This is what will happen. In 1995 the Israeli and Arab factions will shoot each other. There will be many casualties on both sides. The situation will be somewhat confused for a while, and a slightly surprising result of the fierce fighting will be the development of two divisions of elite Iraqi Republican Guards in Northern Kuwait. The United Nations will decide to send in troops to evict the Iraqui soldiers and once more the world will be ringside for another desert rumble set to go the full 12 rounds.
Take the M1 North
So leaving apart the slightly dodgy Gulf political issues, let us have a closer look at the tanks of the next major conflict.
War in the Gulf is the third in the Team Yankee series. Like Team Yankee itself, and more recently, Pacific Islands, it gives you control of 16 of America's finest and most dangerous armored vehicles.
Again, as in the first two games, you get 10 M1 Abrams main battle tanks and six missile-firing personnel carriers. These are carefully and artistically arranged into four platoons. The control options enable you to move these platoons separately, so this, really, is the scale you have got to think about. Ranged against you are the forces of Mr Hussein's elite Republican Guard. Their company cars are t-72s, T-62s plus an assortment of lesser vehicles. Elite they may be, but they do not get the best of the Russian hardware, that is for sure. On paper and in the field your kit is better than theirs.
The problems start when you realize just how much of this not-very-good armor they have. Being Iraqis, and owning the world's fourth largest army, they do not skimp on sending their troops directly towards you. It can be quite unsettling, in fact.
Bunkers on the Gulf course
Each battle is fought out on a map which appears to be about give miles square. There are villages, woods and, certainly on the training screen, rivers. It is just like being in Aldershot, actually, except that it is not raining.
You go to the map view and position your forces as you see fit, bearing in mind the exhaustive mission briefing beforehand. This has such objectives as blowing up ammo dumps, blowing up warehouses, blowing up factories and, if you can spare the time, blowing up the enemy as well.
Until you come virtually face to face with them, enemy movement is hidden. This feature is one of the strengths of the program. You change across enemy tanks and all hell breaks loose. It is feasible to destroy your own vehicles in the heat of battle, and the fog of wr is sometimes so dense it is best to stay at home and only venture out if it is strictly necessary. After your first encounter, you are left to lick your wounds and study the recognition charts. At times during the melee you would swear that Empire have used the same sprites for the T-72s as for your M1s.
During the battles, you must fire every shot and make every movement yourself. There are no intelligent crews. The secret is to use the game's multi-view option. This splits the screen into four, and each quadrant can display anything you can see on the main display. So two platoons can show the map and two can show the tank commander's view. This is a great help when you are attacked unexpectedly. It is also a hindrance when you need to dance between platoons to co-ordinate your firing. Dive for the manual and learn those short-cuts is the best advice.
Iraq in the Kasbah
There is also the weaponry to consider. HEAT rounds, Sabot shells, TOW missiles. It is amazing what they can do nowadays. Each has a different role, and if you know which to use, you will probably live longer.
After each bout you need to re-arm and re-equip your team. This is done by spending a huge pile of cash. You can vary the armaments of your platoons and you can juggle with their strengths as well. What you cannot do is go AWOL with the dosh.
All in all, War in the Gulf is as good as to Pacific Islands and slightly better than Team Yankee. This is hardly surprising since it is virtually the same game. In fact, all that differs between it and Pacific Islands is the color of the surface your are driving across. Instead of a putting green, it is now a beige hospital carpet. The enemies use exactly the same equipment and you have precisely the same set up yourself. The missions are different, but not much. Hence the woods, villages and streams.
It is a pity that the game does not advance what is a fun and playable system. There are no helicopters, no new units and no new objects. A large city covering the entire map would have been challenging, for example.
Although there is nothing new here, the missions do seem harder, which does not sound like war in the gulf to me. Apparently, in real life the worst the Iraqis did was damage four M1s. Four out of nearly 2,000, that is. But you are face with quite a task here. Unless you name is Schwarzkopf, moving and firing your 16 vehicles will tax you sufficiently by mission three.
Overall, this will appeal to die-hard Team Yankee fans and maybe those who have never played any of the series. It is the best of the three, but it is just not different enough.
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