Battlefield 1942

Appeared : 2002
Developer : DiCE
Editor : Microsoft
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Official Web Site :
My opinion : A great arcade war game

It's 1942, WWII and all that. Forget futuristic plasma weapons and rail guns, this is old-fashion war (I said old-fashion, not medieval).

Battlefield 1942 is a great game. Best proof of that is the speed with which BF1942 servers spread on the Web. In weeks from the demo download, they were all over the place. At any moment of the day, there are at least 380 servers and more than 2000 players slugging it out on one map or another.

This game is popular, because it is simple and well done. You hardly need a manual to get started, just jump in, find the standard keys and get going. The beauty of this game is that you can load a map and slug it out for ten minutes or two hours, following whatever time slot you have available. It is play-and-forget, packed with action and lots of fun.

In addition to the grunt, you can drive a jeep with or without passengers. You can drive a tank, alone or with a gunner. You can fly a single-seater plane or a double-seater with rear gunner. You can even fly a Flying Fortress bomber that makes a HUGE impact on earth-bound forces. Or actually pilot a battleship, aircraft carrier or even a submarine. With the big barrels and torpedoes that go with each kind.

There are a great many different things to have fun with, and they are very well implemented and balanced in the game. That makes for a lot of good, clean action.

Choosing your character

Joining a game

The in-game menu page

In addition to all this good stuff, BF1942 incorporates an AI that is fairly good most of the time, and a complete teamwork support. Call in for aerial support if you're pinned down. Be a scout and guide an artillery strike. If you get wounded, you can radio for a medic. If your vehicle is damaged, you can ask for repairs. If you feel scared, you can radio for reinforcements.

In most situations, the AI will respond correctly. A medic will show up when you called, sooner or later. An engineer will appear after a while. But don't move or you'll wait longer. However, don't even try calling for artillery support, it will never come. Reinforcements will, though.

Nice sea battles
Island battles
Snow battles

Another great thing about Battlefield is its openness to user modifications. Why is it that games based on major franchises (Alien vs Predator anyone ?) are locked tighter than a crusader's chastity belt ? Because the dicks at Fox (and elsewhere) have not understood anything about the value of keeping a franchise alive.

No risk with Battlefield 1942, though. Users are cranking out maps like crazy, and entire mods have been made (as usual, more or less well done). The Desert Strike mod is the one garnering the best following, so it would seem that DS is one mod to try.

DiCE is not letting it die either. Road to Rome came out (a bit of a let-down), and was followed by Secret Weapons (a must-have), so you could say that the franchise is alive and well.

All in all, this is a great game with a vast potential for good fun. But not all is fun and games on the Internet. Come here to see why.