Team Yankee

Copyright: © 1990 Oxford Digital Enterprises
Genre: Simulations


Team Yankee
Based on the book of the same name (that was included with the game),
Team Yankee is a decent 3D tank simulation based on an alternate history
premise that the Soviet army has decided to heat up the Cold War and
mount a conventional campaign into Central Europe. You control a tank
contingent that prowls the scenic (but unnaturally flat) countryside for
Soviet tanks to destroy. The variety of tanks you can control is good,
although it comprises mostly of M1 battle tanks, a few types of ITVs,
Bradleys, and APCs. Each mission starts with a briefing map, where
objectives are explained and available intelligence revealed. Here you
have an option to call in artillery and smoke on a timetable (so timing
is crucial). During missions, a scalable map allows for deployment of
your forces and will return some intelligence on enemy locations, if
sighted. One of the game's innovative features is the ability control any
or all tanks as your point of view. You can choose full screen, or to
have the maps or vehicle views in a four way split-screen. Full screen
affords more controls and greater visibility, while split-screen gives
you a broader view of the battle. While Team Yankee holds great promise,
the game is bogged down by very poor user interface and controls. For
example, you can maneuver tanks on the map, setting their speed, spacing
and formation, but for some reason you *cannot* control tanks from the
vehicle view. Inching forward through a forest therefore means switching
between the map and the tank view-- an unnecessary nuisance. You can not
set way-points and the drivers are dumb-- you can't tell them to follow a
road track, for instance. Fortunately, the enemy AI is about as dumb as
your own drivers', so the game Weapons range from machine guns through
HEAT, Sabots to TOW missiles. Infrared allows you to see through smoke,
trees and at night. A wide variety of Soviet vehicles, from soft to very
hard, are represented. In all, the mouse driven interface is attractive
but awkward, with movement and weapons controls spread out in annoying
ways. There are some keyboard shortcuts but these are poorly laid out.
The small 4-way screens do allow for changing weapons, but not the other
options. This makes the game unnecessarily difficult to control, and
you'll find yourself at a distinct disadvantage in later battles, since
you are left with whatever tanks survive the previous engagements. This
means that later missions are practically unwinnable, and you have no
choice but to keep a lot of saved games and restore constantly. The
missions are interesting and fairly accurate, but trouble always comes
from the same places every time, so the game is quite linear and
predictable (though no less difficult). Being able to play the Soviet
side would have been interesting, as well as a random mission generator.
Still, Tank Yankee is an ambitious tank sim that deserves mention for
what it tries to do, although very poor user interface and bad AI really
detract from the fun.

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