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Panzer Front is probably best described as an action/simulation game. You play the part of a tank commander fighting during World War II in Europe, and can fight in the US, German or Russian armies. The game starts with a brief tutorial into the workings of the tank and how to control it. This is worth watching since controlling a WWII tank in itself is no mean feat, and they didn’t have computers in those days! Firing the tank’s main gun is also explained and the different types of ammunition are described, together with their ‘best use’ scenarios. The tank’s turret can be rotated independently, though while on the move accurate firing is almost impossible. Luckily numerous options can be changed which affect the tank’s control and firing method. These can help to make things a little easier for the beginner.
Once the Tutorial is finished and you’ve taken it all in, forgotten it, and watched the Tutorial again, it’s time to get on with the real game. Select a tank from a set of experimental ones, or go for the Tactics option and fight using real tanks involved in the conflict. These include the US M4 and German Panzer tanks and their derivatives. A typical mission might involve an attack on a town, capturing a bridge, or defending your position from the enemy. Although the mission descriptions are all quite different, their objectives are pretty much the same – destroy all the enemy or be destroyed.
Driving the tank around the countryside, arrow markers appear showing the location of the nearest enemy tanks. Once they appear, it’s a race against time to spot the enemy, rotate the tank’s turret to the correct position, aim and fire before they manage to spot you. Once you’re in their sights it’s ‘curtains’ unless you destroy them first. As well as other tanks, the enemy uses mobile tank destroyers, field guns, and good old infantry units to attack with. Mowing down the infantry with the tank’s machine gun can be quite amusing in a sick and twisted kind of way…
Graphics wise, Panzer Front isn’t exactly going to break any records. The graphics are quite \'\'grainy’ looking and dull. Fogging has been used to presumably speed up the graphics, not that speed should have been much of an issue, we’re not talking about a fast driving game here. However, the ‘grainy’ graphics and fogging do help to recreate the atmosphere of what a battlefield might have been like. Combined with the suitably ‘dirty ‘ explosions (mud everywhere!) and battle ground sound effects they have succeeded in doing this pretty well.
Some of the scenery in the game is destructible. Drive a tank into a tree and watch it bend and shake as it falls to the ground, or drive through brick walls and see them disintegrate into piles of rubble. Hang on, I’m getting carried away here – let’s get back to reality. The scenery is destructible, but it’s all a rather sad experience as the walls ‘fall’ apart in slow motion, polygon side by polygon side. It’s an experience that’s rather hard to describe. Shooting buildings has the same effect. Windows and roofs fall apart in whole pieces, only to miraculously re-appear completely untouched. It would have been nice to have been able to blow buildings apart piece by piece, leaving only their shattered and charred remains.
The sound affects in the game aren’t bad. Firing the tanks guns sound pretty life like, and the background sounds are also used to good affect. Typical sounds include distance machine gun fire, explosions and other tanks moving about. When an army opens up with an artillery barrage in the distance, the resulting effect is excellent. Background music is all ‘military band’ kind of stuff, best classified under Easy Listening. It does help to set the atmosphere of the game though.
I’ve already mentioned the game’s control system which takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s biggest problem is that it so very, very hard. Admittedly some of the more advanced simulation features of the tank can be turned off, meaning that shooting another tank becomes a simple point and fire affair, however it’s GAME OVER if your tank gets hit by just one enemy shell. This quickly becomes frustrating, selecting restart again, and again. Admittedly this would probably be what would happen in real life, but a bit of artistic license could have been used here, to make the game an easier and more enjoyable experience.
· Panzer Front features over 25 stages covering the whole of WWII.
· Fight for the US, German or Russian armies choosing from 38 unique tanks.
· Take on the role of commanders from the past, Rommel and Montegomery, controlling a battalion of tanks.
· Call in Infantry Support, select Tank Formations and movements.
· Run amok in the country side, destroyable scenery included.
1 Block required on Memory card per save (min)
Up to 1 Players (without Multi-tap)
Uses Dual Shock Pad Buttons
Uses Dual Shock Pad Analog Sticks
Uses Dual Shock Pad Vibration facility
REVIEW SCORE GUIDE:
We promise that we have fully played 'Panzer Front' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
SUMMARY OF FINAL RATING (%)
00 - 59 This makes your console seem like an older machine. It utilises little or none of the PSone power.
60 - 69 This game is little more than average and we advise renting or play-testing before considering a purchase.
70 - 79 This is a good solid title that should still appeal to those who like this type of game.
80 - 89 This is a fantastic game that we think you will enjoy playing for quite some time.
90 - 100 This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:
It is very important that you are aware that the criteria we use to obtain review scores on the PS2 is very different to that used for games on the original Playstation (PSone). The Processing and Graphical power of the two consoles are vastly different and as our reviews are graded against what we estimate is the achievable potential of each system, it does not mean in any way that a game scoring 80 percent on PS2 is worse than a Playstation (PSone) equivalent which scores 95.
A more detailed breakdown of this guide can be read here.
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