Squad Leader is a turn-based military strategy game based on the second world war. Makers of Squad Leader did another game, namely Soldiers At War, and Squad Leader can be considered a Soldiers At War 2, saying S.L. has much of the goodies of the first installment. Now the soldiers can crawl, use trucks & tanks and other interesting features. First thing, I recommend is that you start playing with boot camp. These little soldiers can do lot of things and boot camp helps you to learn about everything in short time, it's a really well done tutorial, take my advice, go to boot camp first, you'll avoid getting lost, since, of course, you are not going to read the manual, aren't you? After boot camp you can start campaign, there are three campaigns available (Americans, British and Germans). Let's Go for the American campaing, first mission is Omaha Beach...
If you have seen the movie "Saving Private Ryan" you are supposed to know what will happen on Omaha Beach.
These bastards will not invade us so easy (of course if they didn't pay well some general first...).
Before every mission you can choose every sing soldier and his equipment. It is very important to get right men and weapons for every mission (don't forget medics, at least I did need them, some nursery handy for a quick b/j will keep your soldier high! -hiv-). In some missions (like third on British campaing) it will be impossible to reach all the goals if you did not bring some engineers on the mission. Since there are few accomplishment to reach like blowing down cannons.
Controls are pretty easy to learn. If there is something that I can't stand of S.L. it's that when you thrown a handgranade and want to throw another one you have to choose hand-granade again. You will hit few mistakes before learning that (or that was just me?). There are keyboard shortcuts available if you like to use 40 fingers but for those with only two hands avaiable everything can be handled with the mouse. Gameplay feels bit slow, but otherwise this department is in good shape, with various hours of solid gaming.
Nothing special in sound/music department. Soldier speeches are easily describer: a real pain in the ass. I turned them off immediately. I consider annoying to hear soldiers calling 'mum' after being shot to dead. Music is meaningless crap (remember that it is only my own opinion, but still it stinks), but go for your favourites cds/mp3.
Graphics are isometric. If I remember correctly graphics in Soldiers At War were about the same level than Squad Leader. That was a couple years ago and seeing no improvements is pretty sad, anyway, overall graphics are ok and you would be able to play it pretty well with any old graphics card (not CGA -hiv-).
There is not a lot of competetion in this genre and Squad Leader is a good game to play. Nothing earth-moving but no big disappointments either. Anyway in my own ranking the best turn-based strategy game is still X-Com. Anyway, as a real fan of the genre, I will play a lot of Squad Leader in the close future (so watch out germans I am coming to kill you -I bet they did shit in the pants hiv-). If you are getting tired of all those C&C clones, then give a try to this one, but before, take few hours free, otherwise you will never get into this genre of games.