Editors' reviewThe best games remain exciting years after they're released. That's definitely the case with the real-time strategy game Close Combat and its sequel, Close Combat II: A Bridge Too Far. In this installment, you command troops on the Allied or Axis side, attacking or defending strategic bridges. The game's most distinctive feature is the way it factors in the psychology of your troops: if your soldiers think an order is ridiculous or if their stress level exceeds a certain threshold, they won t obey. The two-dimensional graphics still look passable, and the sounds effects are impressively realistic, though their sample quality is low by today s standards. With all its small buttons and bars, the interface initially looks intimidating, but it's actually quite straightforward. If you have any trouble, you'll find an in-game tutorial and a bunch of help files in the Internet. WWII fans and strategy buffs will like this game a lot.
Close Combat II: A Bridge Too Far is the highly anticipated sequel to Microsoft's 1996 game, Close Combat. In this latest installment, you're in the middle of a nasty squabble for control of five strategic bridges, in a scenario that is based on an actual World War II campaign called Operation Market Garden. As you battle from the Allied or Axis perspective, realistic tactical combat and dynamic battle flow challenge you to outthink your enemy in the war room and on the battlefield. A resource-allocation model strives to make things as true to life as possible, too, rationing your resources and making your soldiers behave physically and mentally just as real troops might, given the circumstances. In addition, a Battlemaker mode is included to answer those "What if..." scenario queries and assist in multiplayer operations.