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More variation, but is it better?
on 19 September 2003
I must point out like other reviewers have done - this is an expansion CD and hence needs the original Battlefield 1942 to play it.
Secret Weapons adds several new maps and new units to B1942 arena. While the add-on enables you to make more choices with these extra units that before, the fact that some of the equipment was never actually used in WW2 kind of makes the whole game less 'realistic'.
However B1942 was never really a game of true military strategy. It's about jumping online (for those lucky enough to have a broadband connection) and going face to face with a team of other first-person shooting gamers and trying to beat the other side. What makes not just the Secret Weapons add-on, but the whole B1942 family as a whole worthwhile, is the fact that no one character class is better than the rest. You need to adapt and change to the tactics residing on the battlefield before you. Keep getting sniped at? Chnage to a sniper and go like for like. Are you on a map when the enemy has several tanks? Then maybe switch to the anti-tank or engineer class to stop them dead in their tracks (quite literally). Secret Weapons adds yet more combinations and thought patterns to this process...
Those seasoned B1942 players out there will find nothing really remarkable about the Secret Weapons add-on. If you bought and liked the previous Road to Rome expansion CD, then the Secret Weapons purchase will be a worthy addition to your collection. If not, I would stay clear.
One final hurdle that the developers have got with the B1942 series is the astounding fan-based add-on packs that are available free off the internet. By sheer quirk of timing, my copy of Secret Weapons arrived from Amazon on the same day that I downloaded the latest version of the popular Desert Combat mod (0.4J) from [...] I installed the Secret Weapons CD, which nicely updates the core game components to the latest standard of v1.45 and played that for approx 45 minutes. I then installed the Desert Combat mod and tried that. Two hours later, I was still playing Desert Combat.
And that's the problem. Free, well crafted alternatives are out there and Desert Combat certainly has the edge. I do not regret buying Secret Weapons because, as a whole, it's a worthwhile update on the classic Battlefield 1942 game. However, I think only true fans of the add on packs need to really purchase it.
Finally, what have the developers done to the bots (or computer-controlled players for new comers)? As a seasoned player against the CPU controlled opposition, I've noticed on two of the Secret Weapons maps for the German bots to have a considerable advantage over the Allies side. I don't think enough play-testing was done against the bots on this expansion.