Close Combat Series

Close Combat in 3D Released, 10 years ago.
Date: Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:41 am
Topic: Matrix Games

In 2003 Matrix Games along with Eric Young released Eric Young's Squad Assault: Westfront. This was quite literally Close Combat in 3D. Eric Young was one of the original developers with Atomic. Squad Assault was the second and more successful attempt at putting Close Combat into 3D. GI Combat was the first and did not work very well, Eric Young also worked on that one. It recieved bad reviews and the forums turned into flames and have since dissapeared. From the images I attached you can plainly see the influence of Close Combat into Squad Assault. When I say its literally Close Combat in 3D, thats not an exaggeration, all the same options are there along with copied maps. There are some new options which I will touch briefly on, there are also things taken out like right clicking for map properties. The 3D camera view at first is hard to get used to, however after a couple minutes its simple. Once you find a good camera angle its likely you will stick with it, changing only to check map elevations and LOS. During my St. Mere Eglise battle I did notice troops popping smoke automatically to block incoming LOS, nice touch.

Click Read More for screenshots, the demo and more details.

Battle Options This screenshot if from the Squad Assault demo in the battle options screen. You can see many of the exact same options as we do in regular Close Combat. From looking at these options you may see some thing you'd like to see in the next Close Combat. Support timings, pause for orders (for the older folks), and combat lethality.
Mission Screen Heres your mission briefing screen. There's also multiple maps to remind you that you're in France. The coloured dots on map are other maps you can fight on in the full version. The briefing is great for single player to get you more immersed into the game.  For this mission, it must have been a German translating it to english.
Soldier Detail Here's a close of view of your troops awaiting orders and the information bar. On the information bar there is a nice reminder of the weather, this could help you in Close Combat by letting you know if the ground was firm or muddy. You also have the start button, map, mission briefing and surrender buttons right about the support icons. On the left is your teams bar, on the right is the teams individual characteristics. The info box is useful but you cannot click on the messages to see what team is saying them. On the bottom right of the minimap, the star icon indicates the enemy's deployment zone.
Defence Setup The battle has started. You can see the timer counting backwards to what we are used to. The blue bar is my defend bar. I am assuming the range you set your defend bar at is when your troops will engage, awesome! On the team details you can my men are KIA, panic, hundered and healthy. By the church you can see a lone American soldier. On the minimap in the upper right you can see all units my men have spotted. The red triangle is where my camera is. The German flag in the upper left is a victory location. Does this map remind you of Invasion Normandy's St. Mere Eglise? Its almost a complete duplicate! 
Assaulting St. Mere Eglise is very flat. On other maps you will be able to see the elevations. As troops occupy houses the roof will dissapear. It looks like they are always on the ground floor though. There is no right clicking the map to check elevation, or indications on roofs to see how many stories they are.
Reviews 10 years ago the review scores were not bad. Here's the Gamespot Review from January 28th, 2004. Download the Squad Assault Demo from CCS and check it out yourself.  

So the Bloody First has some lessons to learn from its predecessor. I do believe though that a 3D version of Close Combat will attract a different crowd than the 2D versions did. The 3D graphics of Squad Assault were nowhere near top of line for 2003. Mainly its the terrain that lacks all the detail. The soldier modelling is not bad, there is also different animations for death, climbing and crawling. Maybe when this game was released it seemed like a great conversion of Close Combat into 3D, looking at it after 10 years have passed makes me think it was a very basic and crude conversion.

This article comes from Close Combat Series

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