile SAM launchers, but is very unlikely to hit airborne helicopters. Very few NPCs use this weapon, but due to gaps in their AI, they will often commit suicide with the explosive blast radius.

RPG-18 - 64mm
Preparing to fire an RPG-18 at a Government-owned helicopter gunship . . .
. . . with predictable results.
An empty RPG-18 on the ground.
The RPG-18 in a developer's promo image.

SA-7 Grail

The SA-7 Grail Anti-Aircraft Missile Launcher appears in the game as the "AA Missile," and is a heat-seeking missile launcher capable of tracking and destroying hostile helicopters in a single hit if not decoyed by a flare countermeasure. If the player becomes an enemy of any of the game's three major factions (Realian Government, Drug Lords, or the leftist Guerrillas), their helicopter gunships will start to target the player character or any nearby vehicles owned, making this weapon one of the few (if a very expensive) way of destroying these airborne attackers.

Like the RPG-18, the SA-7 Grail is a single-shot weapon that cannot be reloaded in this game, as Saul is forced to drop the launcher (which for some reason is the exact model as is used for a discarded RPG-18 in this game) after firing it.

SA-7 Grail launcher and missile - 72mm
Aiming an SA-7 Grail missile launcher at a hostile helicopter.
The SA-7 Grail in a developer's promo image. Despite being labelled as an Igla (NATO designation of SA-18 Grouse) ir can be identified as the Earlier SA-7 by the shape of the thermal battery and the stock.

Other

Crossbow

One of the few non-firearm ranged weapons in this game, the Crossbow is not used or given by NPCs, possesses a short range with a steep ballistic curve, is very slow to load, and cannot be upgraded. Despite these drawbacks, it is one of the more useful (if difficult-to-learn) weapons. The in-game Crossbow boasts a scope with a built-in laser rangefinder, and the bolts it fires can kill an unarmoured opponent in a single hit, or an armoured opponent in two hits (or a single headshot). These traits make it a very effective silent sniping weapon.

Stalking an abandoned(?) electronics factory with the Crossbow.
The scope view for the Crossbow. One of the more user-friendly (if less realistic for such a small scope) ballistic calculators seen in a game, the topmost chevron is the "crosshair" for the laser rangefinder, which displays the range to the target on the bottom. All the player has to do is get within 100 metres of the target (the maximum range for the Crossbow), align the target between the range markers, then use the range markers to angle the bow upwards to the appropriate displayed range, and fire.
The Crossbow in a developer's promo image.

F1 Grenade

The only grenade (though not the only throwable weapon) in the game, the F1 Grenade is used by all sides and combatants, even "harmless old grannies" who keep a few in their purses, and can even be found selling these "explosively sweet pineapples" at roadside fruit stands. They can be looted with alarming frequency from the corpses of armed opponents everywhere. Saul Myers apparently is a strong enough baseball pitcher to knock an opponent over, solely from the force of impact, if the grenade hits an opponent directly. It is not possible to "cook" a grenade before throwing it in this game, so opponents always have 5 seconds to escape a grenade's area of effect.

F-1 High-Explosive Fragmentation hand grenade
Preparing to shatter the tranquility of the Realian jungle with an F-1 Grenade.

TNT

More of a tool than a weapon, TNT bundles in this game can only be placed on specific vehicles, structures, and even terrain obstructions to destroy them as a way of completing missions. Whether by accident or design, they are outclassed by RPG-18s (which are capable of performing the same function at a distance) in every parameter and cannot be used offensively, so they are more of a novelty than anything else.

Overlooking the Guerrilla-controlled town of Pueblo Faro with a bundle of TNT.



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