A Sabre Team is a squad of four elite soldiers charged with some of the toughest hostage-rescue, building-storming and the like that Western forces have ever attempted. In this turn-based strategic simulation you must choose a team of four of these from the 8 available, and take them to victory in five increasingly tough missions. Even before you get into the main gameplay, there is a lot of strategy involved in choosing weaponry, as they make different amounts of noise when used (reducing the stealth potential) and their ammunition is of varying weight.
In each turn you have limited action points per soldier, which must be used for all movement, firing and reloading moves. The maps are viewed isometrically, with a compass used to indicate the directions of movement, and where the incoming fire emanated from.
Here is a real Amiga classic. Many of you out there, who had an Amiga, have probably heard of or played Sabre Team. However, it never had any impact on the PC, because it was released in the shadow of UFO - Enemy Unknown (XCOM). Bad timing!
In Sabre Team , you control a little group of elite soldiers, who are sent out on hostage rescue missions. The plot is simple: In the first level, some terrorists have taken over an embassy, and therefore have some hostages. Your job is to infiltrate the building, kill the terrorists, and save as many hostages as possible. In the next levels, some terrorists have taken over something else, or just have some hostages. Then your mission is to kill some more terrorists, and free some more hostages. It might seem a little monotonous, but is actually very entertaining.
The genre of Sabre Team is the same as UFO and Jagged Alliance. First you pick your team of soldiers and equip them. After that is done, you go out to kill bad guys. It is a turn-based game, where all your soldiers have some action points, which they use when they shoot or move, etc. The controls are a little more troublesome than in UFO and JA. It is somewhat slower to move and shoot, and sometimes it can be difficult to have an overview of the area. But when you get used to these small downsides of the game, it is very entertaining, and can easily eat a lot of your time.
It is not an easy game. In the first level, you have to kill more than just a couple of enemies. It's a good thing that you can save every time you start on a new turn, and it's recommended that you do so, or else you probably won't return with all your men.
The sound in the game is excellent. In spite of the small size of the game, there is some speech when you are briefed before a new level. The music is of good quality, and gives a good atmosphere in the game. It will eventually get a little monotonous though.
This is an excellent game that you don't want to miss, if you are a fan of the genre. The AI and controls in the game are the weakest parts, but the atmosphere and gameplay are excellent. There's a large amount of different weapons and equipment, which as far as I know is the same as elite soldiers use in the real world. There is also a great deal of challenge in the game, so if you like it, you will probably play it for many hours. So, what are you waiting for? Download it, and try it out.
One of the best squad-level turn-based games ever made, Sabre Team was a minor hit on the Amiga for Krisalis, but failed to make any impact in the PC market, no doubt due to the (well-deserve) success of X-COM, a similar game that was occupying an obscene amount of my time-- and many others'-- in front of the computer. The timing of Sabre Team's release could not have been worse, and as a result of the head-on collision with the X-COM mania, the game never got the attention it deserves.
The plot is hackneyed, but serviceable: crazed terrorists have taken control of the American Embassy in London. It is your job, naturally, to pick a team of armed S.A.S. agents (British version of the US' SEAL team) and send them to rescue the hostages and capture the terrorists. More interesting than the plot is the inspiration behind it-- the game was inspired by the famous Iranian Embassy hostage situation that introduced the world to the grimly efficient S.A.S. squad. For many, the S.A.S (a.k.a. "Sabre Team" are the black-clad rescuers of Princes Street depicted by the BBC as the pictures of the last minutes of the siege were relayed live around the world. Sabre Team the game is dedicated to S.A.S. agents, based on as much information as the designers can get their hands on.
Gameplay will be very familiar to X-COM fans: select squad members, equip them, and send them to tactical missions played out in nicely drawn isometric overhead view. In contrast to X-COM's user-friendly interface, though, Sabre Team's interface is very opaque, confusing, and leaves a lot to be desired. Although most frequently-used commands are laid out as icons on the main game screen, many common actions (e.g. equipping your agent with a new gun) still require more than a few clicks. The game also suffers from small quirks that together prevents the game from being a totally immersive experience. For example, an agent with a 99 marksmanship score can still miss ridiculously easy shots, and enemy AI leaves much to be desired.
Despite interface woes and small annoyances, though, Sabre Team is still a great game once you get the hang of it. There are many weapons to choose from, all modelled after real-life weaponry used by the S.A.S. There are nice touches to the genre, such as the tradeoff between the number of action points and inventory items: you can load up an agent with 5 big rocket launchers, but he will likely end up with too few action points to use them all. Perfect for fans of X-COM and Jagged Alliance who are looking for a game that bridges these two classics, and don't mind some user-unfriendliness.
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