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Battlefield 1942 - page 1

  • Windows 98/2000/ME/XP
  • Pentium 3 500Mhz with 128MB of RAM
  • 1.2GB hard disk space
  • 32MB 3D accelerator supporting hardware T&L (required)
  • ISDN/broadband recommended for Internet play
  • Official website: http://www.battlefield1942.com
  • If I recall correctly, the last war game that tried to combine first person infantry with easy to use vehicles was Operation Flashpoint. Even if it wasn't the latest, this game certainly turned more than a few heads, because it was the first time that a realistic military game enabled you to participate in modern warfare. However, it was not the first game to use these concepts.
    Codename Eagle, a somewhat underrated game from Swedish developers Dice, was the first game that let you use vehicles however you wanted. Tanks, planes and even a blimp could be used in large battles.
    Unfortunately, the success Codename Eagle deserved was not received. This obviously hasn't stopped Dice though, as Battlefield 1942 has arrived to claim all the glory, and then some.

    Battlefield 1942 is a first person war game that places you in conflicts throughout World War 2, using the most famous battles from that era. The game itself is not historically perfect, but it goes a long way to simulate the feeling of fighting 60 years ago. As Dice have emphasized on more than one occasion however, the focus of the game is fun. Don't expect realistic damage models on vehicles, don't think a plane will be insanely complex to fly and if you can't swim don't worry, drowning is impossible! It's totally possible to leap out of a plane, parachute onto the top of a building and launch tank rockets at passing infantry. It may get you killed relatively quickly, but the freedom Battlefield 1942 gives you is quite refreshing.

    Incoming!
    Spot the tank.
    "And on your left.."

    As you may have noticed, the system requirements above include an Internet connection. Since the upper limit on players is actually 64 (not 32 as indicated on the box), broadband is almost required to attain a smooth experience online. According to a few friends on 56K modems who already have the game, using any sort of low-bandwidth connection is almost painful. So if you're looking to enjoy the multiplayer aspects of Battlefield, ensure your Internet connection (and system, come to think of it) are up to the job.
    If you want to play on your own however, then you're catered for. Battlefield includes a singleplayer campaign - basically all the maps in chronological order - that is repeated for both the Axis and Allies, effectively giving you two campaigns. Also, bots are included, which cannot replace human players but if given enough CPU time, can go a long way in making you believe you're playing with other people. Again, this is resource intensive - if it's one thing that Battlefield needs, it's a beefy computer. The 500Mhz above will in all honestly not give you a smooth game, unless you turn everything down.

    Requirements aside, the game itself is for lack of any other way to describe it, bloody good fun. I personally haven't enjoyed a war game this much since I piloted the aforementioned blimp in Codename Eagle. It makes sense that the sequel to the game would draw my attention to this style of shooter once again. The models (infantry, vehicles, stationary weapons) are lovingly detailed and actually look like their real life counterparts. There are no made-up vehicles here, everything is authentic to the period. The guns are understandably inaccurate compared to modern equivalents, but no so much as to ruin the game. If you aim well, you'll hit.
    Other weapons are included, such as the anti-tank RPG, the sniper rifle and the ever-amusing engineer's dynamite. Each class of infantry (sniper, assault, anti-armour, medic, engineer) has its advantages and downfalls, and you often find that assault troopers will team up with anti-tank and a medic, for example, to cover any eventuality. The only way to successfully attack organised infantry with zero losses is via plane or artillery, or possibly a large tank rush. Make no mistake, armour is a tremendous advantage, but you can't win without infantry support.