101st Airborne in Normandy
101st Airborne in Normandy ( also called “101st The Airborne Invasion of Normandy” ) is a turn-based strategy game from Empire Interactive that relives the brutal and difficult challenges these men faced by allowing you to take on a number of different mission types like blowing up locations or generally disrupting German operations. Each mission comes complete with intel on the location of the drop zone, primary target, and any secondary targets that may be included on the mission. The goal of the mission is always to complete the primary objective, but other tasks can pop up along the way.
One of the true challenges in the game, and also a big source of frustration, is the fact that your paratroopers don’t always land in the predetermined “drop zone.” This was done intentionally to try and simulate the challenges and frustrations of these kinds of missions and the need to compare the map you are on with the overall mission map to see if you can get your bearings.
Paratrooper’s Shopping List
The action begins at your base, which is a staging area, somewhere in England. The first decision you’ll have to make is choosing which of the nine possible campaigns you want to tackle. From there you’ll hand-pick “your stick” from a wide selection of enlisted men and officers (18 paratroopers make up a stick). Each has their own stats, skills, voices, and bios. You will also need to supply your men with equipment and weaponry, and the selection of equipment and weapons available are historically accurate and very detailed.
Once on the ground, you’ll find that the game becomes part adventure, part puzzle, but mostly a slow-paced tactical wargame. The game maps are huge, but your playing map only represents 1/42 of the total campaign map you’ll need to navigate. The drops often land you off course, so it’s often a struggle to find your current location based off the small area you’re in. Unfortunately even with the redeeming auto-move feature, it can take a good twenty minutes to move across the length of playing map due the plodding speed of your paratroopers. Players that are not drawn in to the challenge of a patience-mandatory cerebral conflict may be turned off by the time it takes to slowly work their stick to the action of the next engagement.
Combat and weapons effects are surprisingly realistic without causing undue burdens to the player, and the game also does an incredible job of simulating morale issues. Enemy fire can cause your units to panic, surrender, become suppressed, or even go berserk. Morale, more than injuries, can often play a pivotal role in combat-for example, you can sometimes get enemy units to panic, or even surrender, by firing on their position even when you can’t see them. 101st is probably the first tactical squad level wargame with this scope of realism and detail. The measured pace may not appeal to all, but any true wargamer would be remiss to pass this one up.
System Requirements: 90 Mhz CPU, 16 MB RAM, 200 MB HDD Space, Win 95/98
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