Medal of Honor: Underground
Medal of Honor: Underground is a videogame that is the prequel to the World War II hit Medal of Honor. In Underground, the player takes the role of Manon Batiste (Based on Helene Deschamps Adams), a French woman who appeared in the first game as an advisor. The plot of the game begins before the original Medal of Honor, when Manon fights for the French Resistance before America entered the war. As the plot progresses, Manon is recruited to the OSS and takes on covert missions in occupied Europe and Africa. Missions include the sabotage of a V-1 flying bomb factory and rescuing prisoners of war. Levels include, occupied Greece, North Africa, Monte Cassino and Germany. The first and last levels are set in Paris, at the beginning and end of the Nazi occupation.
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
After completing the game, the player can play a non-canon bonus level, named "Panzerknacker Unleashed", in which the player plays as Lt. Jimmy Patterson, who has been sent to a castle after the Allied Forces received a distress signal from there. Many strange enemies are fought at the castle, including dancing dogs which are armed with machine guns and drive half-tracks, knights carrying battle axes, rotten zombified soldiers and several large nutcrackers, called Panzerknacker. The objective of all of the three missions available in this level is to build your own Panzerknacker, who assists you in the final mission.
Plot[edit | edit source]
Patrick Klepek explains how "Gamers who played Medal of Honor will remember Manon, part of the French Resistance, who was an enormous help toward his efforts. Still set in the era of World War II, the year is 1940 and the German armies have overrun Manon's town. Attempting to survive with her brother and the few people still around in her town, Manon's best companion, her brother, is tragically killed during a routine raid to retrieve weapon supplies. Manon then sets out to meet up with her brother's contacts in order to fight against the Nazis. It will take all her strength and perseverance in order to move up the ranks in the OSS so that she can head back home and help in the liberation of her nation." According to GamePro, Manon is a "young member of the French Resistance introduced as Jimmy Patterson's 'control' in the original Medal of Honor. Set prior to the start of the original Medal of Honor game, Underground follows Manon's journey from a naive member of one of France's first resistance movements to that of a seasoned veteran recruited by the OSS who ultimately becomes a key figure in the Allied invasion at Normandy." The "final mission" has Manon return to Paris to assist in its liberation from German occupation.
Development[edit | edit source]
Michael Giacchino explains that for "Manon, I wanted a theme that could convey one emotion at a particular moment, and then a completely different emotion the next without having to rely on two completely different themes. As a result, Manon's two main themes are very similar and yet very different. One version of the theme stays the course in a major tone, conveying a feel of great national purpose against the Nazi menace, and the secondary theme dips into a minor 6th chord which describes Manon's more intimate and emotional feelings as an individual and a woman who is pitted against the fascist war machine. Both of these themes are bookended with what liner notes author Paul Tonks has aptly named 'the resolve theme'. This theme was meant to represent the moments where Manon is called upon to steel her nerves and gather the courage to continue on with the fight....Manon travels to places that are not quite so militaristic as Jimmy Patterson. Her journey was a bit more 'scenic'." Critic Ian Lace said of her theme: "One has to suppose that the main character of this new game, Manon, inspired by the exploits of Hélène Déschamps is French. Michael Ciacchino has created a theme for her that in its first few notes irresistibly makes me want to anticipate the old pop song, 'Arrivederci Roma' which I found disconcerting because she is French and so much of the action, particularly at the beginning and end, takes place in Paris."
Producer Scott Langteau offers that "Underground had an entirely different feel than the original MOH, and yet the gameplay was entirely familiar. That's what we tried to do, anyway. InUnderground, it was personal. The game's front end was gritty and less militarily organized; it was rustic and roughly hewn. The same can be said for the game. Manon used petrol bombs and also used her femininity to gain access to restricted areas. We used the freedom of telling her backstory- she was in the French Resistance, then joined the OSS-to give the game its own flair and widely varied missions that took us all over Europe: Greece, Italy, etc."
Reception[edit | edit source]
GameSpot praises the gamemakers for taking "a character from the original game named Manon Batiste and" placing "her in the lead role so that her full story can be told. This setting is a welcome change, as Underground provides a meaningful historical context that's rare in most video games today." William Abner similarly describes the game as "a refreshing change of pace because you played Manon Batiste, a woman enlisted in the French Resistance." RealPoor ranks her among the 12 Best Female Characters in Video Games, declaring that we "know Manon as a French resistance woman who appeared as an advisor in the first MoH game. In the sequel for PlayStation called Medal of Honor: Underground, she is the main character who takes on covert missions in occupied Europe and Africa."