Low End Mac Reviews

Battlefield 1942: Addictive Gameplay

Jacob Loeb - 2005.08.12

I am sure you have heard it before. Some snooty PC user who says Macs are okay - but there are no games for the Mac. Perhaps this misperception is our fault. The Mac community spends so much time telling others about the movies, music, and photos we can make with our Macs that PC users just assume that we are deprived in the unmentioned areas. But it's just not true.

Although sometimes late, many games make their way onto the Mac, and one in particular has created obsessive behavior in yours truly.

Battlefield 1942 is a first person shooter that allows you to fight in all the major battles of World War II. From the Russian front to the Pacific islands, you fight as one of five different soldiers. From sniper to medic, Allied or Axis, you can choose your place in the battle.

Every vehicle you encounter is fair game to hop in and unleash your fighting fury. Tanks are by far your best resource on the field, but there are battleships, submarines, planes, jeeps, halftracks, antiaircraft guns, and many more.

The range of play and freedom of choice in this game is what makes it so addictive. Theft of enemy vehicles is not only allowed but part of a good strategy, depriving them of supplies. Strategy is important but not rigid. Decide to fight alongside your comrades or sneak up to the front lines to wage your own private war. Every time you fight the same battle, the choices you make drastically affect the outcome.

It's not just choice in the game play but even how you play the game itself. When you start to play Battlefield 1942, we would suggest it be in single player mode, of which there are two options: Campaign or Instant battle.

The campaign is probably closest to what you would consider traditional game play. Declare as Allied or Axis and fight battles in a steady progression across the world. It's a good place to start, because you do not need to win every battle to move forward.

However to just pick a fight, instant battle mode puts you square in the middle of any of the campaign battles.

Once your skills are honed, you may be ready for the other half of Battlefield 1942, the multiplayer function. Gather your friends or coworkers together and set one of the computers as a server. All the computer-generated soldiers are removed, and it's up to the group to pick sides and battle one another.

Depending on your friends, this can be the best way to play this game. You do not need to be in the same room or town to play together. Any copy of the game can be set as a server and played on at the same time. Just give your friends the battle time and server IP address, and you're ready to go.

Built into Battlefield 1942 are communication tools, so players can coordinate attacks with their teammates. This takes it from shoot 'em up to a full team strategy game.

If you don't have friends who have Battlefield 1942 installed on their computers, you can go online to the public games. Many servers are out there filled with people from all over the world at all hours of the day. So many people, in fact, that you might wonder whether playing this game is all these people do. The short answer seems to be that in some cases, yes, and they are good at it. So good, in fact, that you had best practice for weeks before you join in.

Any display of weak skills will be met with scorn - and in some cases you can be voted out of the game. Don't be disheartened by this. A green soldier in this game, as in life, can cost a battle. Go to boot camp and play in single player mode for awhile.

In terms of hardware, Battlefield 1942 puts a lot of stress on your computer. It played well on my PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, but that is on the low end of requirements. Keep in mind that the more power you give to this game, the better it will look and play. Fear not - it will scale down to accommodate what it's given, and it's worth having this game even if you just have the minimum requirements.

I can't stop raving about this game, to the point that people are starting to look at me funny. I have played video games since Atari hit the scene, but I would never call myself a gamer (having taken five-year breaks in between gaming systems).

Perhaps that is the best thing I can say about this software is that I don't play a lot of video games, but I just can't stop playing Battlefield 1942. In fact, I am going to go play it right now, so that's the end of this review!

Deluxe Version for Macintosh

Battlefield 1942 puts players at the heart of World War II combat, allowing them to choose from 16 famous battle sites, including Omaha Beach, Stalingrad, and Wake Island, from the four main theaters of World War II including the Pacific, Eastern and Western Europe, and Northern Africa.

With the ability to control more than 35 authentic Axis and Allied vehicles and select from five distinct character classes, players are faced with incredible choices in their plan of action. The Road to Rome will focus exclusively on the key, yet largely underpublicized, Italian and Sicilian campaigns of WW II. Battlefield 1942 and The Road to Rome also features incredible single player action. These levels feature unscripted, advanced AI allowing players a completely different experience each time they play.

Features

A unique, robust multiplayer component that supports up to 64 players on certain maps. Choose from fighter planes, dive-bombers, or heavy bombers and use your air superiority to gain a major advantage. Wreak havoc with your naval firepower with battleships, destroyers, and landing craft With a range of armored vehicles, unleash the brute force of these armored beasts. Sometimes a sidearm is all you need! Choose from sniper rifles, submachine guns, rocket launchers, and much more. With Road to Rome included, you will get more maps, more vehicles, and more fighting forces.

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later
  • PowerPC G3/G4/G5, 700 MHz or faster
  • 256 MB of RAM
  • 1.6 GB free disk space
  • 3D Graphics Acceleration required (ATI Radeon 7500/Nvidia GeForce 2 or better, 32 MB of VRAM)
  • DVD drive required to install and play

Multiplayer Requirements

  • Internet and LAN (TCP/IP) play supported
  • Internet play requires a 56 Kbps or faster connection

Rated: TEEN (blood, violence)

PowerMax's resident Mac expert, Jacob Loeb, has been using Macintosh computers professionally since 1990. In the 1990s he pioneered a Mac based DVD production company and later worked as an IT administrator for several Portland, Oregon companies. Over the last four years, Jacob has maintained the top Apple Product Professional ranking. As a PowerMax technician he has repaired, trouble shot, sworn at, and tested every Mac model PowerMax sells.

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