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Review by: Brian Pipa
Published: March 28, 1997
“Sir, we’re taking fire,” he tells me. “Sir, we’re taking fire.” I wait until just the right moment then give the command, “Fire at will!” My platoon of iM1A2 tanks tears through the enemy and sends Saddam’s men running. Another victory and maybe even a medal. It’s all in a day’s work when you’re the commander of a platoon of the U.S. Army’s main battle tank – the M1A2 Abrams.
I just happened to watch the Meg Ryan/Denzel Washington movie Courage Under Fire last week and with it got just a glimpse into what goes through a platoon commander’s mind in the heat of battle. With Interactive Magic’s latest, I get an even better look. You are commander of a four-tank platoon of iM1A2 tanks. You give orders from the lead tank, and can also jump into any one of the other tanks or positions and take direct control. If you want to do the actual firing as the gunner, change views and let loose! Prefer driving or tactical? Change views and do that, too. The entire platoon follows your orders.
If our reviews had a Realism category, iM1A2 Abrams would take the prize. General Dynamics, the maker of the M1A2, aided the design team in faithfully duplicating the tank’s capabilities. The battlegrounds are digital-elevation-models (DEMs) which accurately recreate actual battlefields. There are no trees, bushes, and the like, just hills and level terrain for the most part. The interior of the tanks are a compromise – every aspect of relevant tank warfare is shown, but the boring, mundane aspects like boresighting your guns before battle and setting up the ballistic computer have been purposely left out.
Abrams is intense. There are so many options, commands, and views available that I became overwhelmed. I decided to go back and study the excellent 202-page manual some more. In it you can learn everything there is to know about modern tank warfare. What range can you penetrate the T-95′s front? Should you bring along M1037 Avengers or ask for M227 MRLS support? Like Prego, “It’s in there.”
Multiplayer support is said to be supported, but every time I pressed the Multiplayer button, my system would hang. Your results may vary and perhaps a patch will be out soon. Mplayer support is in the works – the Mplayer software is included on the CD and Mplayer has an Abrams notice posted on their site. I-magic Online, Interactive Magic’s foray into the world of online gaming will also support Abrams. No definite timeframe for this support is available at the present time. IPX, serial, and modem games are not supported.
Abrams probably won’t appeal to the hardcore action gamer, but for the wargame fanatics, strategy/action gamers, or those with a love of the M1A2, this may be just what you’ve been looking for. With its attention to detail and realism, iM1A2 Abrams is definitely a contender for Simulation of the Year.
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