From the mission orders, which are written in acronym-heavy military parlance, to the execution, where combined arms and timing are key, this is every byte a soldier's game. The name refers to a well-rounded formation that includes all the ingredients for both offensive and defensive action: tanks, mechanized infantry, reconnaissance elements and artillery.
The game's scenarios cover a variety of settings, from U.S. training centers to hot spots such as Kosovo and Korea. All of these appear as an overhead map of the battle area with elevation contour lines and red and blue silhouette icons indicating where your troops are and where enemies have been spotted.
The spartan looks aren't really a problem for a determined and imaginative gamer, but the interface is somewhat cumbersome, particularly with moving units. (Fortunately, the game clock can be sped up or stopped, which compensates for the widely varying pace of the action here.) If anything is lacking from the realism of this otherwise extremely authentic game, it is a human element: There is no morale to worry about, and your men neither make decisions on their own nor hesitate when you order them to certain death.
BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM, Shrapnel Games/Prosim
Hard-core real-time tactical wargame.
Bottom line: Real, almost painfully so.
Details: Win 95-98, $23, at www.shrapnelgames.com
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