Operation Market Garden
There have been a number of games based around Operation Market Garden, the largest daylight airborne operation in history, and they all largely follow a similar formula in their approach to gameplay. This one is little different, and while it doesn't offer anything particularly new to the hex-based wargaming genre, it remains a solid bet for fans. As commander of Allied forces, you get to direct several British and American divisions and must help guide them to their historical objectives. There's all the usual considerations to take into account, such as supply lines, reinforcements and maintaining resources an battles are won or lost according to victory points. These are accrued or lost for taking over cities or allowing them to be overrun, defeating enemy units and so on.Everything is played out over a standard hex-based map screen, while there is a reasonable number of options to play with. You can either go against the computer or up against a friend, while there are several difficulty levels and you can choose between advanced and intermediate settings to make the game more or less accessible. As far as this kind of thing goes, this is pretty standard stuff. The game interface and mechanics have been seen many times before and since, from the likes of Vulcan: The Tunisian Campaign to Battleground: Ardennes, while the visuals are equally standard. The game is certainly challenging and complex enough to keep veterans happy but it plays it all a little too safely to be truly considered a must play.
Average military sim
While the name might suggest some sort of bizarre agricultural simulation, this is in fact another of SSI's detailed and absorbing military sims, and which will be familiar to players of Desert Rats and the like. This one takes the famous airborne invasion of WWII, the largest ever, as its starting point, and weaves it into SSI's typically complex brand of military strategy. Players can expect to engage in several of the key points of the operation, including the assault on the several strategic bridges which was a major element of the real-life attack. The game plays out via a fairly typical overhead view, with a hex-based map providing most of the visual elements. As the Commander of the Allied forces, you must guide your troops to the various historically accurate mission objectives, and are awarded points for keeping and controlling them. There are five levels of victory, which are determined by the amount of objectives held at the end of the siege, with points being lost when German forces overrun your areas. Operation Market Garden is in many ways a very typical piece of SSI strategy wargaming, with the same level of detail and strategic requirements as seen in previous releases. As such, it makes for a solid enough experience but is somewhat marred by a few niggles. The biggest issue is the user interface, which is fairly awkward and unintuitive, leading to many frustrating moments as you try to figure out what's going on, with several other annoying gameplay mechanics further compounding things. The lack of visual flash can be ignored due to the game's age but unless you are a hardened military sim fan, this can be passed over.