Blitzkrieg Anthology

Blitzkrieg Anthology

The Lightning War on your PC

RecordNow 10 Music Lab Premier

Game Category: Strategy – RTS, History, Military
Developer / Distributor: Nival Interactive / CDV Software Entertainment
Release Date: 19 Sep 2005
Rating: ESRB – Teen, PEGI 12+

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Revisiting Great Games

Blitzkrieg – this a word that military students all around the world have to grapple with. Be it in a written assignment, table top war game simulation, or played out on a virtual battlefield, the study of this subject surely leaves quite an impression on many.

The word “blitzkrieg” was likely coined by the press as Europe reeled from the aftermath of Germany’s lightning invasion of Poland during World War II. In fact if you took a close look at the word, blitzkrieg literally means “lightning war” in German. Its full meaning however refers to a swift and intense military offense involving mobile armour divisions and aerial bombardment that aims to spearhead into the heart of the enemy and incapacitate them. This is exactly the idea behind the Blitzkrieg series of games.

Who would win? Rommel or Patton

[Editor: I had already reviewed Blitzkrieg a while back ago, so this time I’m back to finish the job – to complete the review of the Burning Horizon and Rolling Thunder expansions. I’ll also have a few words to say about the Iron Division Expansion found in the Blitzkrieg Anthology.]

The Blitzkrieg Anthology, developed by Nival Interactive and their collaborative partner La Plata Studios, takes three great games and collects them into one impressive set: the base game of Blitzkrieg which brings you through three great military campaigns, Burning Horizon – the impressive first expansion that follows in the footsteps of Field Marshal Rommel, and Rolling Thunder – the second expansion that caps the collection with a fine selection of battles featuring General Patton at the forefront.

Multiplayer is still very alive

Burning Horizon Expansion
The campaign in Burning Horizon takes you on a historical tour together with Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. The Desert Fox (as he is also known), will take you through 18 maps divided into 6 chapters.

First, there’s the Sichelschnitt Plan (also known as the Sickle Stroke Plan) as you embark on taking Belgium while sightseeing in the lovely Ardennes. Then you head To the Channel as you break through the Maginot line, destroy Bofor anti-aircraft autocannons, and finally win a heated battle near the channel.

It was exhilarating making it pass the Maginot Line

After that you head south across the Mediterranean Sea to North Africa. There you will embark on Operation Sunflower in the scorchingly dry, sirocco-laden terrain of Libya. In the Desert Fox, you will be battling at the Siege of Tobruk; this are some of the most exciting battles in a Blitzkrieg game ever.

After successfully completing this chapter, you will enter On the Zenith – a trip that takes Rommel onto Egyptian soil. It culminates with a fierce battle through the Kasserine Pass where you can exact your revenge on the Allied Forces. Finally, it’s off to Fortress Europe as you watch a couple of paratroopers drop in on your starting trio of missions for the final chapter – a pure fight to the finish that ends with a fantastic showdown of forces.

A steamy Singapore

There are a handful of interesting missions that comes with Burning Horizon. You get to try out several exotic missions that bring you to far flung places like Norway, (and of all places) Burma, and Singapore. You’ll get to fight against the Japanese in some of these missions, which makes for quite a nice change.

Rolling Thunder Expansion
In the second expansion, La Plata Studios follows the same formula they employed in their first expansion. This time round, you’ll be following General George S. Patton as he battles his way through Morocco in Operation Torch, and Sicily in Operation Husky.

Desert Dare

Relive D-Day in The Invasion; frankly, you may be shocked by the great number of troops you get to control at Omaha Beach. After that, it’s a Race through France as you pass through Dreux and then wind up in Orleans (just 80 miles south of Paris).

Next up, the fifth chapter is the Battle of the Bulge. What could be more strategically important than to relive the moment of the Siege of Bastogne – possibly one of the hardest missions in this expansion. Following in the footsteps of the Band of Brothers, you will proceed In The Lion’s Den to finally wrap up World War II.

It doesn’t have to end there though, you get 8 additional missions that will bring you to New Guinea, Spain, and Siberia.

D-Day!

Iron Division Expansion

The Iron Division Expansion adds two additional mini-campaigns: a 4-mission USSR campaign known as Budapest Metal, and a 5-mission Germany campaign called Grey Tigers. You also get a handful of new missions in this expansion. I especially found the Siege of Budapest – the final mission in the Budapest Metal campaign to be fun and challenging to complete. It’s a rare treat indeed for real-time strategy buffs.

Pros:

  • Both the Burning Horizon and Rolling Thunder expansions allow you to relive some of the greatest battles ever – as seen through the eyes of Field Marshal Rommel and General Patton. These two 18 mission campaigns are worth the price of admission alone.
  • The Iron Division expansion is a worthy “distraction” of sorts; especially for those who prefer shorter more manageable campaigns.
Not forgetting the Iron Division Expansion
  • There are quite a handful of improvements like new transport, artillery, SPGs, armour and aviation. You’ll get to upgrade your units and use these new toys at certain points in the game.
  • Most of the new missions are really well designed in terms of map layout and troop selection. Playing them brings even more intense game play to your PC.
  • It’s close to 7 years later, but yet many people are still playing Blitzkrieg on multiplayer.
  • If you didn’t get enough of Blitzkrieg, then this anthology is the ultimate cure-all!

Cons:

  • Although you get new units and new map designs in the two expansions, the experience of playing the standalone missions somehow still feels like a traditional game of Blitzkrieg. It’s only the campaigns that truly make the difference.
  • The problems of vanilla Blitzkrieg still persist in the expansions. I’d like to add though that you will need to manage a great number of troops in some of the maps, and the AI for vehicles is a bit shaky when it comes to crammed manoeuvring spaces.
Fight your way through the Kasserine Pass

Annex
A few other games released after Burning Horizon use the Blitzkrieg “Enigma” engine. Not all them are based on World War II however.

They include – Blitzkrieg: Green Devils, Stalingrad, Talvisota: Icy Hell, Cuban Missile Crisis: The Aftermath, Mission Barbarossa, Mission: Kursk, WWI: The Great War, Blitzkrieg: Operation North, Desert Law, and the Total Challenge Add-Ons I to V.

If you’re a true fan, then you know what to do…

World War I Cuban Missile Crisis Ice Crusade Blitzkrieg: Green Devils
For EU only For EU only

The Verdict

8Great

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