Call of Duty (released October 29, 2003) is a first-person shooter video game based on the Quake III: Team Arena engine. This war game simulates the infantry and combined arms warfare of World War II. The game was published by Activision and developed by Infinity Ward. It was accompanied in September 2004 by an expansion pack, Call of Duty: United Offensive, which was produced by Activision, and developed by Gray Matter Interactive, with contributions from Pi Studios. The Mac OS X version of Call of Duty was ported by Aspyr Media. In late 2004, the N-Gage version was developed by Nokia and published by Activision. Other versions were released for PC, including Collector's Edition (with soundtrack and strategy guide), Game of the Year Edition (includes game updates), and the Deluxe Edition (which contains United Offensive expansion and soundtrack in the USA. In Europe the soundtrack is not included).
The game is somewhat unusual in that throughout the single-player mode, the player is joined by computer-controlled allies who range in quantity from two infantrymen (in some of the British missions) to an entire regiment of tanks (in the Soviet missions). The computer-controlled allies will support the actual player during the missions (notable in this is the AI's effectiveness compared to other games like Medal of Honor). They also further the game's goal of providing an immersive and realistic experience; that is, soldiers in World War II were usually part of a larger group, as opposed to the "lone wolf" seen in video games such as Wolfenstein 3D. However, there are some missions where the player is alone.
The American campaign begins with Pvt. Joey Martin of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division parachuting into France as a pathfinder of the 101st Airborne Division on D-Day for the Battle of Normandy, echoing the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. The series continues with a night assault on the town of Sainte-Mère-Église after reuniting with his squadmates, a defense of the town against a counter attack by German Panzer units, a car chase through German lines, the Brécourt Manor Assault, and two special missions to rescue captured British officers.
The British campaign begins with Sgt. Jack Evans of the British 6th Airborne Division and Special Air Service, assisting in the capture of Pegasus Bridge, as seen in The Longest Day, sabotage the German battleship Tirpitz and ends with a sabotage mission of a V-2 rocket base. Evans also sabotages anti-air defenses single-handedly around the Eder Dam, in preparation for a follow up Dambusters Raid (Operation Chastise).
The Soviet campaign begins with the Battle of Stalingrad, first with weaponless scenes similar to the opening of Enemy at the Gates, a 2001 movie about the battle, then simulating close combat in an underground sewer system and a recreation of the battle for Pavlov's House through the eyes of Pvt. (later promoted to Sgt.) Alexei Ivanovich Voronin in the 13th Guards Rifle Division and 150th Rifle Division. The Soviet campaign continues with the liberation of Poland, followed by a role as a tank commander. The Soviet campaign ends as an infantry soldier in Berlin with the raising of the Soviet flag above the ruins of the Reichstag. After raising the Soviet flag, a short video of the aftermath of World War II is shown.
Actors Jason Statham and Giovanni Ribisi, as well as voice actor Steven Blum, provided voice-overs for the roles of Sgt. Waters (British), Pvt. Elder (American) and Cpt. Foley (American), respectively. Michael Giacchino, who previously worked on the Medal of Honor franchise, composed the soundtrack.
Call of Duty also featured "shellshock" (not to be confused with the psychological condition of the same name), where when the player is close to an explosion, his vision is blurred, the player and time moves slower, and sound is muffled, similar to some scenes in the movie Saving Private Ryan.
A unique feature of the multiplayer was the "Killcam," through which a defeated player could view the last 5 seconds of his life through the eyes of their opponent who just killed him. This was received favorably by critics, who saw this as a method to identify cheaters.
Call of Duty won "Game of the Year" for 2003 from several reviewers. It was the recipient of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences 2004 "Game of the Year" award, defeating games including Command & Conquer: Generals, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, and Rise of Nations. The game also received "Computer Game of the Year" and "Computer First Person Action Game of the Year", and was nominated for "Outstanding Innovation in Computer Gaming", "Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition", and "Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design" in the Interactive Achievement Awards.
Call of Duty was also nominated for "Best Game" at the 2004 Game Developers Choice Awards. While it did not receive that award, it did win Infinity Ward the "Rookie Studio of the Year". Chuck Russom was also presented with the "Excellence in Audio" award for his work on the game.
Review website IGN rated Call of Duty 9.3 out of 10, with reviewer Dan Adams saying "You have to love a game that glues you to your seat and keeps you interested... A thrilling piece of software that action fans should grab a hold of and love fiercely." His only negative critique was on the short length of the game, which many reviewers pointed out.