Platoon-level tank simulations are as niche oriented as they get. Microprose’s M1 Tank Platoon pioneered the genre and there were few serious contenders in its wake, so the game remained the only go-to tank sim for a great many years. I-Magic’s wonderfully intricate though visually low tech iM1A2 Abrams is a serious contender, even though the technology powering it is about two years behind the curb (unless I’m mistaken, it seems the same engine powered Hind and Apache).
Regardless, those who’ve played M1 Tank Platoon should find themselves right at home, and those who are new will have a detailed manual at their disposal (paper and PDF) to cover just about every functionality of the Abrams MBT. A multi-functional tactical map is one of the ways you can issue commands to platoons and other assets, or you can jump into individual tanks as commander, gunner or driver and get right into the thick of it. The latter of course still lets you give basic orders to your platoon via the keyboard or a pop-up menu, and feels a lot more involving since you can directly partake in the battle.
Each station has a great deal of controls, so much that it can be overwhelming and definitely less appealing to action fans. The action is set in several theaters of war – Bosnia, Iran, Ukraine – with default mission battle plans, either offensive of defensive, which give units specific roles used to accomplish various goals. Along for the ride are forces of your own choosing, both tanks or support vehicles like the M227 MRLS, added to your core strike force via sparse mission points.
The only limitation to iM1A2, besides the cubist graphics, is the limited scope. While it portrays armored warfare and weaponry in excellent detail, it fails to encompass the greater picture of modern warfare (air support or RPG infantry, for instance, are entirely left out). But what it does it does really well.
System Requirements: Pentium 60 Mhz, 16 MB RAM, Windows 95