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Einmal Yankee, immer Yankee!

Pacific Islands logo

Anderthalb Jahre hat Empire gebraucht, um die kriegsmüden Panzereinheiten aus „Team Yankee" wieder auf Vordermann zu bringen. Im Nachfolger verschlagt es die Grenadiere nun auf eine krisengeschüttelte Inselgruppe - was hat die Südsee an strategischen Herausforderungen zu bieten?

Pacific Islands Wir schreiben das Jahr 1995. Ost und West liegen sich mal wieder (oder noch immer?) in den Haaren, weil unverbesserliche Kommunisten das Pazifik Atoll Yama Yama besetzt haben. Gut, daß zufälligerweise gerade eine Wessi-Panzereinheit in der Nähe ist- nicht ganz so gut, daß Empire vom Konzept des Vorgängers kaum einen Millimeter abweicht. Es gilt also erneut, auf fünf Inseln gegnerische Panzer platzumachen, Munitionslager abzufackeln und Kommunikationseinrichtungen zu zerstören. Auch tanktechnisch trifft man auf alte Bekannte wie den M1 Abrams oder den (ex-) Sowjetischen T-62.

Sicher, „Team Yankee" war nicht übel, aber führt soviel Treue nicht automatisch zu einer besseren Data-Disk? Nun ja, es wurden natürlich auch allerlei Neuerungen untergebracht. So muß man sich jetzt vor Spielbeginn aus dem großen Fahrzeug- und Munitionsangebot eine eigene Kampfgruppe zusammenstellen, und für gewonnene Schlachten winken Prämien, mit denen die Waffenvorräte aufgefrischt und defekte Panzer repariert werden können. Hau-Draufs und Anti-Taktiker dürfen ihre Schießwut weiterhin ungebremst ausleben, bei Pacific Islands ist praktisch jedes Objekt zerstörbar, und hinter so mancher Häuserruine taucht plötzlich der Feind auf. Hinterhältige Naturen können den Gegner nun aber auch in ein Minenfeld rollen lassen.

Hardcore-Simulanten haben es sicher schon mit Schrecken bemerkt, auch Pacific Islands setzt voll auf Action. Der Vorteil dabei ist, daß die Bedienung hier immer noch so kinderleicht von der Hand geht wie anno "Team Yankee": Über den bewährten Vierfach-Splitscreen wechselt man mausgesteuert und blitzschnell zu allen Einheiten, wobei es völlig egal ist, wer gerade was in welchem Fenster unternimmt. Während Panzerzug zwei die Karte begutachtet, darf Nummer vier so bereits einen Hubschrauber atomisieren; dazu kann jedes Fenster auf Vollbild geschaltet werden. Echte Bereicherungen sind die nun „intelligenteren" Gegner und schnelleren 3D-Routinen, sowie eine Zoom-Funktion mit sechsfacher Vergrößerung. Auch die Missionen sind im Vergleich zum Vorgänger etwas komplexer ausgefallen – nach einem variablen Schwierigkeitsgrad und einem Mission-Builder sucht der Panzerkapitän jedoch auch im Pazifik vergebens.

Solltet Ihr hingegen eine gut spielbare Action-Simulation in hübsch bunter Grafik und mit stimmiger Geräuschkulisse suchen, dann seid Ihr hier an der richtigen Adresse: Empires Panzer lassen sich auch ohne großes Handbuchstadium dirigieren, dennoch braucht man auf die gewohnten Feinheiten wie Nachteinsätze oder Verneblungstaktik nicht zu verzichten. Zudem ist eine deutsche Version bereits im Anrollen. (pb)

Amiga Joker, May 1992, p.14

Amiga Joker
Pacific Islands
Grafik: 79%
Sound: 70%
Handhabung: 87%
Spielidee: 62%
Dauerspaß: 68%
Preis/Leistung: 67%

Red. Urteil: 70%
Für Anfänger
Preis: ca 94,- dm
Hersteller: Empire
Genre: Simulation

Spezialität: Zwei Disks, Zweitlaufwerk wird unterstützt, unmögliche Handbuchabfrage, aber schönes Kartenmaterial anbei.


Pacific islands logo

You played the great demo, now try the even better game!

Publisher: Empire
Price: £29.99
Author: The Mystery Machine
Release: Out now

H Pacific islands opefully most of you out there will know what to expect from this, after our excellent playable demo on AP coverdisk 11. Me, I love the thing to death. I am tempted to end the review here, but hey, there is this whole box to fill up yet, so why do I not explain things for those who missed the disk, making it clear exactly the reasons why I have fallen so thoroughly for such a ‘technie game’.

the follow up to Team Yankee - perhaps Empire’s biggest success yet - Pacific Islands revolves around a group of five (yes, you guessed it) islands in the Pacific ocean. A group of ‘disaffected communists (i.e. the Russians, but they are not really) have take over the island, and it is your job to lead a nearby team of tanks across them. Liberating the oppressed people, blasting the hell out of the Ruskies (sorry, rebels) and so on. Money is gained for wiping the floor with the bad guys, while your cas supply is cut off if you go around blowing up churches and the like – just imagine that it is Congress or someone you have to keep satisfied.

It is all very simple, until it comes to the bit about controlling the tanks. There are 16 of them, you see. Thankfully, they are grouped in teams of four – only the leader of each team is controlled (if that tank gets totalled, then control and view passes to the next in line) – which gives you a rair selection of firepower if you need it (especially if you build each team up out of different types of tank).
Sounds fun but perhaps complex to control, doesn’t it? Happily, though, it is not – the screen is split into four small windows (each of which can display a 3D tank view, a zoomable map of the conflict area, or a damage status screen) - and any of these windows can be increased to cover the screen any time. Movement is all achieved via the map screens, so the 3D is used purely for turret and gun control. The route through the islands is partially flexible, so strategies are very important, and after each mini conflict funds can be used (if there are any) to re-supply tanks or buy new ones to replace those which got duffed. There is also morale and that kind of guff to worry about, but I am running out of space here, and what I have not done is say why I like it so much yet.

Well, basically I like Pacific Islands ‘cos it is really good (Would you like to elaborate? – Ed.). Well, apart from the ver-so-slightly dodgy sprite scaling routines, it looks well groovy, the sound is actually essential (just try working out what the hell is happening without any sound FX) and the control of 16 tanks is ridiculously well desgined. Strategy games usually bore the hell out of me, but it is actually the strategy aspect of Pacific Islands which I have enjoyed most. When I was a kid, I always loved playing with my toy tank and now the chance to do it real (or as close as I really want to get) on the Amiga is definitely welcome. Dodging in and out fo jungle, throwing up smoke walls and using infra red to pick off the ‘blind’ bad guys on the other side (they do not have infra red capability) is a laugh a minute. It all goes to prove that there is nothing wrong with the concept of strategy games at all – just that they are usually executed in such slow and tedious way.

What else is there to say? Well, the war atmosphere is brilliantly done – the grainy graphics, understated sound and intelligently-designed icon system all serving to induce the player into a constant state of enar panic. When you have got a team of tanks just hidden right at the edge of the jungle and four Russian ones roll past, it is almost impossible not to involuntarily hold your breath and sit completely still in your seat.

For once I cannot really fault any aspect of a game. Everything has been thought through from the player’s point of view, and although it is all a bit daunting initially, playing General soon becomes second nature (well, as close to second nature as doing 16 different things at ones ever becomes, I guess). Pacific Islands is simply the closest the Amiga has ever come to those glorious World War II action adventure movies, with the added spice of a fantastic strategy system and a well orchestrated enemy force. Sheer tank heaven (look ma, no bad tank puns).
MARK RAMSHAW

Amiga Power, Issue 13, May 1992, p.95

THE BOTTOM LINE
You would play Cover Girl Poker (say) for about half an hour. You would play this one for at least half a year. And they are both the same price. You work it out. Have a break from all those cute games, platformers, arcade adventures and RPGs – join the army, you know it makes sense.
87

P E R C E N T


Pacific islands logo

Empire Simulation has brought out a sequel to Team Yankee - a mouse-driven battle sim called Pacific Islands. Martin Pond claims to have been Monty's double back in 'The Big One', so we let him try it out.

Pacific Islands One can fully understand Empire Simulation's dilemma: ever since those vodka-snorting atheists in the Evil Empire turned soft and got hip to democracy, there's been a deficit of decent villains. Obviously, there's a limit to the number of scenarios you can build around the dastardly deeds of the Welsh. But talk about unlikely scenarios: disaffected renegade Soviet communists invading an atoll in the Pacific called Yama Yama. I think I'd have less of a problem suspending disbelief if they'd plumped for maverick kickboxing nuns laying siege to the fleshpots of Amsterdam. Still, there you have it - the game puts you in charge of four armoured units as they spend an idyllic holiday island hopping and commie-bashing around the Pacific Ocean.

First of all, you're given a mission briefing and given the opportunity to set the time and target area for an airstrike. This is useful for creating a diversion, upsetting the enemy or waking you up if you've dropped off.

When you're in the battle zone, you can control all the units at once with the four-way split screen. For each unit, you can view either the status screen, the map screen or the 3D view screen. The latter shows a view from the turret, and lets you select and fire the various weapons. It also has a smart IR imaging scope - handy at night, or if you've been using smoke grenades (especially since the closest the Russkies have got to equipping their tanks with night vision is extra carrot rations for the gunners).

The map screen shows where your team is in relation to enemy units, buildings, rivers and roads. The man- made structures include: radar dishes, ammunition stores, factories (which churn out new tanks) and civilian buildings. They all look different on the 3D view, so there's no excuse for turning that paediatric hospital into a pile of rubble - make a mistake and you'll be coming home to a hefty fine! That's the horror of war, I suppose.

To move a unit anywhere, you have to decide whether you want it to travel under cover or at speed over the open plains, and then program a destination point into the map. Some thought also has to go into the unit's arrangement to make sure that it presents as small a target as possible.

Zero, June 1992, p.40

Amiga review Martin: My big beef about this game is the movement control. You can't change direction in the 3D mode, while fine control (such as would be required to negotiate a bridge, say) is impossible with the waypoint system. Hence bridges lose the strategic value they have in real life, because this last point necessitates that rivers are fordable at every point. It's a crying shame.

Furthermore, the control panic has redundant buttons everywhere. A unit's tanks can be placed in more useless formations than a synchronised swimming team, and there's a button to select each of them. And why have a button for the laser range-finder? You only touch it once, to turn it on at the start of the mission. Having got all that off my chest, the game is very absorbing when you get the hang of the controls. it's got all the best bits about Team Yankee but it's a lot more user-friendly - you can now shoot buildings and even trees! Another good point is that the authentic specifications for equipment have been used (such as the re-load speeds of the various armaments).

The simulation is very atmospheric, and is very successful in recreating 'the fog of war' – if you haven't lost a unit through friendly fire by the end of the first mission, I'll eat my tin hat. It's still a bad scenario, though.
 

GRAPHICS 83

SOUND 86

ADDICTIVENESS 78

EXECUTION 81

OVERALL
82

 
WHAT'S WHAT
TITLE
PUBLISHER
FORMAT
PRICE
RELEASED
Pacific Islands
Empire
Amiga & ST/PC
£29.99/£34.95
Out Now