Blitzkrieg: Rolling Thunder
Roll into the Reich and flatten everything… again.
Exclusively following Patton’s roll into the Reich and North Africa, this mission pack from Nival offers about the same real-time combat as the original. Wrapped in new and interesting missions, you’ll get to experience the American push in ways that the original Blitzkrieg campaign failed to deliver.
Missions are more dynamic and better executed, with clever optional objectives and more defensive encounters. In one map you have the option of destroying a vital fuel depot, thereby rendering all enemy tanks immobile, or conquering an airfield to supplement your own air superiority. There’s also an excellent beach assault on Omaha that plays out quite authentically to the real event – using massive waves of infantry to overwhelm the German defenders, you command your green American GI’s in the face of massive machinegun fire and artillery barrages. Good thing there’s no morale system to discourage your men.
The biggest change from the original campaign is the lack of random missions to unlock the story-centric ones – Rolling Thunder is essentially one huge string of hand-crafted story missions. The second is how air power is treated. With the Allies having a stronger hold on air supremacy as the war raged on, and with Patton’s approach to using close-air support during tank assaults, you get to order in flight missions more often and with no waiting time in between, usually with only Flak guns as your only obstacle.
The level of difficulty is better adjusted to make the game more approachable on Normal, although you can still reduce or increase the difficulty on the fly. There still seems to be some bad balancing – when you do lose too many units early on and have to lower the difficulty to get by, Easy translates to God-mode for your tanks, while Normal just tends to feel too hard overall at times. For example, a frontal assault that will completely decimate your tanks on Normal will leave you with barely a scratch on Easy. But at least you can still use the same exploits from the original, regardless of difficulty – call in a fast flying recon plane, make mental notes of enemy Flak guns, take them out with artillery, and flatten the whole map with barrages and bombing runs afterwards. Works every time.
In moments when you’re not cursing at your own tanks for getting stuck in the scenery as they’re trying to retreat, you find that infantry charges are all but useless unless sent in huge numbers, and are much too disruptive to place alongside tanks. The line of sight is essentially a love and hate thing – you love it when you place your anti-tank gun atop a ridge and pop every tank that passes underneath it, but then quickly hate it again when your own tanks get popped from invisible blind spots in city streets (you can’t see where fire is coming from, although the enemy can see you).
A few of those familiar quirks get passed along on these mission packs, but Rolling Thunder is overall a better-than-your-average map pack kind of deal.
System Requirements: Pentium II 366 Mhz, 64 MB RAM, 16 MB Video, Win 98