Considered by many wargamers to be the best in the series, Close Combat 2 is a classic real-time tactical-level wargame from Atomic Games, makers of the renowned V for Victory games. Adrenaline Vault's wargame expert Pete Hines explains in detail what makes this title worthy of being in our Hall of Belated Fame: |
"In Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far (ABTF), you have the opportunity to test your hand at commanding either German or Allied troops in [Operation Market Garden, a] bloody struggle for control [during World War 2]. As the Allies, you try to make the push successful and rewrite history by bringing the attack to a close and seizing that final bridge at Arnhem. If you play as the Germans, your task will be to halt the advancing Allies at all costs and keep them from controlling this all-important corridor into the Fatherland. This sequel to Close Combat has both similarities and differences from the original, and offers some strong military strategy gameplay.
ABTF really offers three ways to play: battles, scenarios, or campaigns. Each relates to how much of the map -- which shows the key points of Operation Market Garden -- you play at a time. A battle is a single skirmish that takes place in one location. A scenario is a series of interrelated battles, in which your performance in one battle determines your troop strength and position for the next battle. Scenarios comprise a larger portion of the overall operation. A campaign is made up of several scenarios linked together and includes a major part of the operation, or can be the entire Operation Market Garden, from beginning to end.
Each battle map has a number of objectives spread throughout the landscape. These objectives will be controlled by one side at the beginning of the battle. If you are playing the "battle", then you have no choice over which soldiers to use, but you can determine where you want them to begin the battle. If you are playing a scenario or campaign, you can pick and choose, up to a point, the type and number of units you'll use in the upcoming battle. Depending on which side you are playing and whether you are defending or attacking, you will have a lot or only a little room in which to maneuver your units before the fighting begins.
Commanding your troops is largely a point-and-click affair. Right-clicking on any of your units brings up a menu of options for that unit. By pointing to a location on the map (i.e, at a building or enemy troops), you can move that unit to a particular location or ask him to fire his weapon. Individual soldiers are not controlled, but rather you command a group of units, whose size can vary. You can order troops to move, move fast, sneak, fire, lay smoke, defend, or hide. Moving means heading towards the indicated location while looking for enemy units while move fast is a quicker move and with less regard for locating or firing at the enemy. The sneak command is used to move at a much slower rate with the objective of reaching the target undetected by enemy forces, and defend means you want them to stay put and, well...defend. The hide command means they'll look for the best cover in their immediate area and try not to be seen (good for ambushes).
If you're ready for new and different challenges, use the game's "battlemaker" feature to construct your own battle. Starting from one of the maps provided, you can determine which and how many units each side will have. You can also choose where to place objectives on the map and how much each one is worth. Using the battlemaker you can see if a small, but experienced and heavily-armed group of soldiers can hold off a larger, but more lightly equipped force.
This game was an awful lot of fun to play and very addicting. It's a very solid four star game and should get serious consideration for adding to your game library. It was the type of game that I'd play and end up looking at the clock and realizing that three or four hours had just gone by without me noticing it. There are very few games of this type out on the market that kept my attention the way ABTF did. For those that have played the original, this game offers a ton of improvements. I think Atomic did a great job of making a good thing even better, without messing up what they had already established. This is definitely a sequel worth getting, and a great game for anyone looking to make an entrance into this genre. "Reviewed by: Underdogs