Close Combat: Cross of Iron
The Close Combat series has had such a long and intricate history, it's surprising BBC4 hasn't made a long and portentous seven-part documentary about it.
If it did, the Radio Times would say: "Back in 1996, Microsoft released Close Combat, the flagship WWII RTS to help establish it as a games publisher. It was small-scale and intensely realistic, recreating the chaos and thunder of battle down to the last bullet, grenade and scream. But not Hollywood enough for your mainstream audience, four sequels later the series drew its last breath."
But no. Thriving among the modders and hardcore strategy players who decried it the best RTS ever - WWII or otherwise - Close Combat clung to life. And now the beaverish CC community has helped brush up and re-release one of the better titles in the series: 1999's Close Combat III. OK, so on one level this is an eight-year-old game shipped out as if new. The missions, units and historical data might be different, but the graphics and overall feel are dated, without doubt.
Bit of a con? Well, yes and no. See, the point is that this is still the best WWII RTS out there, for historical accuracy and hard-nosed squad tactics, hands down. And in multiplayer at least (the main focus of this update), it's one of the most gripping. Sure, the emphasis on tactics and cover etc make it slower than today's bells-and-whistles RTSs, but the time you get to think makes it one of the cleverest. Some games just don't seem to get tired with age. Chess and Close Combat are among them.
Download Close Combat: Cross of Iron
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP