the years the Strike series has helped to raise strategy wargames to
a new level of excellence. Desert Strike set the ball rolling and
collected many awards from around the world. It was followed by the
highly successful Jungle Strike and was closely ensued by the
equally popular Urban Strike. Last year saw the Strike series
brought right up to date by the release of Soviet Strike on the
32-bit Playstation console. The old bitmapped graphics of old were
replaced by smart photo-realistic visuals where the player could
venture through a complete 3D world.
Hot on the trail of the successful strategy game Soviet Strike,
comes another set of missions that feature a host of new vehicles
and scenarios. This time the players objective is to 'put a stop to
the war before it begins' and is titled Nuclear Strike.
The game touts a new story line where the notorious villain,
Colonel Henri LeMonde steals a tactical nuclear bomb and strikes a
deadly deal with North Korea. The unstable son of Kym plays right
into LeMonde's hands. As if LeMonde had scripted the event, Kym
concocts a scheme that nearly re-starts the Korean war. The worlds
attention is riveted on the 38th parallel. This distraction gives
LeMonde the opportunity he needs to commandeer an abandoned Soviet
ICBM base and attempt to coerce the world to accept his demented
Strike is part of the thriving Strike series which has shipped more
than 2.7 million units across all platforms. It is a strategic war
game set over a number of battlefields. You must carry out the
instructions of your commanding officer, General Earle, by striking
the enemy from ground, sea and air using any of the thirteen
different vehicles that are stationed around the playing area.
The latest version begins by dropping you into the jungles of
Indocine to embark upon a fight to stop the madmen who are holding
the world hostage with a nuclear threat. Players must complete up to
ten detailed missions within six campaigns in order to neutralize
them before they unleash a nuclear weapon on the world.
most noticeable improvement is the faster frame rate which makes all
of the action much more intense. Many years ago armored vehicles
were renowned for their slow progress across the battlefield but
recent advancements in technology have seen the tank move into
action at a lightening pace proving to be the spearhead of a ground
attack. This fact was not portrayed so accurately in the last Strike
adventure where ground forces crawled along at a snails pace.
However all armored vehicles in Nuclear Strike are souped up and
ready to go. Just try holding back their advances during the
Demilitarized Zone campaign when hundreds of rebel vehicles and
troops pour over the North Korean border from all angles and head
for the Southern capital. This forces you to seek out and use
alternative transport to keep ahead of the situation.
There is also a marked improvement in the digitized 3D terrain.
It may not be photo-realistic but it gets pretty damn close on the
earlier levels. Without spoiling the plot the expected holocaust
over Pyongyang leaves the North Korean capital a charred desolate
landscape with sporadic fires ignited by the red hot molten lava.
Truly spectacular while also being fearfully frightening.
The improvement of pyros provide more intense explosions and
flaming debris which is highlighted by the use of some startling new
lighting effects. On some occasions this appears a little over the
top as a direct hit on certain land vehicles will see them disappear
into a ball of flame then, several seconds later, down comes the
remains, littering the land over a wide scale. A bit A-Team if you
ask me but extremely well done. Taking out an oil refinery and gas
station will certainly leave it's mark, a giant crater that remains
as a landmark for future reference.
Once again the Strike story is relayed via some superb FMV
footage. Although it would be easy to skip past these broadcasts I
would recommend they are studied as many vital clues are offered for
your forthcoming task by General Earle, computer expert Hack and
television reporter Andrea.
sounds are once again excellent, from the whipping of the rotating
Apache blades, to the explosive thunder as the missiles hit their
targets. The enemy soldiers once again cry out convincingly as you
down them with your chain-gun. Of course there are a couple of
troops who will rattle your cage by throwing insults such as 'you
come to wage war armed only with a knife, you fool!' Ammo is
precious but a sidewinder in the gut is very gratifying.
The action is accompanied by some thrilling battle music which
keeps the adrenaline pumping as you get stuck into the enemy.
devices come in all shapes and sizes. So do the lunatics who use
them. If anyone tells you the threat of thermonuclear war is over,
he's a fool, an enemy, or both'. Let's get it on.
Rather than just offering the player a new set of missions,
Nuclear Strike takes on a whole new dimension of gameplay by
allowing you to switch vehicles during a campaign. The Super Apache
attack helicopter makes a welcome return while the inclusion of
Super Commanche and Cobra helicopters will offer a variation in
handling and firepower. Some of the vehicle must be unveiled as they
are hidden within each level and will only be found by
indiscriminate bombing while others are situated in the open near a
landing site. The Hovercraft is excellent for whizzing on land or
sea. The Abrahams Tank has a moving gun turret and is useful to
plough through barricades and squash foot soldiers. The Press
helicopter is pretty shit but is initially only used for
surveillance until a more worthy chopper turns up. Huey is a little
slow but packs an almighty punch. The Bulldozer returns to damage
enemy aircraft before they get off the ground. Discover the Harrier
Jump Jet and you're in business- high armor, powerful weapons, top
handling and speed to match. It can be found during the second
campaign but I'm not going to tell you where.
The missions are much more dynamic and involved than the Soviet
Strike tasks and will demand that you move quickly to precise
locations once the balloon goes up. If this proves a little two
demanding there is now an Easy mode for beginners where your vehicle
is equipped with more powerful ammo and a fuel efficient engine. You
should also remember that once the action begins it is like a line
of falling dominoes, therefore use as much time as is allowed to
check out the terrain and remove a few hazards before the first
The AI in Nuclear Strike has been increased to a degree that
the enemies and friendlies are much more "alive" as they
react to your behavior and follow your commands. Head for the
advancing tanks on the East and the subs will sneak through on the
West to destroy your supplies.
In the last Strike game you were forever pausing the game to
check your whereabouts. This has been corrected by including a heads
up display with a waypoint indicator that provides direction to the
next mission while an on-screen radar is extremely helpful. The map
screen once again contains all of the relevant information for each
mission. Enemy positions, fuel and ammo supplies, objectives and a
full debriefing of all vehicles, assets and intelligence is readily
There are six campaigns which are divided into missions with up
to ten in each. Campaigns take place in Indocine, the South China
Sea, the North Korean Capital before and after the holocaust, the
Demilitarized Zone and finally the enemies highly guarded Fortress
in South East Asia.
Each campaign differs and range from shielding diplomatic
hostages to all out war. The two most prominent events are when
diplomats are shepherded out of the city on buses and trains before
the nuclear device explodes and holding back the enemies advances
for a full twenty minutes before your bombers arrive to finish the
job. Nerve tingling stuff.
players to the Strike series will find the easy mode more to their
taste as there is a wealth of information to digest before getting
to grips will the control system. They will however, experience the
frustrations that occur when you fail mission ten and return all the
way back to the start of the campaign.
Players who have followed the series since Desert Strike on the
MegaDrive and SNES some five years ago will find the new campaigns a
fair challenge and will revel in the fact there are new vehicles to
An extremely highly polished and well presented strategic war
a Strike fan myself I really enjoyed the new features. You feel
invincible in the Harrier jet and, with care, you probably are. The
tanks and scud launchers were fun but if you played around with them
for too long the mission would certainly be lost. The only complaint
I could envisage from veterans is that it's all over a little too
fast. Don't get me wrong, each campaign should take hours to finish
and you could always go back for more of the same, but I completed
the whole game within a week.