The underrated cousin of NovaLogic's more popular Comanche: Maximum Overkill and its sequels, Armored Fist is a fun tank simulation that tries to woo both the arcade and simulation fans, and ended up attracting neither camp. In the words of veteran wargamer M.E. Brooks, "...The most realistic graphics ever done for an armored simulation could not disguise the semi-arcade nature of the gameplay. Yet, in many cases, it doesn't matter -- playing as either the Americans or the Russians, the intense graphics often overcome the limited realism." |
Mr. Brooks' synopsis succinctly summarizes the game. While die-hard fans of tank sims will be disappointed with the unrealistic physics model and the almost total disregard for historical accuracy, casual gamers will enjoy the amazing graphics that were revolutionary for their time and had high hardware requirements. Weather patterns, including nighttime and passing clouds, are depicted in breathtaking detail, and it is obvious that NovaLogic has greatly refined the Comanche engine to yield less pixellation and more detail. Drive close to the lake, and you will begin to see your tank's reflections in the rippling water. I don't usually like to describe graphics in a game because it is often not integral to gameplay, but Armored Fist is a rare case of graphics that truly enhances the playing experience.
Besides the limited realism, the game does have a few weaknesses that get in the way of total immersion. The terrain, similar to the one in Comanche, does not warp the way the Earth does. This means that you can come to an "invisible wall" when you reach the game's terrain limits. This definitely shatters the illusion, but fortunately the terrain is many square miles larger than Comanche, and you will have too many enemy units to worry about to have time for a leisure stroll. The gauges you see in the cockpit are also more decorative than usable, although a few gauges, such as the fuel indicator, must be monitored frequently. Enemy units also sometimes engage in strange, stupid behavior, such as behaving like sitting ducks waiting to be shot down.
Despite all its quirks and historical accuracy, though, Armored Fist is a Top Dog. As veteran wargamer M. E. Brooks said above, the game's "intense graphics often overcome the limited realism." Casual gamers and fans of 3D action games will enjoy this one.
Reviewed by: Underdogs