Lead your troops to victory in Operation COM-BAT: Computer Battle Game. Pit your military might against the computer or a human opponent (via modem) on six different battlefield terrain maps including Rocky Canyon, Jungle Ruins, Desert Dunes, River Meadow, Marshland Bog and Archipelagos. Each terrain has 12 scenarios. Game pieces move, aim and fire in response to your commands, which are carried out on the battlefield map or on a tactical grid via a point-and-click interface. Air support, as well as ground troops, tanks, jeeps and supply vehicles are available.
A control panel on the lower half of the screen provides five types of strategic information, including an ordnance status table, tactical grid, ordnance controls, receive and send message lines, a game turn timer and connect timer. Information provided by the status table focuses on data on fuel and ammo supplies, defensive strength, mobility, gun range, gun power and positioning.
The ultimate goal in Operation COM-BAT: Computer Battle Game is to destroy the enemy's headquarters, which is represented by a flagged tent.
Operation Com*Bat is a basic, turn-based strategy game. Two armies stand against each other on a battlefield with the goal to destroy the enemy headquarters. With the help of a overhead map and statistics for each vehicle, players plan their moves for each turn: moving a vehicle within a certain radius and then choosing a target to fire at. Additionally there is also a powerful air strike available which uses up a whole turn. The map can be a combination between three scenarios (change what vehicles are used) and six battlefields. There are also various options for changing the game settings, e.g. the time limit of a turn or the firing behaviour of the units.
Operation Com*bat is an abstract wargame that, according to veteran wargamer M.E. Brooks, "....did nothing really well, although it was one of the first to emphasize modem play." The game does have a few innovations that are worth noting, including attractive isometric graphics and real-life terrain (which are still tile-based, but not obviously) and modem play options as M.E.B. noted. One of the more interesting features is a "timed turn-based" gameplay: you are given 240 seconds to finish your turn, so quick thinking is required.
Despite new features, at the end of the day a wargame is only as good as its AI and the range of commands, and here Operation Com*bat falls apart. The game is very limited, even considering the narrow scope of pitting a nondescript Red army against the Blue army. There is only a handful of maps you can choose to wage war on, and no randomization is possible. This makes the game much shorter than other abstract wargames such as QQP's venerable The Perfect General, and a lot less appealing. Modem play is implemented quite well, although the options still pale next to Dani Bunten's classic Modem Wars. Compared to other wargames, Operation Com*bat simply is too primitive and simplistic to warrant any attention from wargamers. Stay away from this average game, unless you are curious about what early multiplayer-focused games play like ;)
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