SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALS is the first of the series of third person shooters created by Zipper Interactive. Like most in the series SOCOM was exclusive to the PS2 and at later variations found their way to the PSP handheld. The game was released shortly after the PS2 network adapter and with the box edition of SOCOM having a USB Headset for full user interactivity; which was used when playing online and as well offline. SOCOM had both offline and online elements, the offline had a campaign where players lead a squad of 4 men (3 of them AI controlled) through 12 missions in 4 regions - Alaska, Thailand, Congo, and Turkmenistan. This allowed players to talk to their teammates, and the online having the USB headset just for voice communication. The online however had several familiar maps to users who played the offline portion but new levels that for some would never feel old to play on.
The game also featured a full fledged documentary on what it means to be a U.S. Navy Seal. Zipper Interactive met with real life SEALS to get feedback on the game.
In SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs, players control Kahuna, the leader man of a four man squad. Players control Kahuna and give commands through the command menu or via USB headset to 3 AI controlled computers, Boomer, Specter, and Jester.
Players control their character from a third person view with their crosshair in the middle of the screen, allowing players to zoom in with the up button on the d-pad or crouch, and prone with the triangle button. There are 12 missions available with this squad of 4, and involves collect intel, demolish objects, restrain prisoners throughout the campaign. Players also have to use stealth through the missions using silenced weapons to take out opponents and try not to get seen. With the third person view it allows players to see the surrounding area around them, and they can also hide in bushes thanks to camo.
Multiplayer on SOCOM consisted of two teams. One team would play as terrorists, and the other as Navy SEALs. Game types are Suppression (kill the entire opposing team), Demolition (Use a neutral placed satchel a destroy enemies base), and Extraction (rescuing three hostages). Matches can also be won if players eliminate the opposing team without doing the objectives.
Players could also form clans on SOCOM. On the online main menu, there would be a tab where players could view information about the clan they were in (such as other clan members), or create their own clan. This feature helped make SOCOM popular with players, as it made setting up teams relatively easy.
SOCOM was the 'game' for most people, the game that made online gaming on the consoles not just good, but absolutely groundbreaking. It was the game that drove this new 'online' gaming for the PS2. The downfall of SOCOM, however, turned out to be that hacking and exploiting in the game was rife. This would ruin the leaderboard. Although initially this did not pose that much of a problem, as SOCOM players moved on to other games, only cheats remained, making it very difficult to find a game with 'honest' players.
On August 31, 2012 SCEA shut down online service for SOCOM.
Frostfire - An oil tanker with various tunnels throughout the level, including a warehouse as well as a "computer room." There are also a variety of catwalks that the player can sit from in order to pick off players below. The team that defeats all of the opposing members wins.
Blizzard - Battle between Seals and Terrorists throughout a snowy mountain-side setting. One side of the map is at the top of the mountain, which is the Seal spawn. The opposite end of the map contains the "Terrorist" base. This map concludes when one of the teams obtains the bomb and detonates it at the opponents base.
Abandoned - A jungle setting with broken down temples and caves throughout it. There are a variety of ways from each side of the map including going underground, and through various temples. This map ends when one team has defeated the other.
The Ruins - Another jungle setting with more ruins. However, there is one stream that runs through the left side of the map. This is another map that has players looking for the bomb and using it at the opponents base.
Blood Lake - Yet another jungle setting, however this one contains a giant lake throughout the middle of the entire map that the player has to wade through if they are to cross it. The Seals must make their way to find the Hostages.
Bitter Jungle - This map has caves on each side of the map leading from the Seal to the Terrorist spawn. Each spawn contains a base with a variety of corners to hide around. To win this map, a team must plan and detonate the bomb in the opponents base.
Death Trap - The last jungle map in Socom's online. This map heavily favored the Terrorist team. The terrorist spawned in a base that was built within the side of a hill. It contains many dark hallways and corners to look for opponents. The seals spawn outside and must make their way inside the base to rescue the hostages.
Desert Glory - This is a desert town based map, hence the title of it. Seals spawn and must make their way through the town and into the Terrorist building in order to get the hostages. They must bring them back to their spawn in order to win. The map itself contains numerous buildings including a "hotel" which is 3 floors and makes for a good spot to snipe from.
Night Stalker - This is another desert based map with a wide opened center with nothing but a few boulders for cover. Each side of the map has several buildings which also provide cover. The objective again is to find the bomb and plant it at the others base.
Rat's Nest - This map takes place inside a ravine and cave with a desert theme. The cave contains various rooms, including one full of packages and boxes which provide cover. There are also a variety of hiding places around corners which make for good places to "camp". The map ends when one team has completely eliminated the other.