Sudden Strike Review
publisher: CDV Software Entertainment
developer: CDV Software Entertainment
P200, 32MB RAM, 500MB HDD
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Jan 23, 01
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Nikola "Bunny" Zakic
Real time strategies are indisputably one of the most popular computer game genres. Their secret of success probably lies in the fact that they can easily be combined with other genres, and hence attract various types of players. RTS games vary from "serious" war simulations which are close to turn based strategies (Close Combat serial), and squad based strategies with a large amount of RPG elements, to the ones where you take up arms and join your units in battle (Battle Zone and clones).
CDV did none of this. They created Sudden Strike a classical 2d real time strategy, simple, yet incredibly fun, which made me wonder why we ever needed all that "revolutionary" hardware, when you can have great fun and forget about our duties, winter, outside world and its population without prefixes claiming that something is "ultra", "Mega" or "Giga". I am not against technology advance, I just think it's smarter to use the accessible potentials than to wine about better performances and make games that would be playable on some hardware due to appear in a couple of years.
Sudden Strike deals with second world war and lets you command allied forces (British, American and French), Russians, and Germans through three campaigns (36 missions altogether).
The Spartan animations, simple menus with little options and complete lack of support for modern hardware may repel you at first. The missions are conceived as reenactments of important historical battles, but as the designers failed to transfer the real terrains, you will hardly be able to tell what crucial moment of human history you are participating in. It also lacks a side story that would make the game more involving and make you finish it. The missions are completely independent and linear. However, there are some tied missions in which you can only use the men and equipment you saved from the last mission.
The flaws I mentioned could hardly influence my good impressions. What makes this game great are the fantastic atmosphere and playability.
The fact that it doesn't use 3D objects and demanding effects enabled this game to present great number of units on screen without a glitch. Shogun: Total War was unprecedented on this field, but I think Sudden Strike will move the barrier one step further. Several hundreds of units will always be present on screen, and statistics will barely ever show less than 100 units (in smaller operations). The units are tiny. If you own anything less than a 17" screen, you'll feel handicapped because you will have a hard time trying to tell different types of infantry apart. Different resolutions (1024x768 max.) won't fix this because lesser resolutions suffer from small sight range, and larger resolutions will make all infantry look the same. As opposed to tiny yet very detailed infantry (if you look closer you'll see that officers have wider pants, or that the soldiers light a cigar when bored) the tanks are easily recognizable and look great. Unit animations are another upside of the game.
As for the available arsenal of military hardware, it's neither impressive, nor disappointing. The infantry is armed with rifles, snipers, SMGs, bombs, and anti-tank weapons. Officers can only use a gun. You'll see recon vehicles, jeeps and trucks carrying soldiers or pulling cannons. Tanks are typical for each of the sides and you'll have no trouble in distinguishing Shermans from Panthers. There is also an assortment of different types of artillery: field gun, howitzers, and Russian Kacusa. Naval units aren't present, because all missions take place on land, and you cannot directly control the air force (you can only set target points for bombers scouts or paratroops, and the computer will take care of the rest).
8.7 Very Good
Atmosphere and dynamics of Sudden Strike are a reason why computer games remain more interesting than adventure novels;
Certain standards like multimedia, complex storyline and terrain versatility have been completely disregarded.