The video game world has seen many war games, often realistic and 3D fighting experiences usually set in our own time or far into the future. Force 21 takes place in the year 2015 and offers a war scenario based on year 2000 knowledge about China and Russia with tactical improvements in warfare.
In the front of the user's manual, a message from a retired general says it all. He goes through major points of the game and states: "Force 21 lets players see and actually work through the challenges of small unit mounted land combat as it might happen in 2015." Force 21 will not have you controlling fleets and armies but rather small units that make strategic attacks against the enemy forces.
From the start menu of the game, you choose between the single- or multi-player game. The single-player mission begins as you are fleeing your current position and heading to another area on the map to rendezvous with another unit. You begin with Russian tanks but, before you start the action, go through three phases of preparation: Mission Briefing, Mission Setup and Intelligence. All three phases give you a great idea of exactly what you need to accomplish prior to engagement on the battlefield.
When you finally do start the action phase, you have full control over all platoons and can see exactly where the enemies are on the map (when you get close enough). Be aware that, even though an enemy seems far away, they can be within firing range and you can take a hit if not careful. Although it's easy for you to see when you've destroyed or damaged an enemy, it's hard to tell when you've been damaged yourself. Often times you may find a unit destroyed very quickly without much time for thought. Although the strategic mode offers easier view of the terrain and enemies approaching, it isn't as much fun to watch but it does make the game easier to play.
"Force 21 is thus realistic as it looks to the future," General Frederick M. Franks, Jr. states. The scenario of Force 21 is not far from reality; in fact, it's quite factual regarding Russian and Chinese history and capabilities. The game is a little too realistic, in fact, and often feels like you're playing out a military training scenario. For some, though, this is all the more reason to buy the game. Force 21 suggests a pessimistic future but, on the other hand, an optimistic and peaceful future wouldn't make for a very good video game.
Graphics: Very good graphics with detailed views of explosions and tanks. The scenery is all three dimensional although the effects are somewhat diminished when playing desert scenes.
Sound: The music and sounds of Force 21 are fairly good. The explosions of tanks aren't heard every time. Each time you move your tank the commander says a phrase like "Move out!" or "Copy!"
Enjoyment: Although the graphics are good and the sounds work most of the time, the game isn't very much fun to play. It starts out enjoyably due to the nice intro and all the tactical information but, once the actual gameplay gets underway, it gets boring quickly.
Replay Value: The replay value of Force 21 is higher only because of the multi-player options.
How to run this game on modern Windows PC?
People who downloaded Force 21 have also downloaded:
G.I. Combat: Episode 1 - Battle of Normandy, Firefighter Command: Raging Inferno, Flashpoint Germany, Gary Grigsby's Pacific War (2000), Gangsters 2: Vendetta, Etherlords, Etherlords 2, Fragile Allegiance (a.k.a. K240)
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