Sabre Team

Copyright: © 1994 Krisalis
Genre: Strategy games

Strategy games

Sabre Team
One of the best squad-level turn-based games ever made, Sabre Team was a
minor hit on the Amiga for Krisalis, but failed to make any impact in the
PC market, no doubt due to the (well-deserve) success of X-COM, a similar
game that was occupying an obscene amount of my time-- and many others'--
in front of the computer. The timing of Sabre Team's release could not
have been worse, and as a result of the head-on collision with the X-COM
mania, the game never got the attention it deserves. The plot is
hackneyed, but serviceable: crazed terrorists have taken control of the
American Embassy in London. It is your job, naturally, to pick a team of
armed S.A.S. agents (British version of the US' SEAL team) and send them
to rescue the hostages and capture the terrorists. More interesting than
the plot is the inspiration behind it-- the game was inspired by the
famous Iranian Embassy hostage situation that introduced the world to the
grimly efficient S.A.S. squad. For many, the S.A.S (a.k.a. "Sabre Team"
are the black-clad rescuers of Princes Street depicted by the BBC as the
pictures of the last minutes of the siege were relayed live around the
world. Sabre Team the game is dedicated to S.A.S. agents, based on as
much information as the designers can get their hands on. Gameplay will
be very familiar to X-COM fans: select squad members, equip them, and
send them to tactical missions played out in nicely drawn isometric
overhead view. In contrast to X-COM's user-friendly interface, though,
Sabre Team's interface is very opaque, confusing, and leaves a lot to be
desired. Although most frequently-used commands are laid out as icons on
the main game screen, many common actions (e.g. equipping your agent with
a new gun) still require more than a few clicks. The game also suffers
from small quirks that together prevents the game from being a totally
immersive experience. For example, an agent with a 99 marksmanship score
can still miss ridiculously easy shots, and enemy AI leaves much to be
desired. Despite interface woes and small annoyances, though, Sabre Team
is still a great game once you get the hang of it. There are many weapons
to choose from, all modelled after real-life weaponry used by the S.A.S.
There are nice touches to the genre, such as the tradeoff between the
number of action points and inventory items: you can load up an agent
with 5 big rocket launchers, but he will likely end up with too few
action points to use them all. Perfect for fans of X-COM and Jagged
Alliance who are looking for a game that bridges these two classics, and
don't mind some user-unfriendliness.

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