By Eric T. Baker

Commandos 2: Men of Courage, by Pyro Studios and Eidos Interactive, is a tactical game of action and strategy set during World War II. It is available for the PC or Playstation 2. Players command a group of commandos who strike into enemy territory, using the characters’ diverse skills to complete a series of objective-based missions. The characters covertly enter environments based on authentic WWII locations: the heart of the Third Reich, a northern European submarine installation, the headquarters of the Japanese Army, and more.

The game is very interactive. Characters can steal enemy uniforms and weapons, climb poles, swing from cables, swim, drive and ride in vehicles, plus climb in and out of buildings, ships, and planes. There are nine different commando types, including a sniper, a demolitions expert, a seductress, a thief, and even a dog. The vehicles and weapons include jeeps, tanks, trucks, ships, bazookas, and flame-throwers. The 3-D engine allows the view to rotate through 360°. Players can watch seamlessly as the characters move in/out of buildings, submarines, and planes, and even as they swim under water. There are 10 missions spanning nine different environments during night and day with realistic weather effects. The game can be played by a single player or cooperatively over a LAN or the Internet.

Staying with World War II, the new board game Second World War At Sea: Eastern Fleet—Naval Action in the Indian Ocean, 1942, is Avalanche Press’s next entry in their Second World War At Sea series. The game is from designers Mike Bennighof and Brian Knipple, and comes with a 32″x24″ strategic map, 11″x17″ hard-mounted tactical map, 210 counters, 16-page rulebook, 16-page scenario book, 2 player aid cards, and 1 organizational card. The game simulates the British and Japanese fleets struggling for control of the Indian Ocean in World War II.

Codemasters’ Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis, another video game, is set in 1985. As President Ronald Reagan begins his second term in the White House, a little-known politician, Mikhail Gorbachev, becomes leader of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev’s appointment causes immediate tensions. In some outlying areas the situation remains dangerously unclear and the Soviet government loses any real sense of power. The game concerns one such area, the fictional Malden Islands group of Everon, where a Soviet outpost is controlled by General Ivan Vasilii Guba, who has set himself up as a warlord. The game play allows complete infantry, mobile armor, and aircraft tactical combat. The player commands up to 12 units, each with plenty of tactical and strategic options. The game is played in large and detailed 3-D environments, with striking representations of modern military units. The campaign is nonlinear with voice-over and animated cut-scenes. It also comes with a full featured mission editor that lets players create their own missions and campaigns.

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