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Codename Panzers: Phase One
(hx) 01:56 AM CEST - Oct,14 2004

If I remember well, Stormregion's first title was a real-time strategy called S.W.I.N.E. that took place in an alternate world populated by peaceful rabbits and militaristic pigs. Now, Codename Panzers takes you into the heady battles of World War II. The story of the game can be told from one of three sides, the German side sees a commander Hans von Grobel as he begins the German invasion of Poland. The allied side is told through the eyes of Jeffery Wilson while an eastern perspective is put on this with the inclusion of a Russian campaign see through the eyes of Aleksander Vladimiriov.

Codename Panzers offers a variety of locations in the European theater of war with 30 missions (12 for the Germans and 9 each for the Soviets and the Western Allies) through three campaigns that let you fight it out as the Germans, Soviets, and American/British forces. The campaigns focus on the major wartime events of each side. For example, the German campaign runs from the invasion of Poland until the defeat at Stalingrad. The Soviet campaign starts with the German invasion of Russia and ends with the capture of the Reichstag in Germany. The Allied campaign begins with the initial paradrop and the invasion at Utah Beach, and ends after the Battle of the Bulge and the American counter-offensive there.

The mission structure is really extremely varied. Each mission is made up of a series of objectives some of which must be completed in order for you to progress to the next mission. The missions involve interrogations of spies, protection of allied supply units, elimination of enemy units and so forth. Missions also contain some optional and hidden objectives (securing hidden fuel dumps or conquering additional buildings...) which are often mentioned during your briefing or later in the mission. The more objectives you complete in a mission the more experience and prestige points you'll earn. Also, the more men you lose, the less prestige you receive. While experience impacts both effective firing range and line of sight or spotting capabilities, the prestige points are used to buy new units to add/upgrade to your army (which is possible between missions). As mentioned above, in each of the three campaigns you are represented by an alter ego "hero," (except the Allies where are two heroes). These heroes and their lives further the plot of the campaigns and if you get them killed, the campaign ends.

The game has over 100 units including most of the units that played a major role in the war. Units range from a selection of infantry, tanks, trucks, and artillery cannons and so on with each been more effective then others in certain. There's a huge arsenal for the infantry, including grenades, flame throwers, Molotov cocktails, bazookas, shells and anti-tank mines. The soldiers can creep, crawl, run, and dive for cover. Of course, sending infantry against a tank is pure suicide, but send in a sniper with a backup panzerschreck team hidden behind a house, and you're more likely to succeed! I've noticed that sometimes it's also possible to conquer tanks from the enemy by killing their crew or using abandoned equipment. Your units, however, aren't always able to handle it.

There are more than 50 controllable vehicles, including famous King Tigers, Panther, T-34s, Shermans tanks. A variety of self-propelled and towed artillery are also included as are a number of anti-tank guns. Trucks for transport of supplies and troops will also be included along with air support units like reconnaissance planes, fighters and bombers. The air support units cannot be directly controlled, but you will be able to call in air support or artillery strikes from off map. Each new level provides a limited supply of the five remote attack styles: Paratroop Drop, Bombing Run, Fighter Bombing Run, Artillery, and Recon.

Each unit can be healed or repaired during the game at any time as long as you have a repair truck or a medic available. The units are obtained either at the start of the mission or at the end of it. After a battle you'll be able to buy troops with prestige points you'll have earned. All units can gain experience over time. There are 5 ranks of experience, and each time a unit reaches a new level, it gains special bonuses and capabilities.

Multiplayer portion of Codename Panzers features several different types of gameplay modes: Team Deathmatch, Domination, Assault and Co-op Mode. Multiplayer games can be set up over a LAN or over the Internet through Direct IP or the built-in GameSpy browser. The Co-op mode allows you to play missions from the single-player campaigns. Needless to say the Co-mode simply rocks. It's area where the game truly shines and should appeal to even those of you that normally only enjoy playing solo.

Overall, Codename Panzers is pretty cool game. My recommendation is that if you are looking for realism, you would be better off purchasing Soldiers: Heroes of World War 2. or Combat Mission. If you like the original Command & Conquer type gameplay, Panzers will definitely suit you!

related links:  homepage, MP demo, demo#1, demo#2, cheats.

System requirements: Intel P3 or AMD Athlon 750 MHz (Intel P4 or AMD Athlon 1,8 GHz recommended), RAM: 256 MB (512 MB recommended), Video card: T&L capable video card with 32 MB RAM (64 MB rec. ), Sound card: 100% DirectX compatible, CD-ROM: 8x (12x recommended), 3GB free HDD space

Multiplayer: Internet connection (56k or faster) required for multiplayer gameplay, For best multiplayer performance and gameplay experience DSL is recommended.
Hosting MP-Game: 1on1 minimum ISDN (64k) Internet connection (or comparable), 2on2 minimum DSL (768k) Internet connection (or comparable)

snd: 4/5 - effects and music are excellent, superb music, the voice acting is terrible (inconsistent mix of German, English and English)
gfx: 4/5 - pretty good, explosions are big and bright, units are lovingly detailed, over 150 in-game cutscenes, rich weather and day-night cycle effects, character models during the cut-scenes look outdated
playability: 5/5 - excellent, extremely varied missions and challenging objectives, user-friendly interface, multiplayer support for up to 8 players, Co-op MP mode, pathfinding issues
genre: WWII RTS
release: October 2004
developer: StormRegion
publisher: CDV
Overall: 85%

last 10 comments:

El_Coyote(02:47 AM CEST - Oct,14 2004 )
a good game..
allthough the gap in overall score between this one and Dawn of War seems a bit small...

ambazador(05:28 PM CEST - Oct,17 2004 )
no you are wrong, this game rox big time, addictive gameplay and great explosions,lol, too sad i finished it,panzers 4 days_normal diff_warhammer_2 days_hard diff_so whats better?too bad i recovered some bugs in gfx engine, but maybe patch coming soon!

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