Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (2003)

by Nish
6 minutes read


Medal of Honor: Rising Sun immerses players in the critical battles of the Pacific theatre during WWII, blending intense first-person shooter gameplay with a deep respect for history. Through its portrayal of key events and educational content, the game honors the legacy of those who served.


Medal of Honor: Rising Sun offers a unique blend of historical accuracy and immersive gameplay, providing a window into the Pacific theatre’s battles through the eyes of an American soldier. The game stands out for its educational approach, incorporating period footage, images, and interviews with veterans to enrich the player’s understanding of the war.


“Medal of Honor: Rising Sun” is a first-person shooter video game, the fifth installment of the Medal of Honor series, released by EA Games in November 2003. The game is set during World War II, specifically during the Pacific War.

The game begins on December 7, 1941, with U.S. Marine Corporal Joseph D. ‘Joe’ Griffin awakening on the USS California to the attack on Pearl Harbor. He makes his way topside, putting out fires and aiding crewmen along the way, and meets up with Gunnery Sergeant Jack ‘Gunny’ Lauton, his commander. Joe works to shoot down planes and destroy torpedoes. He is blown off the ship, but is rescued by a PT boat carrying Gunny, Private First Class Frank Spinelli, and Private First Class Silas Whitfield. Joe gets in the turret and shoots down planes to defend Battleship Row. After witnessing the sinking of the USS Arizona, they defend the USS Nevada as it attempts to escape harbor.

On January 1, 1942, Joe and Gunny are stationed in the Philippines, where they meet up with Joe’s younger brother, Donnie, who is in a Marine demolition unit. Donnie and the demolition engineers need to blow Calumpit Bridge, but their demolition truck got captured. The three successfully get the truck back, and the bridge is blown, but Donnie is still inside a tank when it is overrun by Japanese soldiers, and is presumed dead.

On August 7, 1942, Gunny, Joe, and two other Marines are part of a midnight raid on Guadalcanal to take an airfield and destroy an ammo dump before the main assault at dawn. On October 14, 1942, however, the Japanese are hammering them with artillery from their position codenamed ‘Pistol Pete’.

The game features single-player and multiplayer capabilities, with multiplayer terminated as of 2007. In single-player mode, the player assumes the role of Joseph Griffin of the United States Marine Corps. The game also has a two-player campaign that follows the same plot (except the omission of Supercarrier Sabotage) and allows either player to respawn if the other is still alive. This, however, lacks many things the main campaign has, including the entrenching tool, the machete, and most of your squadmates. Offline multiplayer is also available, where up to four people can play against each other and optionally AI bots.


The protagonist, a young American soldier, embodies the courage and determination of the countless individuals who fought in the Pacific. Key historical figures and representations of soldiers from both the Allied and Axis forces provide a broad perspective on the war.


Combining first-person shooting action with tactical elements, Medal of Honor: Rising Sun challenges players to navigate battlefields, engage enemy forces, and complete objectives that mirror historical operations. The game’s mechanics include a variety of weapons, vehicles, and environments, offering diverse combat experiences.


While not without its flaws, Medal of Honor: Rising Sun is a noteworthy effort to combine entertainment with education, offering players a vivid glimpse into the Pacific theatre of WWII. Its commitment to historical accuracy and the inclusion of veterans’ insights make it an engaging experience for anyone interested in history or first-person shooters.

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