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Sudden Strike: Forever

Score: 75%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: CDV
Developer: Fireglow
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 12
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

There's not much new to say about the graphics in Sudden Strike: Forever apart from those in the original game, other than that some new tilesets have been added. There are still absolute tons of structures to admire and explode, and doing it in the snow is all the more enticing. Expect what you saw in the original, only more of it. The same problem holds with the units--they're damned near indistinguishable, at least if you're running at a decent resolution, and as such you'll spend a lot of time clicking around and trying to find the one that you wanted to control in the first place.

As for the sound, it's near identical to the original game. Weak voice acting coupled with solid music and mediocre sound effects conspire to make an aureal experience that is eminently forgettable. You won't cover your ears as you play the game, but you won't be thumping your toes with a big grin on your face either, at least when it comes to the music.


Gameplay:

When it comes to the gameplay, there's really a simple question to ask yourself: Did I like the original Sudden Strike? If the answer is no, then stay far away from Sudden Strike: Forever. If the answer is yes, then you should most definitely pick the game up, because what SS: Forever offers is a good deal of the same action that you had in the original game.

The major new content comes in the form of new missions and units. There are four new mini-campaigns, one for each of the British, Americans, Germans, and the Russians. Along with these, there are seven new single-run missions (think skirmishes), and a handful of new multiplayer maps. To go along with all of these new maps, you've got a number of new units of all sorts. The most important of these are the medics, who can heal your troops, and the ability of officers to raise the experience level of the troops around them.

There are also a number of gameplay tweaks. Besides the aforementioned new abilities of the officers, you can have your generals use their binocs to get a longer field of view in a particular direction. And, perhaps even more importantly, you can have your vehicles drive backwards, which can keep your tanks from getting shot in their tender backsides.

For all of these new features, though, Sudden Strike: Forever is essentially the same game that you played when you got the original Sudden Strike. The missions are very unforgiving, it's hard to keep track of all of your units, and the strange mix of realism and strangeness persists. Prepare to rush, rush, rush, after getting your units prepped.


Difficulty:

One of the more pleasant changes to the game is the addition of a difficulty slider. The original difficulty is the centre selection, and you can turn it one notch up or down. I never turned it up, for fear that my computer would explode from sheer evil, and turning it down helps a little, but the missions are still geared towards repetition for proper completion. Be prepared to spend a lot of time figuring out just what the developers wanted you to do on some of the missions.

Game Mechanics:

For the most part, these are identical to the original mechanics in Sudden Strike--mouse-and-keyboard driven real-time strategy mayhem. As stated earlier, the game walks a strange line between realism and lack of realism, and you'll see some things that will make sense--unit transit times, which are damned slow but realistic--and some things that are just silly--grunt rushes on armour, for example. On the other hand, there are a large number of people still playing Sudden Strike via multiplayer, and undoubtedly the new abilities in the game will appeal to them. For what it's worth, many of the changes are very much for the better, cutting out some of the micromanagement necessary before.

In the end, Sudden Strike: Forever is very much a by-the-book expansion. You've got new units, you've got new missions, you've got some game-engine tweaks, and you've even got a map editor. For the people who really liked the first game, this is an excellent edition to the Sudden Strike canon. For those who found the original somewhat lacking in 'fun', they won't find anything to change their mind here. You know which group you fall into, so act accordingly, soldier.


-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:



P233, 32MB RAM, 4x CD-ROM, Win9X/NT/2K, 150 MB HD Space, sound card, SUDDEN STRIKE REQUIRED
 

Test System:



Athlon 1.1GHz running Win98 SE, 512MB RAM, GeForce 2 GTS w/ 32MB RAM, SoundBlaster Live!, 8x DVD-ROM

Windows Sudden Strike Windows Summoner

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated