The origins of Close Combat: First to Fight start back in 1996 when Atomic Games released the first in a critically acclaimed series of military strategy games, Close Combat. The original game focused on creating a realistic battlefield simulation with the central focus on features left out of many strategy games. The psychological effects of battle on a soldier, a realistic line of sight system, and historically detailed graphic models made Close Combat an instant hit among military game buffs and strategy enthusiasts alike.
MacSoft, a division of Destineer, has begun to write the next chapter in this giant of battlefield simulations. Close Combat: First to Fight melds the realistic nature of the original strategy games with a first person shooter interface, creating a game that gives the average gamer an insight into the inner workings of today’s military forces without interrupting the real purpose of an FPS, shooting.
“Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue”
-In reference to Marine actions in World War II
Close Combat: First to Fight is a squad based authentic battle simulation putting the player in the role of a Marine fireteam leader. The use of computer controlled teammates in most shooters has been laughable at best. Your team would either blindly follow behind you, or run off shooting at targets in the distance.
First to Fight seeks to change all this with the most authentic team-based simulation to date. The tactics used by your fireteam in First to Fight are as close to joining the military as you can get without the whole shaving your head and boot camp thing. Every tactic employed in First to Fight comes direct from active duty Marines recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. While the game is set in a mid-eastern locale, the MacSoft team is quick to deny any affiliation with present day campaigns. First to Fight is not political, and instead focuses their actions on the realistic presentation of a modern battlefield.
The virtues of an accurately portrayed squad simulation become apparent the moment the player steps into the role of a Marine fireteam leader. A fireteam consists of one heavy machine gunner, two riflemen, and the team leader (outfitted with a grenade launcher under his rifle).
Instead of requiring the player to give direct orders to every fireteam member for every action, the game assumes that you are part of a standard and well oiled Marine fireteam. When moving up a corridor your team will automatically spread out into their assigned positions. Every angle is watched, and absolutely nothing is left to chance. For example, if your fireteam is moving up a hallway with an intersection, your teammates will automatically take up covering positions at the intersection with one member watching your back, allowing the fireteam to safely cross. When moving up a stairwell each member of your team is looking either above, below or behind you, following the exact same procedures for ascending a stairwell as active duty Marines today. If your team is forced to go into the streets, the fireteam automatically splits putting two members on each side of the street allowing the team to watch the upper floors of buildings on the opposite sides of the street. These authentic Marine tactics allow you to focus on objectives without constantly checking your six, and shows the in-depth nature of the team-based AI.
While many of these actions are automatic, the game isn’t entirely on auto-pilot. Handy radial menus allow the player to issue orders to the men as well. If the enemy is holed up in a hotel, you can order two of your men into a flanking position and the other two to set up suppressing fire. And then the real fun begins.