This will be part of a series of reviews concerning video games, video game consoles, movies and TV shows. Try to imagine me as a kinder, gentler version of the Angry Video Game Nerd –with apologies to James Rolfe.
Because of the 1991 Gulf War, computer games involving military simulation had become all the rage. Among such computer games were tank simulation games. Attempting to put a tank simulation game into a video game console proved challenging. The original 8-bit Nintendo was limited to being two dimensional. The 16-bit Sega Genesis was three dimensional but the graphics was somewhat chunky-looking and not very detailed. Then came the video game console with the PC game quality –the 32-bit Sony Playstation (now known as Playstation 1/PS1). Possibly the best –and only- tank simulation game for the Playstation was Panzer Front by Agetec. What was possibly the most ironic –and very tragic- was that this video game was released around the time the U.S. was still reeling from the events of September 11, 2001.
This video game focused World War Two and you got to operate a German, Russian, and American tanks in the most celebrated tank battles of the war. In each level you drive your tank and then switch to gunner’s position to attack enemy tanks and other targets. You also command other tanks to move to certain areas and attack the enemy. There is also an additional level where you drive an M1 Abrams tank and take on the Russian T72s.
The video game has its good points and drawbacks. The good points are that the video game faithfully recreates the tanks, halftracks, and artillery employed in the battles. The explosions and artillery barrages add to the realism. This can also be like being in a war movie. Perhaps the obvious downside is that you can only fire the main gun and not the co-axial machine guns.
Apparently Agetec may have been aware of the video game’s drawbacks and made a new video game for the Playstation (PS1) that was basically the same game but with more levels and features that were missing. The video game was simply titled Panzer Front Bis. The “Bis” was French for “again”. What was probably a sore point was that this video game was not only made in limited numbers but was only available for the European Playstation (PS1) console. It is not available for the American console. In the words of James Rolfe (the Angry Video Game Nerd), “what the **** were these people thinking”? I would have loved to have gotten my hands on this puppy.
Following Panzer General, Agetec made two more military simulation games for the Playstation. Unfortunately, they were complete duds and were not worth having. One tried to pass itself off as a World War Two flight simulation game –badly. The other video game involved tank simulation but was actually inferior to Panzer Front. It was that mediocre.
When the Playstation 2 came into being, Agetec developed the video game Panzer Front Ausf. B. This video game has improved features and graphics that add more realism. The video game focuses on the tank battles in France 1940 (French, British, and German) and North Africa (British, German, and Italian). Again, what has to be another sore point was that this video game is only available for the Japanese Playstation 2 console. It is not available for the American console. In the words of James Rolfe (the Angry Video Game Nerd), “what the **** were these people thinking”? I would have loved to have gotten my hands on this puppy too.
Looking back at Panzer General was unquestionably the best video game for the Playstation. There were tank simulations found in some Playstation 2 games but they are limited to gameplay levels, as opposed to being straight-out tank simulation games. Among such games were Call of Duty, Brothers in Arms, and Battlefield 2. Still Panzer Front is an enjoyable video game to play.
Original video game:
Improved version -but not available in the U.S.:
A really crappy video game:
Another really crappy video game:
A really excellent video -that you will never get to play: