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Posted on Apr 30, 2006 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Stalingrad 42 – Game Review (PC)

By Robert Mackey

3D zoom-in view. I’m just about to pummel the German motorized anti-air battalion in the red box with the 657th Artillery Regiment. Note the detail available on the German AA unit-at a glance, the player can see the unit’s number of vehicles, current personnel, and morale. The Katyushas of the 89th Guards Mortar Regiment have just killed 8 Men in the headquarters of a German panzer division in downtown Stalingrad. Learning to use appropriate weapons against the correct targets is a large part of mastering the game.

If you have even a slight interest in a solid, crash-free hardcore wargame, Stalingrad 42 is for you. However, there are a few detrimental parts to the simulation. The graphics of the Panzer Campaigns series are ‘low performance supportive’-don’t expect Hi-Res on the maps and units. To be fair, the active mod community for HPS games has done a lot of work on creating upgraded graphics for the series, so there are downloadable sets out there that can bring the unit information and icons up to date. Background sounds are functional and add to the game, but I found I would just turn them off after a bit.

Overall, Stalingrad 42 is another fine, serious wargame from HPS and continues the tradition of excellence that is the hallmark of the Panzer Campaigns series.

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Graphics (12/20):

Functional, with plenty of information on units that can be seen at a glance. The Panzer Campaigns graphics are becoming a bit dated, but takes nothing away from gameplay.

Ahh, the Penal Companies. I threw these traitors to the People at the Romanians in their trenches. Yeah, I know I’m evil. The historical detail and accuracy in Stalingrad 42 is stunning; clearly Hiller and co. have done their research. The clock is ticking for the German 6th Army. Can anything save them now?

Sound (6/10):

Sounds include artillery and machine gun fire, and general background sound. They neither detract, nor add for that matter, much to the simulation.

Documentation and Technical (10/10):

The on-disk and in-game documentation is excellent. A searchable Help database is available in the game, obviating the need to print out a manual.

Pros: Historically detailed and playable, with a healthy number of scenarios allowing for a short or extremely long game. Low demand on older processors (except for the big scenarios) makes it playable on obsolescent systems.

Cons: Adequate, but dated graphics and sound. They take nothing away from gameplay but could use a good updating.

Bottom Line: A huge, historically accurate simulation of the Stalingrad campaign. Well worth buying for any fan of the Panzer Campaign series and anyone interested in the brutal fighting of 1942-43.

Armchair General Score: 83%

HPS Simulations Stalingrad ’42

Discuss Stalingrad ’42 on the Armchair General forums.

Author’s Information

Lieutenant Colonel Bob Mackey, Ph.D., is a US Army combat veteran of Panama, Desert Storm and OIF, currently assigned as a strategic plans officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is the author of The UnCivil War: Irregular Warfare in the Upper South, 1861-1865, and is an avid wargamer.

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