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Reviewed: Force 21
Publisher/Developer: Redstorm Entertainment
Genre Type: Real Time Strategy
Price: $44.95
Required System: P200 (w/3D Accel) - P233 (w/MMX), 32mb Ram, 150mb HD, Win95+
Reviewer's System: PII300, 64mb Ram, TNT, Win98
Related Games: Mech Commander
Overall Rating:
Author: Chris Kim       Date: August 18th 1999
Page: 2

The game starts out with an opening cinematic movie laying out the situation that is going on in 2015 with the ongoing dispute with China and it's neighboring country, Kazakhstan. With satellites, Americans notice some military movement by China in the Kazak borders, China invades with tanks to a nearby farm area and World War III is started. Pretty simple storyline, although simple, the story develops into a great base for the game. The game starts out with letting the gamer choose between two sides, either the American or Chinese campaign, both which are unique because they both have very different units in which they battle and the point of view is also quite different with leadership differences. What really separates this game from most other games is the real focus and attention put on the emphasis on planning and strategically placing units on the spot in the correct area or path to search in order to succeed in missions. The units that the user receives, are the only units they receive on that mission.

Missiles Fired Off
Looking At Units

Tactical placement of units, planning moves, learning from experiences, are all just a few of the key elements into making a successful army to advance in the levels. Unlike most common real time strategy games, the user does not get the option to build new units at bases or buildings. Rather, the game is setup where the player only gets a certain amount of units to work with on a certain set of platoons. Each of the platoons are setup with up to 5 units (tanks or flying copters), all under the command of one commander, who is chosen at the setup briefing. Each commander has their strengths and weaknesses in four categories. The briefing screen is split up into three different subsections:

Briefing: Where the mission statement is given, an update on what is happening and most of the story unfolds in this briefing section.
Setup: Where what units and platoons the player is given to choose from.
Intelligence: Where the officer reports how the enemy is stationed with possible tactics which may work.

The advice given by the officers are crucial to have a successful strategy and mission plan to be carried out; otherwise, just running into the mission blindly without any proper train of thought and trying to create a slaughter house will most likely, not work. The game is all about the real tactical advances in real life warfare. Within the game, the player will find two different campaign modes to choose from, either the USA or Chinese game mode. The USA mode, is the defensive mode which most players will find easiest. The player (obviously), is put in the position of the USA army, which is sent in to protect the Kazak nation from the attack of China. Along the way, many plot twists will occur with Russia joining as allies and the same sort.

Covered in Brush
They Were Destroyed?

The overall gameplay is quite unique in the way it plays. Instead of having each individual tank or helicopter as itself, they are all stationed in platoons, which can carry up to five different units at one time. On each individual mission, the player is given a certain amount of units from which he or she can work from. Typically, the units are a mix of both tanks and helicopters for added tactics. There are many different units in the game, some stronger than others and equipped with unique weapons. Many different forms of attacking and tactics can be used as well. Some of the cooler attacks include the air strike in where airplanes will launch a massive launch of bombs to blow up the enemy. How the units are placed can be configured in their alignment, four different options are offered, columns, lines, wedges, and reversed wedges. Each of the alignments have their advantages and disadvantages. Some of the different units are jeeps, tanks, heavy armor trucks, helicopters, and fighter jets. Units are moved by a simple click on the battlefield, the camera is fully 360 rotational battlefields supporting both zooming in/out and raising the perspective, high or low. Staying true to being a real simulation of war, the slower units are slower, and faster ones are considerably faster. What really is amazing though is the real life physics and point of view emphasized in the game. Instead of allowing the player to scroll madly where they please to view the rest of the landscape, the player is restricted to only seeing what each of the platoon's eyes can see. If a tank is at the bottom of a hill, and another tank is at the top, the top tank will be able to see the tank at the base of the hill, while the tank at the bottom of the hill cannot. So a surprise launch attack can be very effective with this method, especially helicopters, the natural terrain is a copter's best unit of attack. Staying true to real life physics, the units can only go up certain grade steep hills and go so fast. If a hill is too steep, the unit will go around the hill features.

Setup Briefing
You Can Say...

With the tactical features in the game, one cannot forget that this game is a war game and that it would be absolutely nothing without combat. The combat is pretty cool in the way it works, all that is required is that the enemy be in sight, left click on it, a red box will form on it. This signifies that this is the main target and that it should be the enemy that is shot at. With having combat laced this way, the player can still control the platoon that is attacking, unlike other RTS games where the player must click on the enemy, and then the unit will walk towards the enemy despite what is in the way. In this game, the platoon can be maneuvered as they wish.

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Added:  Wednesday, August 18, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 2/4

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