Prepare for battle in the Challenger II Tank when you boot up Tank
Commander by Domark. But also prepare to step back in time six years.
Tank Commander was released in 1995 as a multi-play capable tanksim. The
graphics are pre-Pentium and just adequate. If you can accept its limitations,
TC may deliver some passable gameplay.
Tank Commander is a DOS sim,
which means you can forget about DirectX and start thinking about config.sys
again. I run Win 98 on a Pentium III and found the sim would run fine if I
installed and ran it in the DOS window you can conjure up from the Start prompt.
Once you begin, you get to the setting panel where you adjust your sound and
detail levels and alter the standard keyboard configurations. A choice of
seven missions awaits, including volcano, arctic, desert, and urban
settings. Each mission consists of sub-sections with distinct objectives.
Complete the first objective and you may proceed through the mission.
You may observe the action using chase, gunner, driver, commander, or satellite
views. No matter how you view it, the tanksim's physics are completely detached
from reality. Your tank will spin and accelerate much more rapidly than real
life. The tank drives more like a hopped-up mustang than a 63 ton armored
assault vehicle. You will spend a lot of time zooming around and blasting
targets the onboard radar picks out for you. Tank speed and radar aren't the
only unrealistic aspects of the sim, either. You have at your disposal, on
a single tank, the cannon, coax machine gun, flame thrower, mine destroyer, even
a homing missile. Tank Commander sure outfits you well! And if you deplete your
ammo too soon--and you will--there are "power-ups" in the game to
refill your stores and armor. If you have reached the conclusion that Tank
Commander plays fast and loose with realism, I won't try to argue you out of
With dated graphics and borderline physics, what can be said in TC's favor.
Well, completing the mission is challenging. The AI is aggressive and you will
be under constant fire. Most missions give you the option to call for help. Air
support arrive in the form of war-hungry A-10 Warthogs. These guys can help you
clear a beach in a hurry! You don't relax or reconnoiter much in this sim--it's
pretty much shoot and scoot all the way. The enemy will show up in many
forms--Leopard tanks, helos. individual troops (fun to run over!), hovercraft,
destroyers--you name it. No matter how arcadish, Tank Commander presses a mean
attack. And the difficulty level increases as you progress through the missions.
During the mission, small video
inserts of your crew members will appear in the upper right-hand corner to
advice and alert you. Listen to them. This isn't their first rodeo. Completing
an objective is gratifying and you can get hooked playing this sim even though
it ain't pretty. The sounds are last in line. Nothing can substitute for the
echoing boom of the main cannon that M1 Tank Platoon 2
The programmers of Tank Commander display some novelty when they include drones
and helicopter surveillance. And wait till you crest a ridge and cast your eyes
on the ancient pillars of Stonehenge! Where are we, Toto? Share the fun with a
friend--TC offers modem play and network play for up to four players, although I
have never tried this feature out.
In its time, TC was pretty good
stuff. But five years is a lot in computer time and if you have the hardware,
you are better off with M1TP2 or Panzer Commander. If you don't own a Pentium
200 or better, perhaps Tank Commander could be the ticket for you. The price is
right, less than $10 in most stores. Or maybe you're one of those tanksim
commanders like me. You just don't feel right unless you've spun the turret on
every tanksim you can try. In that case, you will find a place on your shelf for
Tank Commander. Don't be surprised if you get a little fun out of it in the