M1 Tank Platoon II Review

M1 Tank Platoon II is one of the most challenging games I have ever played. It is not a game that you can just jump into without studying. The mammoth 280-page manual is the place to start, followed by the War College program. Even if you manage to make it through these two read-only phases of the game, you still are not ready for battle.

There are so many controls to learn in M1 Tank Platoon II that I actually felt like I had joined the military. Virtually every key on the standard Windows keyboard controls something in your tank and the developers still recommend that you use a joystick in addition to the keyboard. It is a good thing they give you three quick reference control charts in the package because getting lost is amazingly easy.

Graphically, M1 Tank Platoon II is amazing. The animation is so realistic that playing is almost like watching a movie. Peering through the gunner’s sight is a breathtaking experience. The driver’s point of view is slightly artificial but it is still quite good. The tank Commander’s two vantage points are also well rendered.

The scenery and the motions of enemy vehicles are also great but not quite as good as the closer views of your own platoon. As odd as it may seem, things look better close up than they do far away. I realize this seems to hold true for most situations but some smaller (far away) graphics in M1 Tank Platoon II are not as good as they should be when compared with the brilliance of the close-up graphics.

If anything draws you into the game more than M1 Tank Platoon II’s graphics, it has to be the sound. The clanks and bangs of loading shells, the roar of enemy aircraft flying overhead, the crackling sound of orders over the radio and the pat-pat-pat of machine gun fire are all amazingly realistic. If nothing else, this game sounds real.

The great audio and video presentations help make gameplay amazing. Spotting enemies, aiming at them and blowing them off the ground or out of the sky is exhilarating. War might be hell but it’s great fun when you are in the comfort of your own home.

With all the controls to memorize, the game can be a bit tricky at first. It took me several plays before I realized how to call in air and ground reinforcements effectively. That little step improved my mission success rate immensely. I also found that you could move from tank to tank. Before that, I had simply been aborting missions if enemy fire damaged my tank and could no longer return fire. Reading the manual is very important in M1 Tank Platoon II. Unlike many other games, you cannot simply jump in and swim.

The developers at MicroProse have apparently taken great care to make this an accurate and realistic simulation. They have done a great job. M1 Tank Platoon II has given me a newly found respect for war simulations. If this game isn’t in your library, you are definitely missing out.


Superb visual presentation. Some smaller graphics are grainy but, overall, everything looks great.


The sound is amazingly realistic from the clanking of the shells to the crackling of the radio.


Hard to get a handle on at first, this game becomes more fun with each new attempt.

Replay Value

As you learn more about the game, the more you want to play. Replay value is great because it is never the same game twice.


An over-abundant amount of information is available in the 280-page manual.

Dead Ball Zone Synopsis

Dead Ball Zone from GT Interactive Software is a futuristic game of “kill the ball carrier” where you are the manager of an eight-man team. Take control of various psychopathic players as you go for the score at all costs. You get to use grenades, guns and chainsaws to reach your opponents’ goal with a small flaming ball.

The game features the Tussle mode where you have a single match with your choice of teams and 10 different arenas from around the world, including London, San Francisco, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Amazonia, Paris, India, Thailand and Hawaii. It also features a league game, wherein you take on the role of the player or manager for a Dead Ball Zone team.

Bring your team from the lowest local division up to the national division, and all the way through to the GeoSphere division. As you move through the league, your team’s abilities change. So depending on your style of play, your team will become more suited to your game.

The game itself features eight players on each team passing around a small flaming ball. To score you must shoot the ball past your opponent. To get the ball away from your opponent in addition to weapons, you can perform different moves such as head-butting, pile-driving, checking or performing a rugby tackle against the player in possession of the ball.

Think you can dominate in the world of high-speed, futuristic sporting? Get ready to take on Dead Ball Zone for the PlayStation.

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Jumble: That Scrambled Word Game Overview

Third-i Productions, in association with Hasbro Interactive, bring the newspaper staple Jumble to the PC, offering not only the original puzzle but several variations as well. Jumble is a word puzzle in which the letters of four words are scrambled and must be sorted out to spell viable words. Certain letters in each unscrambled word appear in circles; once all words are unscrambled, arranging all the circled letters into a phrase or word forms the basis for the second part of the challenge. A cartoon that contains a clue or hint to the final answer is provided with each puzzle.

Jumble contains a Jumble for Kids version using much shorter words and themes targeted toward children. In Jumble Plus, five clues are given based on a common theme; each clue increases in length by one letter as you move down the clue list. As in Jumble, a “bonus” answer is made up of letters from the five word solutions.

Also featured is TumbleWORDS, a game in which seven clues are provided, each with two-part answers. As you work from top to bottom, the second part of each answer becomes the first part of the next clue’s answer. Finally, in Jumble Crosswords, eight scrambled clues are provided and require unscrambling to fill in the crossword puzzle. Once again, when completed, the circled letters within the crossword puzzle must be arranged to solve the riddle or phrase of a bonus puzzle.

In Jumble, scores are computed based on the amount of time spent solving each puzzle. As the clock ticks down, “completion bonus” points are reduced — the final score is based on points awarded for solving the puzzle added to remaining bonus points. An option to get hints (causes point reductions) is available along with a “give up” option. Jumble uses a point-and-click interface with the keyboard to type in letters.

Yoot Tower Overview

Anyone who played the original SimTower knows that the focus of gameplay was the building of the tower itself with little interactive bonding of the tenants, stores and structure. In Yoot Tower, the sequel, the emphasis is on the synergy between all the factors and factions contained within the game. You won’t be constructing your dream building in a cold and impersonal vacuum but rather with an eye to developing a game story through the residents themselves.

The scope of Yoot Tower transcends that of the original in several important areas. The “living” tower you create will feed off the tenants by upgrading the number and quality of stores, facilities and services. In this way, your structure gains recognition and builds to a star rating system much like the world’s greatest hotels, resorts and shopping districts do in the late 1990s.

As the owner and Chief Executive Officer, your objectives and goals are clearly defined. First, you must provide for the needs of both commercial and residential tenants. To this end you are invited into the actual lives of your tenants and must work to ensure profitability on an individual basis. The population is rife for explosion and can number in the tens of thousands if your tower is a success. Secondly, you’ll need to entice and invite residents and businesses to reside in your building through any number of means such as promotions, advertising, quality commitments and more.

Your final objective is to keep the population you gain through any means possible, such as expansion, upgrades, quality of life increases and the like. Fail to renovate and your customers will stampede the elevators and leave in droves. Neglect your priorities and increase your tenants’ stress levels and they’ll forget you like yesterday’s bad lunch. Manage the noise levels, traffic flow and create balance throughout the structure and you’ll be rewarded.

Yoot Tower expands gameplay over the original by allowing construction in three very diverse locations: Tokyo, Waikiki and the natural splendor of Kegon Falls with its changing seasons and exotic locale. Control issues, internal and external events, crises, critical management and juggling exigencies co-mingle with equal impact as you try to build your tower to the culminating “final item” that triggers a small event, hopefully leading to designation as The Great Tower.

As an added bonus to gameplay, you can log on the Internet at www.yoottower.com for free additional Yoot Tower Location Modules and more. Think you’re the next Donald Trump with a vision to build the most glorious high rise wonder in the world? If so, don your hardhat and get your best business clothes pressed — you’ll need both to mold Yoot Tower into a stratospheric success story.

Sequel to the hit tile SimTower
Create looming towers in downtown Tokyo or on the beaches of Waikiki
Provide top notch customer service to your residents or watch them leave in droves

Vigilante 8 Synopsis

The year is 1975; the Vigilantes and Coyotes, two rival gangs, are furiously trying to destroy one another. An unknown source has looted a top-secret military base and generously supplied each gang with an Army load of weaponry and firepower. The weapons are so extreme that by the time the feud is over, the Southwest will have been reduced to a pile of rubble and burning ash.

Choosing a character from either gang, the player then sets off on a quest to destroy his or her rivals. There are 12 characters in all (including four who are locked) including Chassey Blue and her ’67 Rattler, hustler John Torque and his ’69 Jefferson complete with a bass sound-system (the Bass Quake), and a former alien test pilot named Loki, who drives a missile toting `73 Glenn 4×4.

Like the Twisted Metal series, Vigilante 8 is a vehicular shooter combined with muscle cars, special weapons and pickups, and fully destructible arena-based levels. There are eight arenas in all ranging from a ski resort to a Las Vegas-like casino city. During the course of battle, buildings, fences, and landmarks can be annihilated; by doing so, secret places or items may be accessible.

There are few gameplay options including the one-player Quest and Arcade modes and the two-player Versus and Cooperative options. In the Arcade mode, the player will select their character, an arena, and the opponents that will be destroyed. This is a no-frills shoot-’em-up deathmatch. The Quest, on the other hand, is a bit different — it is a four-level story mode for each character. As players progress throughout the Quest mode, more and more opponents come into the battle; the first level matches you up with one, the second level with two, etc. Depending on how many times you’ve finished the Quest with different characters, new arenas and drivers will become unlocked.

The two-player modes are played via split screen (option for horizontal or vertical). Versus is a simple deathmatch while the Cooperative mode is joint effort against computer-controlled opponents. Like the one-player’s Arcade mode, players choose which arena they’d like to battle it out in and their drivers.

Vigilante 8 supports the Dual Shock Analog Controller and a Memory Card to save your game. This saves completed Quest modes as well as unlocked characters and arenas.