In the tradition of the Strike series, Electronic Arts is releasing another military-themed action/strategy game. Instead of helicopters, you now control a fleet of ships engaging in naval operations. During the game, you can choose from a variety of ships that you'd like to control. Available ships include aircraft carriers, destroyers and submarines. You control your chosen ship in a one-on-one battle with an enemy ship, where you maneuver your vessel to get the best attacking angle. Once you are properly positioned, you begin your attack. During the battles, you continue to move in an attempt to dodge incoming fire. Battles are rendered with excellent 3-D graphics for true realism.
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It's no battle to find games that let players duke it out hand-to-hand, air-to-air or on good terra firma, but so far few console titles have gotten combat-cravin' gamers' feet wet. EA's Battle Stations-a high-seas, ship-to-ship romp-is an explosion-filled exception. With its small navy of ships that players can match in one-on-one battles, the game plays like a '90s version of the Intellivision classic Sea Battle.
Battle Stations has two modes of play: Arcade and Campaign. The Arcade is straightforward enough-players choose one ship, the computer or a second player picks another. The two try to blow each other out of the water. The game packs eight ships in all. including a patrol boat, submarine, mine layer, troop transport, destroyer, cruiser, battleship and aircraft carrier.
In a way, Battle Stations plays like a Street Fighter II for naval buffs; each ship has a health bar and can perform unique attacks. For instance, the aircraft carrier-the most advanced ship in the game-can launch depth charges, a defensive air patrol and squadrons of F-14 fighters to bomb opponents. The slow-moving troop transport, on the other hand, only packs depth charges and a single tiny cannon, but it carries the Marines you need to complete certain missions. Each ship also comes with defensive weaponry, such as anti-aircraft guns and radar jammers, as well as a rescue helicopter that will snatch overboard sailors from the sea (such rescues grant a health boost). Success depends on your learning the abilities of each ship and sending the best-suited boat into battle.
Campaign Mode is more strategy-oriented. The game offers 10 campaigns in all, and they come in five levels of difficulty. Campaign goals include searching for an experimental sub, protecting your homeland-even saving the whales! Each campaign begins on a Map Screen, where you can combine your ships into task forces and send them on their way. Combat begins when your ships meet up with the enemy vessels. While on the map. you can have your mine layers create mine fields or send your subs into enemy territory submerged and undetected.
Battle Stations also includes several two-player games, including a capture the flag and capture the harbor scenario-which requires your troop transport and its load of Marines.
Battle Stations certainly hasn't ridden on any tidal wave of hype and is a surprise title from EA. But does it have what it takes to be a sleeper hit, or is it just a plain of' miss? Turn to the Review Crew section for a critical look at the game to find out
- MANUFACTURER - EA
- THEME - Action/Strategy
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
There hasn't been a war sim that's this fast or this tun since Iron Storm. Battle-Stations is a one-or two-player game where you can wage an arcade battle against another player or mount a full-blown strategy campaign against the computer. The ships duke it out by firing guns, launching homing missiles, sending out F-14 fighters (which you can also control on kamikaze runs), and more. EA is touting the arcade component as being like Tekken 2 with ships. While that's going a little too far, it's safe to say that this early version is fun and addictive once you get used to the controls. BattleSta-tions may prove to be a lethal Strike successor.
Load the main guns, man the torpedoes, and clear the flight decks--BattleStations invades the PlayStation with seafaring arcade action that has a strategic flair.
This battleship combat sim lets you square off against tyrannical dictators with a fleet of warships. You build a task force from eight types of devastating ships, including aircraft carriers, destroyers, and even submarines. You can play head-to-head arcade-style against a friend or the computer, or complete strategic missions similar to those in Soviet Strike.
The graphics and sounds are superb. The ships show excellent detail that includes fighter squadrons taking off from the aircraft carrier. Equally well-done and realistic are the explosions and the near-misses that hit the water. The sonic concussions, confirmation from your subordinates, and the driving soundtrack create authentic audio.
Controlling your vessel is tricky until you learn the physics of each ship. The Arcade mode will help you hone your navigation skills, though.
BattleStations is a solid combat game. It's tough sailing, but it's worth at least a weekend to see if it floats your boat for intense sea action.
- Use hit-and-run tactics to take out your opponent.
- In the Campaign mode, use the patrol boat to finish off any severely damaged aircraft carriers.
- Watch your ship's damage closely and send out the rescue helicopter at every opportunity.