PC software: GI Combat: Battle of Normandy

If you’re still not convinced that war is a bad thing, you might like to try a couple of campaigns in GI Combat: Battle of Normandy. This strategy simulation pitches you into close combat directly after the D-Day landings. In a series of battles you choose your force, deploy its units and command them as you storm (or defend) a German position.

Having mastered the controls, your all-seeing eye swoops around the carnage from ground level to 9m in the air. You can plot your moves from a bird’s-eye view or hover at the shoulder of one of your troops as he sprints straight into the line of fire (see here for a screenshot).

It’s this human aspect of war that GI Combat tries to factor into its gameplay. Pretty much as soon as the gunfire starts, so do the anguished cries of pain. Even more disconcerting is the effect that the rain has on your troops’ performances. Injuries, fallen comrades and breaks in the chain of command send your crack squad sliding down the scale of morale from good (when they will still obey orders), to berserk, to an irrational state of pitiful inhumanity.

Once this happens there’s little you can do. And even when they’re still in fighting form you only have six commands to give them, so much of the action is left to the game’s AI which, in our review copy, was still a bit ropey.

However, there are more than enough engagements to keep you entertained, wiping the smirk off your face as they move from easily attainable to suddenly impossible.

So, go on — experience the realities of war as you challenge the might of the Third Reich with a bunch of highly trained but ultimately rather fragile pansies. Because that’s what it’s really like.

Publisher: Mindscape
Developer: Freedom Games
URL: www.gicombat.com

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Simon Easterman

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