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M1 Tank Platoon logo

MicroProse, Amiga 29.99

M1 Tank Platoon I n MicroProse's latest sim you take command of four M1 Main Battle Tanks and a host of other infantry vehicles! With each tank having four positions to command (two Tank Commander positions, a Driver and the all-important Gunner), things could get too complex without the automatic control. Using the battlefield map and mouse control, you can rapidly order either individual tanks or the whole platoon to go to a certain location, adopt a particular formation, turn on smoke, engage the enemy and a host of other Tank-relevant commands.

In theory you can control the entire battle from the comfort of home base but it does no harm to mix it up with the other. Indeed, the computer controlled M1s are pretty dumb initially, so if a battle is not going your way you can join in and even the odds, especially if you have practised on the training ranges or taken part in single conflicts. The briefing before each mission details objectives, enemy and allied forces and shows the terrain (randomly constructed each time for long-term appeal).

Once you have been briefed and your crew chosen it is off to the battle! Through the main options screen you can take part in a number of situations: Static Gunnery (battle against passive, static tanks), Moving Gunnery (taking on passive but fast moving targets), Single Engagement (one of six situations to choose from) and Start Campaign (a full-blown war with up to 99 missions).

Alongside the M1s (depending on the mission) there can be infantry teams with anti-tank weapons and fast moving light attack vehicles to help on the ground, smoke and highly explosive-launching artillery, and aerial support from A-10 aircraft, Scout helicopters and Apache gunships. Even with all this, things can go horribly wrong as the enemy gets a lot smarter with each new level.

Zzap, Issue 67, November 1990, p.83

Robin Hogg Those of you expecting F-19-type graphics might be disappointed: the tanks are neat polygon shapes and it all runs very smoothly indeed, but graphic variety is limited and unspectacular. As with most MicroProse sims the excitement comes from the great sense of atmosphere, there is always plenty going on and you don't want to run into trouble too fast! What matters most is the attention to detail in the game design: the mouse-driven map works like a dream and the daunting task of leading four-plus fighting vehicles is easily mastered. Watching the fighting from the map is a highly engrossing occupation in itself; the vehicle orders system works really well (simply moving into attack positions is a demanding task). Joining in is even more fun and the perfect way to experience the claustrophobia of tank combat. It is a shame there is not a wide variety of mission types other than the basic six on offer (minefields would have been a novel feature) but the higher skill levels are tough enough to ensure a very strong challenge.
Actually controlling the tank is surprisingly easy the ultimate in automation with only gunnery being particularly demanding. But the strategy of moving your mini-army is difficult and highly engrossing. When the Russians start a full-blown assault you really do find yourself panicking! Top marks to MicroProse!

There are no plans for a C64 version as yet.

A wealth of options! Massive, informative and well presented 206-page manual. Four skill levels. External views. Keyboard overlay, Save/Load function. Slick, user-friendly mouse-driven map display, above average static screens.
Exterior graphics lack detail and use bland colours, but are fast enough. Instrumentation is extremely detailed.
Teeth-grinding main tune, solid blast and explosion effects but let down by average tank movement sounds.
Not as complex as it first seems and thanks to the manual it is relatively easy and quick to get used to the systems. The highly accessible tank command/map display helps a lot.
Doesn't have the mass of options and flexibility of Stealth Fighter but the generating of random maps with each new mission, a full blown Campaign option and five increasingly difficult skill levels ensures depth to keep you playing.
Hasn't got the graphic thrills of Stealth Fighter but it is deep, demanding and well worth the money.