Panzer General
Written by Daniel Westerstal   
Sunday, 17 July 2005
When people think about World War 2 games the generally think about SSIs Panzer General. The game took the world by storm when it was released in 1994 since it appealed to a broad audience, not just hardcore strategy gamers.

In the game you are a General for the German forces during the Second World War. There are a number of fronts you can play in the game including Poland, North Africa and Italy. The campaigns in the game are authentic ones recreated from the war, so the game is very realistic in that sense.

Another nice part is that the campaigns are not finished if you loose a battle. Instead you will go on to the next battle, but it will be harder to win. If you continue loosing in the campaign will start go down the drains and battles will be tougher and tougher to win. This is a nice touch and I’m surprised that developers haven’t used this kind of system in the real time strategy games that is littering the market.

The interface of the game was very innovative however I can’t say that it has lasted that well. There are a number of symbols that you have to click to do different things, and the symbols are not always clear. So in the beginning there is a lot of clicking before you learn.

Another hick-up with the interface is the fact that you are not presented with an overall map at all times. You have to click to get the map open, this means that it’s really hard at times keeping a solid line towards the enemy.

Each unit in the game is placed in it’s own hexagon on the map and your movement is also made from one hexagon to another. It’s not a free battlefield as you see in many later strategy games. The reason for having the hexagon grids are both for development purposes but also so that you can see if your units are in range to attack or defend.

Graphically a lot has happened since Panzer General. It’s not ugly though and I think the graphics suits well for this kind of games. Sure it would have been nice with some shades and nicer unit models.

Between each mission you are presented with cut scenes of actual World War 2 footage. These scenes do create some extra excitement and are sometimes even interesting.

Panzer General is quite easy to play but hard to master. An average player who hasn’t played much strategy games can start playing after he has learned the interface, and he can do so while learning how the game works. However to actually win battles and whole campaigns on the normal to hard difficulty level it takes a lot more.

You really have to come up with a strategy to beat the computer from the beginning and even if you are successful it takes some time to finish the game and achieve victory.

Panzer General suits both strategy fans and newbies, the interface and icons in the game aren’t that great though. However it’s strangely addictive and has a nice touch to it, if you haven’t played it you definitely should. What’s also great about Panzer General is that there are still fans out there and with them a ton of downloadable scenarios and mods.


Developer: SSI (part of UBISoft)
Related Websites: Panzergeneral2.com, JP’s Panzers Wargames and History Forums
Publisher: SSI (part of UBISoft)
O/S: MS-DOS, worked with Windows 98/ME
Cost of Full Game: $16.99, Click Here To Buy
Year of Release: 1994

Requirements:
486 66 MHz, 16 MB RAM
Tested on:
Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, 512 MB RAM, ATI Radeon Graphics Card




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