reviews\ Mar 25, 2002 at 7:00 pm

BCT Commander - PC - Review

BCT Commander is based on the US governments Battalion/Brigade level tactical simulator, JANUS, which is used to train senior commanders battlefield tactics, and was designed by an Army Officer tired of all the kiddy war simulators out there. It has all the realism of the mainframe program but in an easy to use Windows click and drag format. BCT Commander also incorporates the original BCT, the Construction Set, which allows you to program your own scenarios, Expansion Packs #1 and #2, which adds 12 new scenarios, and an updated 119 page Users Manual, all in one package.

BCT Commander is unlike any other Tactical War Simulator out there. You are provided with full size topographical maps, from around the world, including Korea, Cuba, Russia, Iraq, and the US Training Center, complete with 8 digit coordinates and NATO symbols for your units, nope you don't get any cartoon characters running around throwing spears at each other, remember I said this was for the hard-core war simulator fans. What you do get is the ability to move your units into position, order fire commands, move in for the kill, and crush the enemy using combined arms tactics on a real time battlefield map. BCT Commander is not designed to appeal to those who want lots of eye candy, sizzling graphics, blood splatters, and lots of battle sounds, it is however designed for those who want to test their serious tactical wits in real time against a serious tough AI or against other tacticians across the globe via multiplayer games.

Modern military equipment is key in this simulator, you may use such equipment as the M1A2, BMP-3, LAV-25, AH-1W, UH-60, BDRM-2, ZSU-23-4, and many more Artillery is able to fire multiple types of rounds including HE, Smoke, HERAP, ect. The interface is a little tricky to begin with but not to hard after you get the hang of it. And while you can see all of the battlefield, unlike some other sims where you have to put up with the "Black Fog" until it is explored, you may not see all of the enemy units till it's too late, keep on your toes! This sim is all about tactics, not gamesmanship.

Serious multiplayer action can be found through a number of avenues, IPX, TCP/LAN, modem to modem, and serial port connections. Records can be kept on-line as well as the ability to save initial setups for use in future games.

Installation: Easy

Gameplay: 7.5
Gameplay in this sim is all about tactics, there is no real excitement in the sim, only in your own mind as you succeed in eliminating your enemy through successful combined arms tactics and maneuvers. Game uses maps and symbols instead of characters and the interface is a little tricky but gets easier with use. Sim is played in real time, so can be rather slow at times and intense at others. I personally have had ten years experience with the military, maps, fire commands, and unit movements, and found the game appealing and then rather addictive.

Graphics: 8
Based on what the game is supposed to represent, the JANUS program, Shrapnel did a fine job with all the maps and symbols. Again, this game is about tactics, NOT eye candy. This game will make you think, not just view.

Sound: 7
Sounds are totally adequate for the style of game and scenarios given. Actually it was quite nice not to be barraged by tons of sounds booming out of my sub-woofer.

Difficulty: 9.5
Difficulty is in the mind of the player, to be a successful tactician you have to be able to make decisive decisions quickly and correctly. This sim will give you plenty of practice doing that. The AI level is quite high, but should you succeed in beating them, try other real life players through multiplayer, the possibilities are endless, making the difficulty level of this game almost limitless.

Concept: 8
To Take the Militaries foremost training program, interface it into a Windows based sim was an outstanding accomplishment. One that filled the void left after you have played all the other "Kiddy" style war sims and were left wanting something more realistic. Well, it doesn't get any more realistic than this.

Multiplayer: 8
While not a big fan of multiplayer sims, I was surprised by the sheer number of options available to the hard-core multiplayer fan. From TCP/LAN to Modem to Modem, you can hook up almost any way you want. Plus there's tons of on-line support!

Overall: 7.5
This sim quite realistically, portrays the role of the Battalion/Brigade Commander in a combat situation, what he get is a map, his units, his wits, and a small amount of luck, how he combines them, moves them, strikes at the enemy with them, will decide whether he is victorious in battle or not. Now you to can live that role in real time play with BCT Commander. I liked it, not a flashy game, it wasn't supposed to be. If you want something that is going to make you think and plan, then this is it, just be prepared to look up from your screen to find that it's been hours since you sat down to play, you missed dinner, and your girfriend/wife has gone off to bed without you, but then that's the sacrifice you have to make to be a COMMANDER!  Ovaldog gives BCT Commander a big two thumbs up! If your Hard-core, go get it!


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