Best of '98 Awards
by ... Maurice Fitzgerald
was a tremendous year for games and gaming hardware. We’ve
already started our best of ’98 coverage with Len’s article on hardware
Top Picks, and now I’d like to go back over the strategy, land and shooter titles
that have earned our top honors here at COMBATSIM.COM. In this article I will name our Best of ’98 winners in each category.
1998 will remain an important year for many reasons, the first of which is that Microprose finally brought us the sequel to their definitive modern armor simulation M1 Tank Platoon II. As a former tanker I couldn't help but get into this game, the same way I couldn’t help but get into SSI’s Panzer Commander. Armor has been a neglected genre, with the only tank games in the past few years having been more arcade than serious. Thankfully SSI and Microprose has corrected this oversight with two very fine sims.
It was also the year a small company from North Carolina took the gaming community by storm with their hyper realistic counter terrorist simulation, Rainbow Six. This shooter had my attention from first look during E3, and represents and a quantum leap in the first person shooter genre. Novalogic also hit us with their highly addictive shooter, Delta Force, and Zombie allowed us to jump into special operations with their Spec Ops game and mission pack add-on. Whew!
The strategy arena has been full of fun and action as well. Hasbro Interactive has launched into the fray with ports of their famous board games: Axis and Allies, Battleship, RISK and Stratego. Sierra allowed us to be “Emperor for a day” with their latest release in the Caesar series, Caesar III, an excellent builder’s strategy game.
WWII strategy games also abounded, with titles such as Soldiers At War, 101st Airborne and Commandos – Behind Enemy Lines. Fasa Interactive treated Battletech fans to an excellent introductory title with their effort, Mech Commander, an addictive real time strategy game that grabs hold of your gear from the get-go.
That’s just a few of the excellent titles we had to choose from this year, and ’99 is looking even better with sequels to many of these games in the works. Now that the year 1998 is over and we are inching towards the Millenium, let’s see what games garnered out Best of ’98 awards!
LAND COMBAT SIM
M1 TANK PLATOON II - MICROPROSE
Best of ’98 goes to Microprose and their excellent armor sim, M1 Tank Platoon II, a huge hit and proud successor to one of the most popular titles of all time. Although I didn’t do the review on this one, this sim hit a soft spot with me (as a former tanker). It brought me back to those good old days of Table Eight’s and the thick smell of cordite in the turret.
An instant hit, an instant classic and one that can only become better with time, it has had it's own issues, but overall it’s an excellent representation of modern armor teams in battle. Any fan of armor should own this one, it’s the closest you can get to real tank command without enlisting.
RUNNER UP – Panzer Commander SSI
Any fan of WWII armor will want this one as it gives you a great feeling for how tankers fought in the last Great War. With a 1.3 patch in the works to include more fixes and additions, it’s nice to see SSI show fans of this game that they’re determined to satisfy everyone.
Rainbow Six– RED STORM ENTERTAINMENT
I can’t speak highly enough for this game: what a GREAT game! Yes, it has its quirks and AI troubles, but overall this game is THE best realism based shooter ever. Using a mix of strategy and action this title exudes attention to detail, as you must plot each of your teams movement points and actions. But that’s not all, you also get to join in and take down tangos!
A hyper-realistic simulation of what counter terrorist operatives do when called upon, this game is a must for any fan of real world special operations. With some great multiplayer action to be had in both head to head as well as cooperative modes, Rainbow Six delivers edge of your seat action. As my testimonial on the gamebox says, “The immersion factor looks close to perfect” and it is a very immersive title. If you haven’t gotten it yet I recommend you do.
RUNNER UP – DELTA FORCE – NOVALOGIC
A very addictive shooter that boasts the largest outdoor environment in this genre, Delta Force not only comes with a boatload of great single player missions, but excellent multiplayer action to boot. Single play mode has you engaging in dozens of missions in real world locations, and multiplayer offers several exciting modes to test your mettle against gamers around the globe on Novalogics free service, NovaWorld.
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Last Updated February 16th, 1999