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Oxford Digital Enterprises
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Added: 6 Nov 2012
"Team Yankee" was the first in a respected trilogy of tank simulations by Empire Software ("Pacific Islands" and "War in the Gulf" being the follow ups). The game is based on the book of the same name by Harold Coyle, which was a New-York Times number one bestseller. In the book the Russians have decided to heat up the cold war and start a campaign in Europe. You are captain Sean Bannon, commander of the tank company Team Yankee. With 4 tank platoons under your command, it's your job to wipe out all Russian activity, which is situated in Germany. An intruiging story...But what about the game?
The game starts with a nicely, animated intro sequence. For the in-game graphics, the creators have decided the use sprites instead of 3D objects. It all looks nice, with a lot of attention to detail, but it has a downside. The scenery does not feature any hills or valleys. This seriously decreases the realism factor. It's even funny, as some of the missions take place on a hill, yet there is no hill to be found on the battle ground. Apart from this, everything looks top notch...
Not much to announce here. Some very sparse sound effects now and than. Gun shots, rocket explosions. Nothing impressive!
You start the game by entering your name. Once you have a file, you'll enter the mission briefing room. You may first practice a bit in a training mission. Once you completed this, it's time for some real war fare! The mission briefings are very detailed, with little animation, giving you a good overview of the scenario! You also have the option to set a call for artillery and smoke attacks. This has to be done on a time table, so make sure you don't call them to early on in a battle. Once everything is set, it is time to enter the arena! The missions all seem pretty realistic and accurate, and they increase gradually in difficulty.
You start the first few missions with a fresh platoon, but once you've earned some stripes, you'll have to watch out and try not to loose to many tanks, as you will have to play the following missions with what was left from the last one! "Team Yankee" features a very nifty view option! As mentioned before, you are in control of 4 tank units at once! You have the ability to choose between a 4 way split screen, or 1 tank view. The 4 way split screen gives you a better view of your platoon, and you might need it in fierce battles, when the enemy attacks from everywhere...But it lacks the detail that can be found when using the fullscreen.
You position your units using the map. You can only move your tanks using the map view. That can be a real pain in the butt, as you'll find yourself switching between different views in the heat of the battle. You can only move your turret in Tank view mode, speed and formation has to be controlled using the map. Also, the drivers of the tanks are really dumb. They can't seem to follow roads or track, so you have to position them very accurately if you don't want to lose speed. There is yet another view, which shows you the damage inflicted on the tanks of each unit.
Although "Team Yankee" has a nice library of tanks, you don't have full control in choosing them. Most of the time you'll find yourself in a Bradly, an M1, an ITV or an APC. You can do this by switching from unit, or when one of the other tanks is destroyed and you are placed in another one. The firepower at your disposal varies from the canon, rockets to even heat seeking missiles. Other cool toys are the smoke screen, to make you partially invisible for the enemy, and the infra red view, to look through forests and smoke screens.
You also have a zoom view, for far off targets. It gives you a very satisfying feeling to blow up a Russian with a rocker at great distance, when he never saw it coming! Controlling the game is completely done by use of the mouse. The game has a nice user interface, but you'll have to get used to it! It could use some perfection though, as some of the options are placed in the different views.
It's frustrating to have to constantly switch to the map view, eg. just to stop your tank from moving, especially when you are under attack! This could have been done better. Also, the position of the enemy is fixed. I mean, there is no mission generation. If an enemy makes a surprise attack, you can bet he'll do it again the next time you try to accomplish the mission. This is also a bit of a let down, but on the other hand, it will help you plan the right strategy!
I liked "Team Yankee" a lot. The game garantuees hours of action packed fun! Though the user interface could have been better, you'll get used to it with some practice! And if you manage to finish it and want more, try one of the sequels. I wonder if they managed to optimize them, but that's for another time. If you want to play something other then the usual flight simulators, give this game a try. It's definitely one of the better tank games for the ST!
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