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Fighting Steel: World War II Surface Combat 1939-1942

aka: Fighting Steel : Combat naval de la 2nde Guerre Mondiale 1939-1942, Fighting Steel: Seeschlachten 1939-1942

Description official description

Fighting Steel is a World War II Naval Surface Combat Simulator/Tactical Wargame covering the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters and recreating the most spectacular naval gunnery battles from 1939-1942. The game is the heir to Strategic Simulations earlier Great Naval Battles series, but is rendered in 3-D. Command over 90 different ship classes from the British, German, American, or Japanese fleets either as single ships or entire task forces consisting of several divisions.There are 10 historical scenarios, including long range daytime slugfests to close-in nighttime melees. In addition there are 4 linked scenario campaigns (1 for each navy), a battle generator and a scenario editor. The game can be played against the computer or multi-player over the internet.


Credits (Windows version)

65 People (54 developers, 11 thanks) · View all

Associate Producer
Production Assistant
Technical Advisors
Historical Research
Sound Editing
Sound Engineering
Screen Art
Art Direction
Additional Art
Manual Editor
Localization Programming
Test Manager
Lead Tester
[ full credits ]



Average score: 65% (based on 13 ratings)


Average score: 4.4 out of 5 (based on 3 ratings with 2 reviews)

Full speed ahead!

The Good
There is a very good online store that sends a free game with the purchase of a game. This is the game that I received for free and so far it has proven to be one of the most enjoyable games I've played. The scope of this game is limited four years of WWII and is solely focused on ship-to-ship combat. Die hard simmers will miss U-boats, aircraft, and land, but I personally felt challenged enough by combatants I could see.

This game plays in a 2D and 3D mode which the player can toggle between, the 2D mode is great for navigation and the 3D mode for torpedos. There is also a pause feature from which you can still issue commands. You can choose to command ships by division or individually and control navigation, gunnery options, and torpedoes. There is also a great customization feature that makes the game open to novices and challenging to experts (examples include allowing dud torpedos or having ships wander off-course).

The game has a campaign mode and a historical scenario mode (and an editor). So far I have confined myself to the historical scenarios (such as sinking the Bismarck) and I am very pleased that you can play a scenario as one side then replay it as the other. This option revealed how good the AI actually is. The AI reacts to different strategies and seems capable of making decisions on the fly.

Graphically this game is limited, even accounting for its age. Ships are pretty well detailed, although damage is only shown through smoke and fire effects. The water on the other hand fails to inspire.

The manual is among the best I have ever read. It is concise without lacking information and gives detailed statistics on units and explains game controls. The manual also contains a section where the programmers explain their vision of the game and explain decisions such as not including submarines. The interface seems daunting at first but after I learned the keyboard shortcuts, it became very easy to issue commands without pausing the game.

The Bad
Apparently this game was very buggy in its initial release, subsequent patches have fixed aspects of gameplay but even now this game will crash to Windows at least once a session* and occasionally sound drops out when I switch between the 2D and 3D mode.

Also, while the sound of the ships, guns, and water sound fine, there is no ingame music and the few voice-overs "One of our ships is sinking." "A torpedo has struck an enemy ship." don't have the urgency you would expect.

Other than that, I have no complaints.

This is extremely annoying, but you can select an auto-save feature to save your game every 5 minutes.

The Bottom Line*
This is a very engaging war game. I am largely unfamiliar with the genre (having only played games Pirates and Man of War, but I appreciate games that incorporate strategy in gameplay like Myth. If you enjoy naval combat, from what I've seen, this is one of the better games available. Hopefully a sequel will improve stability and graphics.

Windows · by Terrence Bosky (5375) · 2002

Marvelous concept, fantastic subject, lousy execution

The Good
Accurately gives speed and gunnery data for all ships and is relatively easy to a person who is not well-versed in world war two naval tactics to grasp concepts easily. Bottom line is; in most respects a superior game!

The Bad
The rules/data regarding torpedo types is a complete DISASTER! The Japanese long lance torpedo (possibly the most effective weapon of the war) is put on the same technical level as the Type 21 American torpedo! The programming staff fumbled the ball BADLY here! If you compare speed, range, detectability, and reliability, there is NO comparison! If a player wishes to perform as the Japanese player, they will be sorely disappointed in this game. As stated before, gunnery, radar and surface interfaces are superior. If the Japanese cannot overcome the natural disadvantage they have at the hands of the USN ESPECIALLY at night, with accurate performance of a superior weapon, then the game is fatally flawed in respect to complete accuracy and playability.

The Bottom Line
Raves........as stated above raves both good and bad.

Windows · by Robb Davis (2) · 2002

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 5357


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by CygnusWolfe.

Additional contributors: formercontrib, Barbarian_bros.

Game added November 26th, 2001. Last modified February 22nd, 2023.