Close Combat: First to Fight - PC

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Also for: PS2, Xbox
Viewed: 3D First-person / Third-person Genre:
Combat Game: Infantry
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Destineer Soft. Co.: Destineer
Publishers: 2K Games (GB)
Released: 29 Apr 2005 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 16+
No Accessories: No Accessories


Though it has been quiet on their front for sometime, Atomic Games are back with another title in their Close Combat series. Fans of realistic strategic war games will already be familiar with the series, of which there have been four iterations so far, all set in various theatres of the Second World War, like Normandy and Russia. Close Combat fans know them for a cerebral type of top-down strategy game, where the emphasis is placed more on sound tactics than frantic RTS-style reactive gameplay.

This time the action follows the US Marine Corps in Beirut. Because of the nature of that conflict, and no doubt because of the popularity of the sub-genre in recent years, Close Combat: First to Fight is a strategic squad-based First Person Shooter. Developed with the help of more than 40 active service Marines returning from tours of duty in the Middle East, First to Fight will be used by the US military as a training tool and gives the player control of a four man Marine fire team fighting up close in the streets of the troubled city of Beirut.

Squad gameplay is based on the tried and tested US Marine ‘Ready-Team-Fire-Assist’ tactical system. The phrase describes the roles of each of the members of a four man team, and comprises one leader (played by you), a heavy machine gunner and two soldiers with assault rifles. If that doesn’t sound like enough to help you survive in the Mediterranean hotspot, remember ‘A Marine is never alone’. Full tactical support is available in the form of SeaCobra helicopter gunships, amphibious landing vehicles, sniper teams, long range support from 81mm mortars, and the mighty M1A1 Abrams tank, which your team of four happens to be just large enough to crew.

Like its strategic, larger scale battle predecessors, one of First to Fire’s selling points is its morale system. The morale of each character is calculated throughout, giving the game a psychological edge lacking in many of its competitors – outflanking manoeuvres will alarm and disorientate your enemy, and you can use the impressive firepower at your disposal to force him into the position you want him in. All in all, Close Combat: First to Fire looks like a fine game for those who like their squad-based shooting games with a heavy dose of factual realism.