iM1A2 Abrams

iM1A2 Abrams
Platforms: PC
Publisher: Interactive Magic
Developer: Charybdis Enterprises
Genres: Simulator / Tank Simulator
Release Date: 1997
Game Modes: Singlepalyer / Multiplayer

Snap57Ugly on the outside…

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

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  1. Agathosdaimon says:

    The game did actually have air support on both sides – apaches, kiowas, a10s on the us side i do recall, and though the infantry was just a static sprite near a transport , it did exist and did fire antitank rounds

  2. Daniel Higdon says:

    Hello, I was one of the developers of the game.
    iM1A2 was done with a different engine from Apache, etc. We (Charybdis) developed that engine in-house. We did use iMagic’s multiplayer connection code and copy protection, because they wanted us to be compatible with their network and had very strong views on copy protection.

    iM1A2 used a full software renderer, and the target machine (a 486DX-33, if I recall correctly) dictated the level of detail we could put in. Yeah, I think “cubist” is absolutely fair. Those clouds, man. Sigh.

    But it ran smooth as glass on a Pentium Pro. 🙂

    We focused on being able to see a long way off (our competitors’ horizons were WAY shorter than ours – we could actually see out a few kilometers) and on accurate gunnery modeling. If you knew how to read the mil marks in your gunsight, you could hit your targets without using the laser range finders. This was useful, because many of the enemy tanks had laser sensors, and could pop smoke if they detected they were being ranged. iPanzer’44 was the same way. Those gunsights were as close to realistic as we could get them, though I didn’t find a lot of documentation in a language I could read on how those Russian rangefinders worked, so that’s more of an educated guess based on photographic evidence.

    I think a lot of people preferred the gameplay of Armored Fist, though I think we were a better simulation. It depended on if you were looking for a tank sim or an action game featuring tanks.

  3. Agathosdaimon says:

    thanks for this commen Daniel – i played iM1a2 to death when i came out, explored everything it had to offer and those dreaded fictional t95 tanks were hard to fight i recall

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