101: The Airborne Invasion of Normandy
D-Day buffs will know that Private Ryan (as in the film) was a member of the 101st 'Screaming Eagles' Airborne Division, so a game about paratroopers in Normandy on D-Day is well-timed. Unlike Saving Private Ryan, 101 is no real-time spectacular filled with blood and guts. It's strictly turn-based, although to create some uncertainty, each soldier moves in in accordance with his own initiative level, which is based on individual RPG-style abilities such as intelligence and experience.
The graphics are slightly above pathetic, and the sound effects roughly the same level above naff, but chuck in some solid gameplay ideas and dozens of different soldier actions and the sum total is an absorbing squad-level wargame with plenty of options and obstacles. You take command of a 18 paratroopers - pick them, equip them, and then fight them through a series of missions. The selection process is hard work but realistic, although you can easily lose half of them or more in the drop, so make sure you always have double the necessary equipment.
Each mission takes place on a 6x7 grid of maps, and the game does a good job of simulating the uncertainty and confusion of D-Day itself. However, the horrible uniformity of the bi-directional hedges can really get at you after a while, as can the painfully slow movement animations.
If you've got the patience, 101 is a very rewarding game, although the chronic slowness and occasional line-of-sight problems do hold it back from getting a much higher score.
Download 101: The Airborne Invasion of Normandy
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP