Steel Soldiers is the follow-up to the massively popular Z, which was released back in 1996 - since then, the Bitmap Brothers have been working on their new title, and the hard work shines through.
Keeping the constant action, arcade style play of Z, Steel Soldiers is an action packed adrenaline rush, from start to finish. You don't get a moment where you can hide in your base and work away at building up your army like so many other games in the genre - instead you're put straight into battle.
There's none of the somewhat infuriating "managing of the army" by sitting around for the first half hour of play while each team builds up their army to a decent enough size as you so often get in other strategy titles. In Steel Soldiers you don't get the time to do this, it's all about getting across the map as fast as possible, and simply laying into the other team before they get you.
Single player games can last quite some considerable time though, but you never feel as though you're fighting a loosing battle, as the whole map (of which there are many) seems to be well balanced, allowing you to create a team which is definetly going to be equal or better than that of the opposition.
The Bitmap Brothers have clearly put a lot of thought into the system which runs Steel Soldiers - it's got all of the good features that other similar titles have, plus a few features that you've always wanted them to have, and very user friendly, and instantly accessible.
Steel Soldiers is only really let down by the fact that you need a really powerful PC to be able to enjoy the game fully - on anything less than 128mb ram with all the bells and whistles of powerful graphics cards, you're going to either struggle to play the game, or miss out on some of the added touches which make the game stand out from the crowd. However, if you've got a powerful enough PC then you'll find that the whole game is a treat to play, and will keep you happy for many hours on end.
The novel comedy aspect of the robots, mixed with the in-depth but arcade style of the game makes it an interesting mix, and not just your standard run-of-the-mill mine for resources, take to base, build tank, send to get destroyed style game. It's got much more to it than that, and oozes quality and playability.
One of the best strategy titles to be released for a long time, which shows that the Bitmap Brothers are masters in creating high quality games which are fun to play. Steel Soldiers is a must have title for every RTS fan.Overall score: 9 out of 10
Publisher: EON Digital
Recommended Price: £29.99
Available: NowBuy Z: Steel Soldiers at Amazon