Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord, requires a Pentium 200 with Windows 95/98 or Apple Mac 603e 200 Mhz with MacOS 7.5, 32 MB RAM, CD-ROM drive, www.battlefront.com, $45.00. Available only direct via the Internet. Don’t let that stop you, however, as this may be one of the finest computer-based wargames ever made.

Combat Mission is turn-based, but this product handles the concept of a turn differently than typical wargames. Instead of a gentlemanly series of exchanges where the user and the computer take turns ordering their forces, Combat Mission splits a turn into two phases, one for giving orders and the other to view action. The player and computer simultaneously assign their orders to troops in the first phase, where the action is paused. Then the computer determines and displays the results simultaneously during the action phase, where the soldiers have knowledge of the orders but act independently. The approach permits the thinking player time to assess a situation and give orders at leisure, but also captures the intense fear and exhilaration of combat, since the resolution phase plays like a war movie. As unexpected events develop on the battlefield, the user can only watch and hope his troops have the intelligence to adapt to the situation.

Bernard Dy