By Eric Baker
Commandos Strike Force from Eidos Interactive for the PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, and PC is a first person action game set behind the lines in Europe in 1942. The game allows the player to take the role of a Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF) such as those formed in Britain during the war. In the single player mode, the player works through a series of missions. Depending on the mission, they may control one, two, or three special operatives, often hot switching between them. The specialists are the Green Beret, the Sniper, and the Spy. Each has unique skills, abilities, and weapons. The spy, for instance, can don enemy uniforms, and infiltrate their positions.
In addition to the hot switching of characters, what separates CSF from similar games of this sort and setting is that there is less of an emphasis on German “super science.” Players spend the missions on and behind the front lines, fighting the actual German military and occupiers rather than climbing about secret bases trying to stop doomsday missiles. CSF is still far more of a game than a simulation (the missions are not historical and the characters don’t suffer from being wounded as real people would), but it does have a historical, real world “feel.”
On the other hand, some players enjoy exploring secret bases and gunning down Nazi zombies. For players of this bent there is Ubersoldier from CDV for the PC. In this game players take the role of a German army officer who fails to survive the opening cinematic. The joy of games, however, is that death is often just the beginning of the adventure. So it is here. When the player gets control of the main character, a mad Nazi scientist has raised from the officer from the dead, a process that has infused the officer with supernatural powers. It has also filled the officer with a terrible anger and thirst for revenge against the scientists who wouldn’t let him rest in peace.
There are twelve levels and no multi-player in Ubersoldier, but at only $30 the game is cheaper than the similar shooting games on the market that do have a multiplayer mode. Most of the action is straight forward shooting of German troops and supernatural enemies, but the player’s character does get various powers that are activated by rage, a commodity that is accumulated by performing cool kills such as three head shots in a row.
Somewhere in the comfortable middle between simulation and straight up fantasy is Blazing Angels from Ubisoft for the Xbox, Xbox 360, and the PC. In the game players fly up to 35 historical war planes in all the theaters of WWII. The missions are based on historical events and the physics of the planes (if not their respawn rate) is real world, plus there are no zombie planes. Players get to fly both fighters and bombers.
In the single player mode, players can issue commands to their computer-controlled wingmen. In multiplayer mode, players can voice chat with their allies, or use the controller to send short hand appeals for help or to reply to same. As much fun as the various “vs.” multiplayer modes are, it is wonderful that up to four players can take on the single player missions cooperatively.