Reading The Official Double Helix

Bruce Von Stiers

Activision just released the sequel to their Soldier of Fortune game. It is called Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix. It almost goes without saying that there would be a strategy guide published to go along with the game. The publisher that got the nod to do a book on the game was BradyGames. The title of the book is Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix Official Strategy Guide. The book was written by Philip Hansen.

The book is softcover and has 176 pages. The cover is full color but the contents are black and white graphics and text. The book has four sections and an introduction.

Before you even get to the Table of Contents there is some specific information that the book gives you. It lists the author’s acknowledgements and the credits for the game. We find out that Raven Software was the developer of the game. The book lists Joe Koberstein as Lead Artist and Gina Garren as a 2D Artist for the game. The voice talent is listed so we find out that Mark Hamill does one of the voices and Rosalind Chao has a minor vocal acting role.

The four parts to the book are The Characters, The Weapons & Items, The Basics of Solider of Fortune II and The Walkthrough.

In the Characters part of the book, you will meet the Heroes and The Bad Guys. The Heroes are John F. Mullins, Sam Gladstone, Dr. Piotr Ivanovich, Director Anthony Michaels, Madeline Taylor and Dr. Dmitri Sestrogor. There is a brief bio, along with a full page height drawing of each character. On The Bad Guys side, there are bios and drawings of Associate Director Aaron Wilson, Alexi Nacharde and Manuel Vergara. Other bad guys are a chick name Devianti and Manuel Vegara’s bodyguard. Domingo Sanchez.

Next up is The Weapons & Items. Here is where you learn all about the toys you get to play with in the game. This section is broken down into Weapons, Grenades and Items. The Weapons area has a description of each weapon along with something the book calls Tough Talk. This is a not so gentle hint about how to utilize the weapon. There are also Specifications and Damage Control charts. You will find out things like the M590 Combat Shotgun has a muzzle velocity of 1745 fps and that M60 Machine Gun has a cartridge that carries 99 rounds of ammo.

You will learn about the M15 White Phosphorus Grenade in the Grenades area of the Weapons & Items section. There are also grenades like the M84 Stun Grenade and the F1 Anti-Personnel Grenade that are described in this area. The Items section gives you a breakdown of the gear that is available in the game. You learn about the Toolkit, Night Vision Goggles and Body Armor. Other items include the Health Kit and Heavy Duty Binoculars.

The Basics gives an overview of the game’s plot and tells you what to do to get jumpstarted. There are grids in this section for keyboard strokes. And there is a page of general tips for the game.

The Walkthrough takes you through the thirteen missions in the game. From the first mission, Prague, to the last, The Shop Under Siege, the book gives a pretty detailed walkthrough. You will learn what the objectives are for each mission and who the enemies are. You will find out what new weapons are available to use. The book lists which peons can be picked up and some combat moves like using both hands to climb a ladder because “you cannot hold or fire a weapon while climbing ladders.”

There are black and white screen shots depicting the scene that the book is describing. There are also comments from Lead Level Designer, Matt Pinkston, sprinkled throughout the book. This section also has the game timeline and some information about the Random Mission Generator.

The really cool thing about this book is that there is an interview with the real John Mullins at the end of the Walkthrough section. You will learn about John’s future projects and what his input was for this game. You will find out that John suggested that only real weapons be depicted in the game.

For those of you who are going to be playing Double Helix, this book is the next thing to buy after getting the game. It has all of the information that you will need to get up and moving in the game.

This title is available wherever gaming books are sold. For other information, visit the BradyGames web site at


© 2002 Bruce E. Von Stiers