Sudden Strike

There’s fun to be had here as long as you aren’t expecting a serious WWII sim.

Sudden Strike’s overhead perspective and WWII setting ensure comparisons will be made with the Close Combat series, but anyone looking for rugged attention to authenticity is sure to walk away from this game in bewilderment. As a real-time strategy game, Sudden Strike provides some impressive fireworks and plenty of action, but any likeness to real WWII combat is incidental.

snap218_1Sudden Strike is a battle game, pure and simple, and it’s all done in a 2D isometric perspective. The graphics are good, however, and it’s possible to run the game at high resolutions. As a wargame, you get all the hardware but are denied detailed information about how these elements interact. The skimpy manual mentions general strengths and weaknesses and that’s about it. There are no squads, platoons or companies, even though some battles will include hundreds of individual infantry, guns and vehicles.

Realism is stretched to the limit by indirect artillery fire that crushes the heaviest tanks, on-call paratrooper drops, infantry that can lay instant minefields and supply trucks that do everything from fixing a tank to building a pontoon bridge. But these features also make the game fun, if ahistorical.

The same level of playfulness is apparent in the heavily scripted campaigns and scenarios that come with the game. There is an Allied campaign that begins before D-Day with French Resistance fighters ordered to wipe out flak units so that bombers can take out a supply dump. The German campaign (Sudden Strike’s European publisher is a German company, CDV Software) includes a paratrooper drop to capture French anti-tank guns that are used to knock out a column of French tanks. Most scenarios are interesting and dynamic.

snap252_1On the downside, the tiny infantry figures are easily lost among the lavish battlefields and it’s hard to control a battle that might have a thousand troops on a side. Each soldier, vehicle, and weapon is also tracked for health, experience and ammo supply—a high degree of detail for a game that abstracts so many other factors.

Ultimately, Sudden Strike may be too complicated for many real-time strategy players and a little too C&C for hardcore wargamers. Approach with caution.

System Requirements: Pentium 133 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Windows 95

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