No Surrender: Battle of the Bulge Download (2005 Strategy Game)

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Lead either the Axis or Allied forces to victory in this real-time simulation of World War II's Ardennes Offensive. More than 85 units are available to command, including artillery, tanks, rifleman, and air support. As the battles rage on, players can pause the game at any time to issue multiple orders per unit. The 3D terrain was modeled from authentic maps and photos from the war, with inclement weather conditions affecting troop movement. The game features three single-player campaigns, 20 real-life missions, and four-player support via LAN or Internet on ten different maps.

No Surrender: Battle of the Bulge is a tactical World War II strategy game published by Ubisoft under the brand name Kudosoft. No Surrender is played out in twenty single-player missions. The multiplayer version of this title has three different game modes and supports a simultaneous mission of up to four players. The three modes are deathmatch, capture-the-flag, and "Conquer."

The time period starts with the Allies' advance a few months after D-Day, and the game is concluded with the capture of the intact Remagen Bridge over the Rhine. Since the time period of the game is relatively short (from Fall 1944 to January 1945), the single player missions are historically detailed and should appeal to the gamer who thrives on obscure but accurate historical details. As many a college professor said to me, "... this program and the accompanying brief synopsis (game manual) should serve as an excellent start point for further study."

The twenty missions in the single-player campaign are divided into three chapters. The chapters may be played in any order but individual missions grouped in an each chapter must be played in order to "unlock" another chapter's mission. Thus, the missions of No Surrender dictate that the virtual Battle of the Bulge is played approximately as it was fought in real life.

I would suggest that you start playing Chapter One, Mission One as an additional tutorial to get the "flavor" of what you are going to be facing in the remaining nineteen missions. However, I did notice that this is the one mission in this game that contradicts its own mission statement. Specifically, the mission briefing describes this as a "reconnaissance" mission, but to win this level, you must destroy all enemy tanks.

There are several shortcomings to this game. The first is the lack of introductory tactics information. Thus, the novice who tries the usual frontal assault approach of a FPS will consistently get their butt kicked and be frustrated after playing a few scenarios. But the experienced virtual commander will welcome the challenges of this program.

The other shortcoming of No Surrender, if you could call it a shortcoming, is the lack of the option to choose sides - Axis or Allied. Instead, you will find yourself "fighting" as either the Axis or Allies depending on the particular scenario that is being played. Personal preferences aside, the only significance to this omission is that the gamer does not have the opportunity to prove to the world that they are military geniuses and could have changed the course of history. Thus the gamer is limited to having to duplicate the expertise of professional soldiers and walk in the shoes as the brave soldiers whose "blood and guts" accomplished the seemingly impossible.

Today, I am still playing No Surrender, and I found myself bogged down in Chapter Two, Mission 11 (Longvilly On The Way To Bastogne) and will need to complete several more missions in this Chapter to have played the entire mission sequence. In case you are wondering, I skipped to Chapter Three and have indeed completed the final three missions of the game.

There are several variables such as game speed, difficulty level, and toggling off/on tips to gameplay, but these factors are of only moderate help, at least to this old gamer. I have even briefly flirted with the idea of a "cheat code" to advance to the next level but to the best of my knowledge, cheat codes for No Surrender do not exist.

As to actual gameplay, I must say, before being critical, that I really enjoyed playing No Surrender. Nevertheless, and personal enjoyment factor aside, I must add several other comments for the reader's consideration. First, the game is always played in the 3rd person so personal involvement in the game's action is not an option. Second, all but the overhead camera angle are ineffectual in formulating tactics that would bring about victory. If action and involvement is what you are looking for in your gaming experience, I suggest you look elsewhere and buy such titles as Call of Duty or Medal of Honor. This is strictly a strategy game and it is, therefore, of no surprise that the only good camera angle is the one that allows viewing as much of the battlefield as possible and provides information as to the location of your men, the direction of the approaching enemy, ambush possibilities, and troop proximity to cover. But as in real life, "good" is not the same as "good enough" and, in many instances, "good" is barely adequate.

With a high overhead view, it is accurate to say that playing No Surrender is like playing with toy soldiers because the scale of your fighting units is small and toy-like. True enough, only this time and in this game your opponent is not some 6-year-old and the battlefield is not the bare terrain of your family room floor. Allow me to repeat: I enjoyed this game because of a "smart" AI and realistic modeling of the battlefield structures.

Formulating and having an overall plan is not easy, and hence this game is difficult, even at the "easy" setting - but therein lies my point. This game provides a realistic, challenging level of difficulty. Troops do not always follow orders and an enemy does not walk into your carefully and cleverly conceived traps and ambushes and may have strategies of his own.

If I was really pressed to criticize No Surrender, my attack would be twofold. First, the designer's idea of resource management is a bit silly. A single unarmed repair truck, that has to remain behind cover to avoid being destroyed, also has the ability to repair just about every damaged vehicle in sight. Secondly, the sound work in this program is mediocre at best. The music file is looped and repetitious. Play the same two-minute music excerpt over and over to me, and I'll tell you about an annoying sound that I refuse to listen to again. The overhead thunder of artillery, the thud of mortars, the crackle of small arms, the chatter of machinegun fire and the clanking of tanks of this game are all mixed into an anonymous mixture sound soup south of mindlessness. Didn't World War II game publishers ever hear of German 88s and the fear-inspiring sound of Tiger tanks on the move? But, in fairness, enhancing (to the gaming experience) sound work in PC games is an extinct art form.


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