Battle Command logo

Publisher: Ocean Price: £24.99

When Carrier Command was released a couple of years ago mouths dropped open in amazement. It was one of the few games that could honestly be described as awesome!
It wasn't until weeks later that everyone realised it had bugs and playability flaws. Realtime Software, the creators of that epic, haven't done anything since then, except work on Battle Command which, they hasten to point out, is not a sequel. It just had the word 'Command' in it.

Battle Command will appeal to lovers of Battlezone, and to northerners who harbour resentment against southeners. Why? Because the plot has north facing south deadlocked in an Ultra War.
You, as a Northener in your one-man tank full of sophisticated electronics, are dropped behind enemy lines and have 15 or so missions to try to alter the course of the war. Or get blown up, which is the more likely.

The missions on offer range from straight blasting exercises to destroying particular objectives. You're also racing to pick up a satellite from behind enemy lines, leaving time-bombs on runways, shelling inaccessible bases, and - possibly the most varied - defending a bridge while your own forces pull back across it, then getting across yourself and blowing it up.

You can tool up with a number of infra-red and radar guided missiles, a time-bomb, anti-missile lasers, a mortar, wire guided missiles, IR decoys, chaff, and anti-armour systems. You don't get mines though, which is a serious oversight. You can't install everything because you only have four weapon pods, so armament needs to reflect mission requirements.

Once you get dropped off and are under way, you'll notice the screen has become 320 x 200 pixels - i.e., sized to suit the American market. A scanner, your weapon pods, speed indicators and the main 3D display outside are your primary sources of information, as well as a damage display screen just like Carrier. Except you can repair damage, and there is no way you can re-arm, capture armament, or organise a supply drop - something of a pity really.

The 3D graphics are smooth and decidedly impressive when there are large numbers of tanks on the move at once. They travel at a fair lick too, and the action is always thick and fast. Geographical features are minimal, the odd tree and hill here and there. You cannot drive up the hills or hide on the down-slopes and ambush anyone, but you can disappear behind them to avoid being shot at.

The missions make the most of what is, despite the interesting missiles and weapons, a simple game. If you were hoping to get a tank version of Carrier Command then you're in for a disappointment, since it comes across more as Battlezone with solid graphics and missions.

It is a good game however, and completing the 15 or so missions will take you no little time. These are what lend variety, because one minute you're sneaking towards a hidden base, ready to fire mortar shells of it because you can't actually see it, and then the next you are frantically trying to defend a bridge while your own troops straggle across.

If you were hoping for a sequel to Carrier Command, you've done so in vain, but if what you were looking for was an all action, tank blasting, monster battle simulation, Christmas has just arrived.

Battle Command logo Amiga Format Gold

Ocean £24.99 * Joystick, mouse or keyboard

Jack Dempsey was known as the Manassa Mauler. He had a knock-out punch, could take a good shot and fought on until the bitter end. Maybe, just maybe, that's why Battle Command's tank star is called The Mauler, an ultra-sophisticated armoured weapon platform which is sent on suicidal missions that, with a touch of luck and some heavy planning, might just be feasible.

Battle Command blends tense tank action with serious cerebral activity, 15 tests of close-combat mouse control test your planning skills, weapons selection and pure guts when the shells start to fly.

User Friendly Armour
BC is played from the traditional tank sim' viewpoint. Sitting behind a viewing screen, you survey the battlefield and use a roving cursor to select the weapons and other systems. Pushing and pulling the joystick/mouse moves the Mauler, with the right and left button switching control from systems to driving. Sights for the missiles and cannon pop up automatically, locking-on with refreshing speed, making the Mauler a very user-friendly tank indeed.

The whole game evolves around the map - one of the F-Key commands. You have to calculate the best routes between mission objectives and pick up zones. Used in conjunction with a radar and binoculars this allows long-range planning, while the fighting takes place from the tank's viewpoint.

When the enemies start blazing, the Mauler takes damage no matter how careful you are. Luckily the Mauler's a tough swine and it takes masses of hits before finally exploding. Avoid enemy fire by utilising your long-range fire to its maximum potential.

Destruction Jobs and Escort Services
The missions vary in nature as well as subject. Some are destruction jobs where you take out an enemy base, some have you escorting convoys, others set you the task of recovering valuable military secrets from the hands of the enemy. Each needs a coherent plan and its own special skills.

The graphics for Battle Command are a visual weapon in the war of gaming addiction. With four different detail settings, for speed purposes, the game is well constructed giving the player choice. In mega-mode, obviously the slowest of the four, the vehicles are superb with easily recognisable A-10 Thunderbolts, trucks and trains. When the signal lights work at a level crossing, you know that you're in for a tank-busting treat. A fact that even the lame-ish tune and average sound can't effect.

That's Entertainment
Battle Command is not only fun but it can be played as either a one-off blast or an on-going sequence with disk-saved victories. BC has a depth of entertainment often lacking in high-tech shoot-outs. The number of missions may prove to be a hindrance in the long term, but some of these are incredibly tough. The game brings strategy, sim and shooting together brilliantly. It has enough abjectly weird locations to make exploring the world fun and there is an excellent range of firepower that promotes real experimentation.

You will find learning the strategies behind Battle Command is only half the fun and being in control of the battle is even better.

Battle Command: Tank interface explanation
  1. Weapon control window - here you get to see what weapons pod you are currently using and its status.
  2. Weapons pods - four weapons pods are available on the tank. With either mouse clicks or keyboard controls you can switch armaments in the heat of battle. Only one can be fired at a time but defensive utilities can be left running.
  3. Scanner - on collection missions e.g. satellite, this is used to guide you to the correct location for the rendezvous.
  4. Pick up button - summons the helicopter to the pick up point.
  5. & 6. Fuel and speed - shows how much fuel the tank has (left). Shows speed and direction (right).
  1. Auxilliary monitor - used for wire-guided missile control, the binoculars and rear-view camera.
  2. Binoculars - used for long-range scanning.
  3. Night-sight - turns night into day.
  4. Radar display - shows obstacles, enemies and incoming fire. The most essential bit of the tank's kit - after the weapons system!
  5. Compass - helps bad map readers to get lost, and good ones to reach their target.
  6. Rear-view camera.

Battle Command
The plans have been laid for the next tank attack. You have to find and destroy an enemy base, make sure you are in possession of all the facts before embarking.
Battle Command
Here you tool up before going to war. There is a weight limit on the tank, and only four pods available. Make sure you have the tools to do the job, as many have a specific usage.
Battle Command
The chopper flies in low and fast. It slings the tank out of the back and then the battle begins. From here on, you take command.
Battle Command
The drop zone is marked as an X with a down arrow and the extraction point an X with an up arrow. The tank is you, any special points of tactical interest are marked in white.
Battle Command
This mission, a destruction job, forces you to run a gauntlet of enemy installations. Using guided-missiles and cannon they must be dispatched before they damage your Mauler.
Battle Command
Before reaching the main target, it's worth checking your status. Badly damaged weapon launchers could ruin the mission and your chances of survival.
Battle Command
The radar-guided missiles have hit the target and destroyed it. The enemy are closing in. It is time to turn tail and head for the drop zone.
Battle Command
check that map, find the drop zone and drive like a demon. The ammo' will be getting low and the damage toll will be high, so keep moving and watch the radar for incoming fire.
Battle Command
It's a terrifying experience waiting for the helicopter. The enemy close in as the heli' lands. Keep dodging, keep shooting and shadow that helicopter.
Battle Command
Once the evac' unit arrives head for the rear of the transport and you're automatically rescued. Breath freely once more as you head homewards.
Battle Command
The chop flies you off to safety. Take this time to admire the nice vector work, looking down on the tanks whose trap you have escaped, watch it and weep suckers!
Battle Command
At the end of each mission, your commanders give out information regarding the success of your attack, the number of kills and most importantly your score.
Battle Command
After a completed mission commanders are offered the chence to save their commander to a separate disk. This way one man may, if very lucky, complete all 15 missions.
Battle Command
At the front end of each game is a choice of which mission you will take on. You can choose any mission regardless of previous encounters, victories or defeats.

Battle Command logo Amiga Joker Hit

Nach dem Mega-Hit "Carrier Command" war es gut Zwei Jahre eigenartig still um Realtime. In Wahrheit hat man aber schon ernsig am Nachfolger gebastelt... Ergebnis: Die Welt hat einen neuen Klassiker!

Für Battle Command wurde die Schlacht vom Wasser auf's Land verlegt: Statt eines Carriers steuert der Spieler jetzt den "Mauler-Tank", einen futuristischen Panzer. Natürlich herrscht gerade mal wieder Krieg, und zwar der Einfachheit halber zwischen "Norden" und "Süden". Zu den insgesamt 15 Einsätzen wird der Mauler von Stealth Choppern (riesigen Transporthubschraubern) hinter die feindlichen Linien gebracht, von da an muss man sich alleine durchschlagen. Ist die Aufgabe dann erledigt, drückt man einfach auf ein "Heli-Hol-Knopf", und der Chopper bringt einen wieder nach Hause.

Auch sonst stehen dem Spieler alle Kontrollen zur Verfügung, die so ein Panzer hat und braucht: Radar, Kompass, Waffen-, Sprit- und Geschwindigkeitsanzeige, sowie ein Multifunktions-Monitor, der als Fernglas, Rückspiegel, Infrarotsichtgerät und Missileanzeige dient. Waffen gibt's natürlich auch, und zwar zwölf verschiedene Offensiv- und Defensiv-waffen - Bordkanone, diverse Raketen und Bomben. Mörser, Flares, Chaffs, ja, sogar ein Raketenabwehrsystem.

Die gut durchdachte Steuerung kann ihre Verwandtschaft mit der von "Carrier Command" nicht verleugnen, z.B. wird wieder mit dem rechten Mausknopf umgeschaltet (Cursor/Steuerung). Einige Funktionen, etwa das Bremsen, hat man aber auch auf die Tastatur gelegt. Die Missionen sind ebenso komplex wie abwechslungsreich und werden natürlich (schön abgestuft) immer schwieriger. Gegner treiben ebenfalls in reicher Zahl ihr Unwesen, sowohl zu Lände als auch in der Luft wimmelt es von "Kanonenfutter". Wer gegen die feindliche Vielfalt bestehen will, muss nicht bloss einiges an "Waffengeschick" mitbringen, sondern sollte auch mal die eine oder andere taktische Überlegung anstellen, ehe er sich Hals über Kopf ins Kampfgetümmel stürzt!

Die Landschaften stecken voller kleiner Details und wirken dadurch ziemlich realistisch, auch Tag- und Nacht-wechsel wurde nicht vergessen. Überhaupt ist die 3D-Vektorgrafik rundum gelungen, schön schnell (bei Veringern der Detaildichte sogar schneller) und - vor allem bei einigen Zwischengrafiken - ziemlich "carrier-mässig". Es gibt viele Aussenansichten (nicht bloss zum Angucken, sondern auch zum Spielen!). Schwenkkontrollen, Zoomfunktionen - einfach alles, was das Herz begehrt. Der Sound ist knackig und recht wirklichkeitsnah, wer ihn sich trotzdem nicht anhören mag, kann ihn auch abstellen.

Was Battle Command aber vor allem anderen auszeichnet, ist die gelungene Kombination aus einfacher Handhabung und anspruchsvoller Gestaltung bei viel, viel Spieltiefe. Wer also schon "Carrier Command" mochte, kann hier praktisch blind zuschlägen - und wer mochte "Carrier Command" eigentlich nicht? (mm)

Battle Command logo

Ocean, Amiga £24.99

Following the bug-ridden F-29 Retaliator, Ocean are once more trying to prove their worth at flight sims with Battle Command. Hovering between shoot 'em up and sim, it's a tearaway game with plenty of action - but is it just too complex for those who want to shoot and blast?

Set in the near future, the northern and southern armies are at war. Northern military command have given you a swanky new Mauler tank and orders to go behind enemy lines and cause as much trouble as possible.

The Mauler is set to change the face of the war. It's heavily armoured, being able to withstand direct hits from enemy shells. In addition to the 105mm gun it carries, there's a variety of missiles, mortars and defensive gadgets to be bolted on, giving you a huge advantage on the battle field.

The game is spit up into a series of progressively difficult missions, you can start on any mission, but it's advisable to work your way through them from the start, as extra weapons are only obtainable on completion of certain sections.

It's the missions that keep Battle Command's a cut above the rest. Instead of the standard go-to-position-X-and-destroy-everything-there type scenario you're called upon to rescue diplomats, recover downed satellites - but of course, quite a bit of mass destruction is still required.

The graphics are very impressive, and so they should be. A decent amount of polygons are used on most objects, and they move fast. Enemy installations look very good, especially when they explode. The action rarely slows down, which is a credit to the game's programmers at Realtime Software.

With it's speed and varied action, Battle Command is a very good game, though slightly superficial. Don't expect a simulation, expect a fast, thinking man's shoot 'em up.

Control is mouse only, which may prove a problem for the average joystick toting shoot 'em up freak - but, in fact, it's easy. Push the mouse forward to accelerate, back to slow down and left and right to steer. The left mouse button fires weapons, and the right button gives you control of a cursor used to operate other features of the tank. The usual external views are included, though there's hardly enough time to look at them.

Battle Command logo Zzap! Sizzler

Ocean, Amiga £24.99

The Ultra War is set on the New World. a planet dominated by two warring superpowers - namely the North and South. Forces are so evenly matched that however many people die neither side comes any closer to victory or defeat. The latest hope for breaking this 'forever war' is the Mauler supertank, which can be sneaked over enemy lines in a Stealth Chopper for devastating surprise attacks.

There are 15 missions which can be attempted in any order, with a secret final one when the rest have been completed. Although there's plenty of external views of the tank, the best view is from the cockpit. Keys, joystick or mouse can be used alone or in combination. The Mauler is capable of 90mph, and equipped with sophisticated radar (the colour of dots showing whether they're enemies, buildings, etc). There's also some add-on hardware: a Rear View Camera, Nightsight, Binoculars (up to 8x magnification) and a Morning Scanner, showing where a selected object is. These special views can be shown on the Mini-Screen in the centre of the control panel.

The basic Mauler is completely unarmed so before each mission you have to fill four weapons slots. To fire normal, unguided shells the basic (non-rotating) turret can be armed with 60 shells. Additionally the turret can fire missiles. The Banshee Surface-to-Surface Missile comes in heatseeking and radar-guided types: the latter is more accurate but also bulkier, so less can be carried. The Phoenix Surface-to-Air missile is similar, but targeting is more complex where you must use the Mini-Screen to move the cursor into a lock-on. And the Dragonfly is completely remote controlled.

More simplistic is the K40 mortar: shells are thrown upwards and forwards to hit objects hiding behind hills, for example. The K90 is an improved version, with each mortar splitting into eight bombs mid-flight. But the most powerful weapon is the base wrecking Sleeper Time Bomb!

The Mauler can also be equipped with defensive weapons such as flare and chaff launchers to decoy heatseeking and radar-guided missiles respectively. These can be set to launch when you press fire, or once every minute (quickly exhausting supplies). More impressive is the SLAM laser - once activated, this fires automatically but can only take on one missile at a time. The SLAM is good for 80 shots. Rather less defensive is the amazing anti-armour Skeet weapon: fired from the rear this zooms over the battlefield until it locks on a target, then explodes directing a lethal shell at the target.

If you get hit, systems nearest the point of impact can be damaged or knocked out: anything from weapons to instruments to fuel. Aiming to inflict heavy damage is a huge range of enemy forces, including various types of tanks, gunship helicopters, scout helicopters, spotter aircraft, gun emplacements, anti-tank jets, armoured cars and multiple-rocket launchers.

Missions range from simplistic kamikaze blast-'em-ups to rescuing hostages to diverting trains (!) to escorting truck convoys. There's a satellite to find, a bridge to defend and at the end of each mission you must reach the pick-up point to be flown out by chopper. You then have the option of saving to disk, with successful missions adding to the range of available weapons.

Robin Hogg What Battle Command lacks in realism it more than makes for in playability, general polish and some outstanding vehicle graphics. Realtime have ignored the Amiga's limitations and gone over the top on the number of on-screen polygons with no noticeable speed loss. The Stealth Chopper looks excellent, as do the A-10s, but my personal favourite is the Apache, a great sight to see taking off when I started taking out its base. Fancy graphical effects don't make up for a lack of 'driving' realism but they're impressive nonetheless. What got me excited about Battle Command was the considerable variety of mission styles and demands. There's only 15 missions (plus one secret mission) but it's not all blasting as stealth and tactics are definitely needed.
Search-and-rescue missions involve (hopefully!) minimal contact with the enemy as you hunt for a satellite or a hostage, Escort Duty is literally that with the Mauler on the defensive for once in an attempt to protect a fuel convoy, while attempting a direct assault in the Hostage mission is doomed to failure. With the advent of tactics comes new, tougher and markedly different attack tanks with each successive mission, making for engrossing stuff. Roll on the Mission Disks.
Stuart Wynne Battle is a surprising sort of game considering Realtime's strategic reputation. Frequent, close-in tank combat resembles Battle Zone more than anything else, a little unrealistic considering the long range gunnery of modern tanks.
Team Yankee, let alone MicroProse's M-1, has a more realistic feel. As for actual strategy, there's none, the fifteen main missions are linked only by their offering bonus weapons like a typical coin-op.
Sim buffs will be a little disappointed, but everyone else will probably love it. The missions are packed with variety, ranging from simplistic blast-'em-ups to stealthy sneaking around to tricky puzzlers. Then there's the glorious range of whiz-bang weaponry - the remote control missiles are particularly good fun and vital for some missions. But the enemies are the real stars, a huge range of targets from fixed gun emplacements to attack jets. The complex way they behave is fascinating.
After the stunning helidrop, in-game graphics seem a little disappointing: lots of flat green plains and a dull Mauler tank. They grow on you, though, being extremely fast with the numerous enemy objects all packed with detail. The monochromatic nightsight is also good fun and adds to gameplay.
Battle isn't as stunning as Carrier was, but it's a lot more playable and well worth getting.