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Steel Panthers

Available Platform: DOS

Steel Panthers is a turn-based historical wargame developed by Strategic Simulations Inc and published by Mindscape in 1995 for MS-DOS.

Steel Panthers

85/100 based on 10 Editorial reviews. Add your vote

DeveloperStrategic Simulations Inc
OS supportedWin7 64 bit, Win8 64bit, Windows 10
Updated3 December 2020

Game Review

Steel Panthers is a turn-based historical wargame developed by Strategic Simulations Inc and published by Mindscape in 1995 for MS-DOS. The game was designed by Gary Grigsby, considered the "founding father" of wargames for home computers.

The scenario is World War II. The player controls tanks, artilleries, and platoons on hexagonal maps, and it's possible to fight against the computer or other human players. If historical battles and campaigns are not enough, creating custom battles with the scenario editor is possible.

Steel Panthers received very positive reviews and was followed by two sequels, still played by a huge fan base.

Users Reviews

There are actually several versions of this game. The one that is published here refers to the Second World War, while other versions deal with modern armaments, and again if I remember correctly, a last version was put on sale starting from the beginning of the Second World War, up to the present day. The extreme accuracy of the game was reflected in the fact of visualizing the nations that actually existed in that historical period !!! For example, if you wanted to play with scenarios before 1989 and after 1945, both West Germany and East Germany were present. After 1989 and before 1946, a united Germany appeared. The same thing happened for the armaments, those that could be chosen were those that really existed in a given historical period. In the period of the Second World War there were no jet planes until the end of the conflict. In his time, I bought all the versions and I must say that it was truly a resounding success, I myself played them for whole days.

I have always preferred random scenarios, another wonder of this game, in fact, nowadays it is very difficult to find another strategic game of this type that contemplates the possibility of creating random scenarios. I always preferred a situation where I was at a substantial initial disadvantage, where I had to counter an enemy assault. I always made massive use of anti-tank weapons supported by infantry units, all hidden in wooded areas, buildings or hills, that the terrain of the fight could offer.

The enemy, to "soften" my defenses, made extensive use of his artillery, at times it was a real hurricane of fire. To counter this devastation, I learned to use my artillery as a "counter battery". This mode was very effective in detecting enemy artillery that was destroying my defense lines, and engaging them by forcing them to reposition or even hit them causing serious damage to enemy guns. Obviously, the anti-aircraft function was also of vital importance, if you did not have adequate cover against air attacks you could easily face defeat.

I remember that the battles never lasted less than an hour and a half. The game also included the use of smoke ammunition, mines and small arms, complete with a sound effect !!! I was preparing a rather articulated line of defense, minefields, infantry stationed to ambush, anti-tank weapons placed on positions that dominated as much space as possible.

The game had two authoritative ancestors "Kampgruppe" and "Mech Brigade", also these sprung from the fervent mind of the legendary Gary Grigsby. These last two games were made for eight-bit machines, such as the Atari 800 XL and Commodore 64. It seems to me that later versions were also released for Amiga and Ms-Dos. In any case, Kampfgruppe simulated a clash between German forces and Soviet units, in the context of the Second World War.

Mech Brigade, on the other hand, proposed a confrontation between the units of the western bloc (N.A.T.O.) and that of the eastern deployment (Warsaw Pact). Obviously, these are scenarios with modern armaments here. The graphics were those of eight-bit computers, therefore quite primitive when compared with today's graphics, but the game mechanism has remained the same. Maps that develop horizontally, impressive weapons database that faithfully reflected the real characteristics of each single weapon ... from the simple gun, to the most sophisticated of missiles !!! And with the truly avant-garde feature for those times, of varying the maximum flow rate of each individual unit. Therefore, since the units were detected when they fired, it was enough to set the range of the infantry units to the minimum to really realize the surprise of a real ambush !!! This feature has also been carried over to the "Steel Panther" series. Great game, no doubt, but it is a pity that it cannot be downloaded from Gamenostalgia .........

Review by: Maurizio Petta
Published: 5 November 2022 9:42 am

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