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Panzer Bonanza

Discus Games, the brutes that inflicted Phantasmagoria ("the most terrible game which left on PC") and Harry's Adventures: Prooves Under Underwear ("the funnyman and the ladies' favourite named Harry undertakes investigation") on Russian gamers, are just about to make amends by giving them a surprisingly decent WWII tank sim.

A fresh-from-the-smelter ingot of Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942 can be found here. Play is a little confusing to begin with (hence the brief guide after the jump) but give-up and you'll miss out on some vintage armour drama. I won't give too much away, but my first three attempts at holding Sovkhoz Krasny Gigant ended in dismal failure. In one my trusty T-34 toppled into a shellhole. In another I was sniped after sticking my head out of the hatch to observe a trench-line. Then there was the time I ran out of AP shells and resorted to ramming Fascist war machines while singing 'Konarmeiskaia pesnia' at the top of my lungs. (With luck they'll name a Moscow Metro station after me.)

For the Steel Fury basics...

You start the mission sat in the gunner/commander seat (one-and-the-same-thing in a T-34). Dabbing F9 takes you to a useful external view. The WASD keys get you moving.

Sovkhoz Krasny Gigant is over the hill directly ahead. If you don't want to go in through the front-door you can pick your own route using landmark icons (+/-) or the map (F8) as orientation aids.

Surveying terrain is best done from the turret. Hit F9 to take you back to an FP view, then H to open the hatch and P to stand up. Binos are accessed with B.

Before you engage anything you need to put a shell up the spout (load status is indicated by the icon bottom-right). Press 1 to select AP (good against armour) or 2 to select HE (good against everything else) . R loads.

On spotting targets you'll probably want to come to an abrupt halt (Q) and jump to the gunsight view. J closes the hatch, INSERT activates the sight, BACKSPACE zooms in. To loose a shell click LMB. To hose with the coaxial MG click RMB.

If ever the WASD keys stop responding then you've either damaged your tracks (by default auto-repair is on, meaning you should be moving again in a few minutes) or lost your driver. In the latter situation, take-over the levers (F1) and drive youself around using the cursor keys. F2 returns you to the gunner/TC perch.

Well, that's the rudiments. Good hunting!

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Tim Stone


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