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Released nearly at the same time as Hammer of The Gods, Iron Cross from New World Computing is a strategy game in real time. The period it covers is during the second World War and the missions will bring you to France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
Iron Cross lets you control infantry, artillery and armor units on various battlefields and you can play either the Axis or the Allies. There are twelve scenarios of progressive difficulty from The Longest Day in Normandy, during the biggest amphibious invasion of history, to Bridgehead at Remagen in Germany where you must avoid the destruction of the last bridge over the Rhine.
Iron Cross also features a 13th level that can be customized by the player. You will have the choice of several battlefields with different types of terrain like beaches, woods, towns, etc. You can select the duration of the combat, the availability of air strikes or artillery strikes with a maximum of three per scenario and the number of points for each party. It is also possible to play as the defender or the attacker, and choose to play as Americans, British or Germans. This choice will, of course, determine your type of units during the game. Over 100 types of units are available in Iron Cross with about the same number of different kinds for each side. In the beginning, you must buy units with the initial number of points and choose where to place them on a limited area of the map.
The SVGA graphics enable a large view of the battleground, but sometimes it is difficult to distinguish some of the units (specially for the artillery), so to see what it is exactly, you have to click on them. For example, in Panzer General, you had a better representation which was more colorful with more detail that you do not find in Iron Cross. However, this is just a small detail that you notice in the beginning, and it will not prevent you from enjoying the game. As the game is in real time, you better keep an eye on the battleground as not be surprised since enemy units move and attack whether you pay attention or not. Time is therefore something you must get used to in this game as compared to turn-based games where the duration of a turn can be as long as you wish. The result is a game in which you must quickly decide your strategy in order to keep a maximum of units operational. These units have characteristics such as the reloading speed, amount of ammunition, speed, size, etc.
The control of units is done easily with the mouse. When you left-click one unit, it first identifies its type in a window, and you can select its destination on the map. If you want the unit to reach the selected point, simply right-click with the mouse. Four different modes are allowed: attack only, move only, attack & move or the opposite. The computer selects the best possible target, but if it does not correspond to your plans, you can change it and the program will show you the other possible targets. During the fight, and only if there are some available in the scenario, you can ask for air or/and artillery strikes on targets you want to eliminate.
When playing with Iron Cross for the first time, the real-time feature might perturb you, but as soon as you get used to this, the game will be more enjoyable. The digitized sounds and the music are of good quality, but you can easily play without them.
New World Computing Inc., GRAPHICS ------------------ 80% P.O. BOX 4302, SOUND ------------------ 82% Hollywood, CA 90078. MUSIC ------------------ 80% Tel: 818-889-5600 GAMEPLAY ------------------ 79% INTEREST ------------------ 85% OVERALL ------------------ 81%
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