Set in the near future on a parallel world, Battle Command takes us to a battlefield where in ten years of conflict the forces of the north and south are at a stalemate. The defensive capabilities of both sides are so great that an all-out battle would end in Armageddon, so small guerilla-style attacks are encouraged.
It’s as a brave northern warrior that you board the latest in tank technology, the impressively named Mauler. You have ten missions to attempt: Blast ‘Em, Missile Battery, Hostage Rescue, Railway Ambush, Night Moves, Grand Finale, Satellite Search, River Raid, Hideout and Escort Duty.
Each mission needs a different mixture of blasting and strategy skills. Most of the time you simply have to destroy targets, but in a couple of the missions you have to find the target first (logical).
Once a mission is selected, a brief text message identifies the target(s), while a map points you in the right direction. When the information’s been digested, you’re ready to arm up. For this there’s a range of weaponry, including a 120mm turret gun, rockets, mortars, chaff and flare launchers.
You view the hostile terrain through the tank’s viewport. Surrounding the viewport are the many dials and switches used to control the Mauler (activated by pressing various keys). There are four weapon pods, a binocular view, infra-red night scope and a radio beacon to summon a helicopter ally at the end of the mission. And the programmers, Realtime Software, are such nice people they’ve allowed you to access the mission map and text if you get lost!
The enemy are out in force in most missions and they play for keeps. Tanks are fairly easy to destroy with a well-placed shell or missile, but watch your back when up against the likes of a rocket launcher. Good luck soldier, you’ll need it.
It took Realtime around two years to program their last game, Carrier Command, and guess what? Yes, Battle Command has taken the same amount of time to appear. But was it worth the wait? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’!
The graphics are up to Realtime’s high standards, wireframe and shaded sprites blending to create good looking and very fast moving vehicles. Playability is also excellent, each of the ten missions calling for different degrees of blasting and strategy skills. Battle Command’s tough, there’s no doubt of that, but it gets a big thumbs up from me.
MARK ... 95%
'Spooky Coincidences number 378 (in a series of 598,374): Battle Command arrives in the office as soon as war breaks out in the Gulf. So there I was, bombing around in the Mauler on one screen, and on the TV screen next to me John Simpson is counting them all out and counting them all in. Brrrr! Sitting down to play Battle Command for the first time is a daunting experience. There seems so much to learn. But then, after a couple of plays, it all becomes like a really playable arcade game. It’s not much of a toughie simulation at all! Battle Command is best summed up as Battle Zone (that old vector graphic coin-op) with strategic missions. There’s plenty of driving around and blasting enemy tanks and gun emplacements before actually completing a mission — it’s great fun letting rip with an assortment of missiles. The variety of missions is good, and as you work your way through new tactics and approaches are learned. The speed of both the vector and solid 3D graphics is very impressive, much faster than Carrier Command, and the shading’s good so most objects can be clearly seen. Presentation is fab, with lots of easily-understood option screens, heaped with colourful graphics to go through. Yes sirree, I really enjoyed taking control of the Mauler and giving the enemy what for! '
RICHARD ... 93%
Hmm, I've got an idea. Let's briefly zip forward to the distant future, shall we, Spec-chums? Okay, hold on tight. Whoosh! There, we've done it. Now let's see what's going down in the next century. Oh dear, there seems to be a bit of a war going on. Tut tut. You'd think in the future people would've sorted out their disputes properly, wouldn't you? But blimey - just look at that machinery!
In Battle Command you're given something called a Mauler. Basically it's a big tank with missiles, mines and a large gun that could have your eye out as quick as, erm, a very quick thing. This rather spanky bit of kit is to help you complete 10 separate missions.
Sounds easy? Well just take that smile off your face right this instant, young man, because it isn't (well, not all of it). It's actually rather reminiscent of that prehistoric coin-op Battlezone. You move round a 3D vector landscape, peeping out of the front of your tank, targetting things and blowing them up. The problem is that many of them want to blow you up instead.
TANKS A BUNCH
So what happens then? Well, the first thing to do (after choosing the mission) is equip your tank. You'll need a turret with a 120mm gun and 80 rounds of ammo, but you can also select homing missiles, mines or duster bombs. There's a fairly wide choice of other dangerous gear, all of which will certainly come in handy for different missions.
Once you've loaded up, you climb in and, yep, things all look pretty tank-like (as you'd expect, really). There's your radar display, a compass, weapons consoles and a speed indicator (as well as a load of other gubbins which will probably come in handy at some point).
Now, if you're ready for warfare, it's time to move out (they always say that in the best war movies). The first impression you get is that it's all very last and smooth. You fairly tear around the landscape, spinning from side to side to avoid the scummy enemy swine who try to blast you with their missiles and shells. To get rid of them, just flick the tank onto the correct heading and open fire. If you've armed up with missiles yourself then they lock on automatically, and you don't need to bother keeping the target in view. This is seriously useful when you're surrounded and you've got to move fast.
All the vector graphics are done well, and anything you hit tends to explode with chunks flying all over the shop. In fact, it's great fun motoring around just blowing up everything willy-nilly. Luckily the map and layout change with each mission, so you don't get bored with the same setting (and if you do, well you can just blow it all up, hem hem).
SHOOTING FROM THE HIP
So it may be very un-snail-like, but is it fun as well? The answer, Spec-chums, is most definitely yes (thank goodness). The enemy are fairly easy to take out one by one, but they still manage to get a hit or two in before you smash them into tiny pieces. What's more, the blimmin' cheaters tend to go round in little groups, so while you're taking out one, the others are sneaking off behind you to fill your behind with hot lead. Very painful indeed!
There's certainly plenty of action in Battle Command. Ten missions, loads of different weapons and enemy tanks that behave differently every time all adds up up to more variety than a large chest packed full of very different things.
So - quibbles? Well, some of the missions are pretty easy as the enemy tanks can be incredibly stupid and just sit there, waiting for you to slam them with a few 120mm shells. And your tank seems to think its much slimmer than it actually is - so you keep colliding with hills and buildings. But that's about it really.
Battle Command could just as easily be called Battlezone '91. The only big difference is all the new 3D stuff like trees and hills. And it's certainly good stuff. If the idea of big pieces of metal chewing up the countryside sounds okay to you then this comes highly recommended.
£10.99 cassette only, 128k only
The forces of the North and South are at war in Ocean's latest sim, Battle Command. An all-out strike is impossible - their nuclear stockpiles are evenly matched - so guerilla tactics have to be employed.
To this end, the Mauler tank was invented, and now you, as the North's top fighter, must complete a series of tough missions to swing the war in your favour. A range of devastating weapons are at your disposal - including a 120mm cannon, missiles and mortars - and all are needed to get through the hordes of enemy vehicles.
Gamplay is hugely entertaining and, surprisingly, an itchy trigger finger is needed more than brainpower!
No doubt everyone is totally familiar with Battle Command, well those of you who are intelligent enough to be regular readers are, as this fabo metal muncher was previewed and actually given away as a playable demo in the Nov. Ish. And what a demo - but a good demo does not a good game make - or does it?
But just for the deadheads out there who missed out here's the low down again. You are in the driving seat of the Mauler tank, bashing its way through a 3D landscape blasting anything mean, green un-seen. The name of this game is destruction and no battle field veteran has been better equipped. Amongst the tanks devastating arsenal are SAM missiles, IR missiles, Radar air to surface/surface to air missiles, mortar, wire guided missiles, chaff flares to deflect incoming rockets that have locked on to your beast and other war toys either to be found or that come as standard. This is a game that anyone could get into. There are a variety of different missions including Hideout, where you have to search out and destroy a secret weapons base and Satellite, requiring the retrieval of a spy orb that has landed in enemy territory. Tactical play through out is essential and often it's better to run away and fight another day than stand and be bravely mangled. The 3D on the tanks is quite spectacular and hiding behind trees and mountains vital to survival. One final word of warning though don't get too good at Battle Command, you could find yourself drafted!
Price: £ Tape, £14.99 Disk
Reviewer: Steve Keen
What a length of time this has taken to get to the shops. We reviewed it a few months ago but Ocean said that they have since worked on the game still further so could we "Re-review it in its new, all-signing, all-dancing form?" We gave it to the non-signing, disco disaster IAN WATSON for a first impression.. (which was Tommy Cooper and was crap so we hit him - just like that!)
An arcade/strategy game set in a 'near future alternate reality' (a bit of wasteland featuring such futuristic innovation as roads and rivers!). Battle Command does its utmost to be wild and action packed, combining all the thrills of driving a tank with the military responsibility of having a massively important mission to complete. Sadly though this nowhere nearly as exciting as it sounds as Battle Command simulates reality so well that you soon find that driving tanks involves long periods of doing just that - driving around with nothing more interesting than the horizon to shoot at. Thus you may spend several minutes equipping your tank with rocket launchers and turbo lasers and pouring over your mission briefing and terrain plan (erm, I think that's a map folks), in order to get most of the way to a target before anything happens.
So, it's especially important that the host of options to add some zest to the proceedings. Each separate mission features a new tactical twist (night manoeuvres, hostage rescue, convoy defence etc), and obviously if you're looking for trouble (da da, da da) then you have come to the right place, where the various tanks are more than willing to fire wildly explosive black squares of colour at you.
What makes Battle Command quite so unspecial is that once completed, the missions really pose little problem, and any attempts to relive old glories will see the player just going through the motions. A surprisingly unastounding game. Mission completed. Return to pick up point.
Reviewer: Ian Watson
STEVE: Hey this is pretty heavy stuff mahhn! You can't just get in and get firing...
GARTH: It's been such a long time in the pipe-line (previewed last year) it's good to see it's finally on the shelves. A game for the patient who want good graphics and depth of play.
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