Panzer Elite (1999)
A vintage World War II tank simulator that continues to hold its own – and an adoring community – to this day.
Tim: Wings Simulations are, to my knowledge, the only developer with a creation on both the RPS Greatest Games list and the (surely in the pipeline) RPS Worstest Games one. While Söldner: Secret Wars did for the multiplayer military shooter what Thomas Bouch did for bridge design, Panzer Elite crushed all competition when it trundled onto PCs in 2001. It remains my favourite WW2 angry house game.
A dedicated cabal of modders have helped keep the sim relevant, rebuilding AFVs with 3D wheels, revising ballistics, smoothing angular map contours, and adding countless extra missions and campaigns. However, much of PE’s strength was there from the start. Spacious yet intricate venues encourage slow, circuitous advances and regular horizon inspection. An inspired control approach makes chaperoning tank platoons (you’re rarely in command of a single vehicle) surprisingly easy. Best of all there’s a carefully thought-out campaign system which fosters real concern for men and materiel.
Panzer Elite Action was a very different creature from the marvelous PE/PE Special Edition. If you’re interested in a spot of weekend Wittmann-ing be careful not to purchase the pale 2007 imitation by mistake.