Game Reviews: Battlefield Cuba
By Chris Oakley
based on the "Venceremos!" series by the same author
From the March 8th, 2004 issue of Gamers Weekly Magazine:
The wait is finally over--Battlefield Cuba, the long-anticipated second chapter of Colossus Games’ Cold War first-person shooter Xbox game series, goes on sale this week at stores all across the US. The Gamers Weekly staff got an exclusive sneak preview of Battlefield just before this issue went to press, and....well, color us amazed. This game captures the sights, sounds, and feel of the Florida Keys War so precisely you’d almost think you’d hopped in a time machine and gone back to 1961. It’s all here, from the epic Florida Straits sea clash that wiped out Castro’s navy to the final battle for Havana between American & allied ground forces and the last tattered remnants of the Cuban Communist army.
Battlefield also includes some pretty thrilling "what if" scenarios guaranteed to test the player’s thinking and reflexes. In ‘Behind Enemy Lines’, Cuban Communists succeed in occupying Key West and the player has the task of organizing a guerrilla campaign to drive them out; in ‘Bear Trap’, the showdown between American and Soviet military forces that (fortunately) never happened in the real Florida Keys War becomes a white-knuckle reality as the player directs the defense of Miami Beach against a Soviet invasion. With the special access code provided on the back of the game package, you can even unlock a hidden storyline option which previews the third game in Colossus’ Cold War series, Front Line Turkey, an alternate-history FPS adventure which imagines the June 1961 Turkish crisis erupting into full-blown war.
(As of press time Front Line Turkey is scheduled for release in early December.)
If you want to get right down to business and blow s*** up, you can choose from one of the ready-made characters included with each scenario. (Our editors’ personal favorite happens to be the cigar-chewing Royal Navy carrier pilot from the ‘Pinar del Rio’* scenario.) You can also use Battlefield’s character generator option to custom-design your own lean, mean fighting machine; if you’ve never played an first-person shooter game before or you’re a bit rusty on the fundamentals of FPS gameplay, Battlefield’s got a convenient tutorial option to help you get acquainted (or re-acquainted as the case may be) with the basics of FPS action.
Our only quibble-- and admittedly it’s a minor one in comparison to all of Battlefield’s considerable strong points-- is that there are a few anachronisms in this game in the choice of weapons available to the player. For example, the "Cabo San Antonio" scenario has American troops using M-16s when in reality the M-16 was still just a gleam in a gun designer’s eye at the time the Florida Keys War was fought; also, some of the air combat scenarios have Cuban Communist air force pilots flying MiG-23s even though the MiG-23 entered active service long after the Castro regime had been overthrown.
But for the most part, Battlefield Cuba is everything you could want in an FPS game or a Florida Keys War role-playing adventure. If you want to multiply your thrills, Battlefield has a multiplayer option that allows two or more people to play the same scenario either as a team or as opponents; the game is also available in home computer versions for the Mac and PC which both come with special links you can use to connect with other Battlefield competitors online through the official Colossus Games website. A Nintendo version of Battlefield is currently being beta- tested and is scheduled to be available in stores next spring.
On our 1-to-5 star ratings scale for judging games, Battlefield Cuba got these scores:
REALISM--4.5 stars(above average)
CHALLENGE--4.5 stars(above average)
GAMEPLAY VARIETY--5 stars(excellent)
HELP FEATURES--5 stars(excellent)
TUTORIALS--4.5 stars(above average)
OVERALL AVERAGE RATING--4.7 stars(highly recommended)
Battlefield Cuba is rated T for Teen because of some scenes of graphic violence and raw language. This game is not suitable for children under 13.
For a more detailed review of Battlefield, just go to our ‘New Games’ link at the Gamersweekly.com site; if you want to send in your own review or have tips for how to make playing Battlefield easier, click the ‘Contact’ button on our home page and send us an e-mail.
Next week in this space we’ll review another Cold War-themed game, the hot Manchurian War online strategy game Road to Vladivostok. Until then, game on!
*Editors’ Note: During the Florida Keys War, Britain formed a task force called "Special Action Group Caribbean" to support the United States in its conflict with the Cuban Communists; Special Action Group Caribbean included a number of Royal Navy aircraft carriers.