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The Truth About 9th Company

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The Truth About 9th Company (Russian: Правда о девятой роте) is the first Russian documentary computer game which was officially launched on 18 February 2008.[1] This war game simulates the historical battle for Hill 3234 taken place on 7-8 January 1988 in southern Afghanistan between Soviet paratroop units of the 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment and mujahideen.

The game was developed by the team of Extreme Developers, produced by Andrei Kuzmin's KranX Productions and published by 1C in Russia for the PC. The primary sponsor of the development was Dmitry Puchkov.[2]

Background

File:View from hill 3234.jpg

Dmitry Puchkov, the ideological leader and inspirer of development, and Andrei Kuzmin, the leader of KranX Productions game development studio, made a special investigation to discover the details of the Operation Magistral and the real circumstances of the Battle for Hill 3234.

The main thrust of The 9th Company movie - "they all were dropped out" - made the painful impression on me, and Dmitry's story about how everything happened, raised sudden desire to intelligibly tell as many people as possible how it was actually in that story.[3]

Dmitry Puchkov announced the idea of the game as the response to "the intentional destruction of historical memory of the people".[4]

As the result, the in-game mountainous terrain is reconstructed on the basis of the satellite imagery, and the progress of events is refined with the help of survived eyewitnesses.[3][5]

Storyline

The game storyline is divided into seven episodes that illustrate the key points of the battle for Hill 3234. In each episode the player is set the same combat mission that was completed by the real soldiers, the defenders of the hill. Episodes follow one after another according to the progress of events taken place on the battle field.

"The Forbidding Utyos", 7 January, 16:00-16:30

Roles

Vyacheslav A. Alexandrov, Guards Junior Sergeant, commander of the NSV 12.7 mm caliber heavy machine gun ("Utyos").

Situation

The intensive bombardment of the hill with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars was over. Corporal Andrei Fedotov, the radioman of the artillery observer team was killed by a RPG burst. 1st platoon men were leaving the safe range and returning to their positions.

Combat Mission

Acting as junior sergeant Vyacheslav A. Alexandrov, the player has to repulse the first attack launched by mujahideen from an unexpected direction. Weapons and equipment: NSV 12.7 mm caliber heavy machine gun ("Utyos").

"The Second Attack", 16:30

Roles

Andrei N. Tsvetkov, Guards Junior Sergeant.

Situation

By covering the positional movements of the 1st platoon men, junior sergeant Alexandrov has been killed. The main firepower of the defenders, "Utyos" machine gun, was disabled. The attackers were trying to move to the area of destroyed "Utyos" by covering with terrain and fallen darkness. The mujahideen were going to use this direction as a springboard for the next attack against 1st platoon's positions.

Combat Mission

Acting as junior sergeant Andrei N. Tsvetkov, the player's task is not to allow concentration of mujahideen at the defensive positions, weakened by the loss of the "Utyos" machine gun.

"The Fire Adjustment", 20:43

Roles

Ivan P. Babenko, Guards Senior Lieutenant, commander of the artillery observer team.

Situation

The 1st platoon ammunition was nearly exhausted. Ivan P. Babenko requested direct communication with the artillery commander of the 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment. The artillery battery located near the command post supported the ground units on the hill with the covering fire. Any mistake of the artillery observer could result in the deaths of friendly units. If necessary, the artillery observer called in fire directly on the 1st platoon positions.

Combat Mission

Acting as senior lieutenant Ivan P. Babenko, the player calls in target locations to the artillery commander via radio. The primary goal of the mission is to direct artillery fire to prevent mujahideen from approaching the hill and to avoid the death of 1st platoon men from friendly fire. Weapons and equipment: BI-8 binocular, whistle.

"The Night Fight", 22:00

Roles

Andrei A. Melnikov, Guards Private, machine gunner.

Situation

2nd and 3rd platoons of the 9th company approached the hill. Reinforcements were led by the 2nd platoon commander, Senior Lieutenant Sergei V. Rozhkov and deputy squadron commander, Lieutenant Sergey B. Tkachev. Realizing that approaching reinforcements strengthened defense, mujahideen started to change the tactics. Covering with the darkness, the attackers were striving to move closer as possible to defense positions in order to subsequent rapid attack.

Combat mission

The player's task is to watch the enemy, to opportunely detect and to destroy the enemy groups attempting to sneak to the defenders' positions. Weapons and equipment: RPK, illumination shells.

"The Sniper", 23:12

Roles

Nurmat N. Muratov, Guards Private, sniper.

Situation

Another subsequent attack at the hill got bogged down. Machine gunner Andrei A. Melnikov parried the main blow at the cost of his life. mujahideen changed the tactics subsequently and started systematic firing of the hill with RPGs from the long distances.

Combat mission

The player's task is to destroy as many as possible RPG operators firing the defenders' positions at the hill 3234. Weapons and equipment: Dragunov sniper rifle (SVD).

"The Friendly Units", 00:30

Roles

Alexei N. Smirnov, Senior Lieutenant.

Situation

The 3rd battalion intelligence commander, Lieutenant Alexei N. Smirnov received orders to advance to the hill 3234. The intelligence squad carried additional ammunition for the hill defenders.

Combat Mission

Acting as Senior Lieutenant Alexei N. Smirnov, the player carries ammunition to defense positions and participates in the battle for the hill 3234. Weapons and equipment: AKS-74 rifle with the GP-25 grenade launcher.

"The Last Assault", 8 January, 03:00

Roles

Sergey B. Tkachev, Senior Lieutenant and Sergei V. Rozhkov, Senior Lieutenant.

Situation

According to the veterans' testimony, the last and the most desperate, 12th attack against the hill defenders started. The attackers advanced through the mine fields. Junior Sergeant Vladimir Krishtopenko was killed by a grenade explosion, and Junior Sergeant Andrei N. Tsvetkov gets seriously injured.

Combat Mission

Acting as Senior Lieutenant Sergei B. Tkachev, the player has to command the 9th company men. The main task is to prevent the seizure of the hill 3234.

Features

File:TruthAbout9thCompanyBundle.jpg
  • Reconstruction of all the battle events based on information gathered during the investigation performed by Dmitry Puchkov. Information is gathered via meetings with the battle for Hill 3234 veterans.[1]
  • "Cooperative" first person gameplay: the tasks of combatants are interconnected. The player is able to see the battle from the view of different members during the single game episode, which is aimed to illustrate the war principle: doing your job badly - letting down your mate.[1]
  • Simulation of Soviet weapons and warfare, and correspondence of game goals with real combat missions assigned to 9th company men in 1988.
  • Design of AI face models is based on the real combatants portraits, and AI models looks like the real soldiers in the real conditions.
  • Simulation of visual and audio embodiment of the battle: explosions of RPGs and mines, bullets whistling, illumination shell flashes, the earth shaking from the heavy artillery fire, the cries of wounded and the threatening of enemies.
  • Reconstruction of the hill 3234 and neighborhood terrain based on satellite imagery and three-dimensional landscape modelling. The terrain model is approved by the battle veterans.[1]
  • Collected encyclopedic information, including general information about the Afghanistan war, the importance of battle for Hill 3234 in the context of known Operation Magistral, information about combatants, photos of the battle artifacts, the analysis of the battle events performed by professional military. Selected articles are available in the encyclopedic section of the official game web site [1].

Reception

The Truth About 9th Company received a mixed reaction from the video game review web sites.

Review web site Absolute Games rated The Truth About 9th Company as bad (35% out of 100%), pointing to a number of serious gameplay issues.[6]

PlayGround.ru game review web site rated The Truth About 9th Company 8.0 out of 10.0, with reviewer demigot saying:

All this is relevant only if you are inspired with the atmosphere of the game, if all that the authors had recreated, will affect some chords of people's soul. Otherwise, "The Truth About 9th Company" may seem only as not very attractive virtual shooting range with straightforward artificial intelligence and monotonous gameplay. Although it really is a unique simulator of the feat.[7]

On 22 February 2008, the presentation of The Truth About 9th Company to the participants of the Round Table "Computer games as a new factor in education" within XII World Russian People Council took place in Moscow. The Round Table Director Roman Silantiev noted that the computer games like The Truth About 9th Company "do not only raise patriotism in young people, but also provide objective knowledge of military affairs, history and geography". He emphasized that combat operations are reproduced within the game exactly, while it's possible to play only for the one side according to the game rules.[8]

Notes

External links

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