Sunday, 31 January 2021
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) Mission Ideas: Imperial Japanese Army M3 Tank
Like other PFB
missions that I have described in the blog, this idea involves a captured tank. In the Pacific theatre of the Second World War, the Allies deployed M3 Stuart tanks to fight the Japanese forces. At least two photographs exist of captured M3 tanks, although it’s unclear if these are one and the same vehicle. As the M3 could take on the Japanese light tanks, they were probably a prize for the IJA when they secured one. Not sure what they did about ammunition for the tank’s gun.
The game’s Construction mode enables you to use Japanese tanks and the single Japanese map. Use Gameshark codes to access the M3 Honey. Furthermore, you can change the M3 colours to that of one of the three IJA tanks. And then there’s the option to add an appropriate insignia.
So it’s yet another mission idea for PFB. Find the PAL beta if you don't want to go through all of the Japanese language options in Construction mode. All of the tanks, guns and vehicles seem to be in that localisation of the game.
Saturday, 11 April 2020
Panzer Front Official Sites
Added the two known Panzer Front websites to the PF Resources page. The European site has a FAQ and guides for playing the game.
Friday, 3 April 2020
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) Demo
This is something of a surprise. Rummaging through old demo discs, I found this demo on Dengeki PlayStation D-39. Obviously, there’s the PAL beta that surfaced a few years ago, plus a demo for the original game on Dengeki PlayStation D-26. But this seems to be a single mission demo based on the second game, one that does not feature in Tactics mode.
You control a German Panther G tank on a mission on Christmas Eve of 1944. There is a mission with this date in the retail game, but it has a Tiger I instead of the Panther.
The map is also different. The demo has snow-covered and forest terrain. You have a one or two tanks in support, and you’re up against American Shermans.
It is a very hard mission and the stream of US tanks seems endless.
I had to devise a Tank Select code to get a Maus in order to beat them. Once you finish the mission, you get booted back to the loading screen.
The other tanks from the main game seem to be there. What is interesting is the giant Tiger boss tank does not have a shield in the demo. It can also be destroyed by enemy tanks.
Other levels may exist, but the address for the Level Select code seems to be missing. This unique mission may have been to highlight the Construction mode for the new version of the game.
Update: It looks like this demo is dependent on a save file (X.SAV), which loads a level made in Construction mode.
Tuesday, 17 December 2019
Panzer Front Bis - Unused GMC Truck
Until now, the Tank Select code value of 5A (hex) has crashed the game. In the original Panzer Front, it loaded the GMC Truck. However, I had the idea of trying to load it as a NPC vehicle and it worked.
I also got it to load as a playable unit, but this seems to be entirely random. It probably isn't and may depend on other units or the level you're on. The truck moves, but, despite the assertion that it has a three-inch gun on the technical info screen, it is unarmed. Oh well, one more playable vehicle to add to the game's long roster.
Thursday, 25 April 2019
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) Mission Ideas: Lone KV-1 At the Battle Of Raseiniai
At the Battle Of Raseiniai in Lithuania in 1941, a single KV-1 tank held off advancing German forces. The crew of the tank destroyed four 50mm and one 88mm anti-tank guns. Enemy tanks included the Panzer 35(t), but as there are none of these in PFB, you could easily substitute others of a similar class.
Wednesday, 17 April 2019
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) PAL: Slowdown
One further problem that I've encountered with the prototype is the way it stutters or slows down at points. I've tried a number of levels with different vehicles, and compared it with the same on the original Japanese release. There is definately a problem, but it may be my PSP, the memory card or the conversion. I'll try to test it on a laptop emulator at some point to see if it is any better.
Tuesday, 16 April 2019
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) PAL: Graphical Glitch
The PAL prototype is basically a test version of the game's code, so it shouldn't be a surprise to find the odd glitch. The front section of the (usually unplayable) Russian HNK-26 is missing. This gltich is not present in the original Japanese release. It may be that the archive is corrupted or the revised coding is flawed in some way. I wondered if the archives could be swapped between the two builds, but seeing as this is the first and minor glitch, I'll see about that at another time.
Monday, 15 April 2019
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) Mission Ideas: German KV-1
A relatively easy one, this mod. Apparently, some of the Russian KV-1B tanks were captured by the Germans and at least one is known to have been converted for use in their army in WWII. One had a 7.5cm KwK 37gun added, although it is unknown how or why so much work was carried out on a captured tank. More info can be found on the Tank Encyclopedia website.
, this is just a matter of editing the insignia for the tank, and changing the main faction option in Construction mode. Yes, I've used a later version of the KV-1, but it's closer to the original captured tank than the 1940 model is in the game. You could make it even more accurate by recreating the battalion insignia and the exact placement of the number. I'll leave that for others to do. What would also be good would be to replace the cannon too, but I don't know how that might be done at this time.
Sunday, 14 April 2019
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) Mission Ideas: Korean Conflict
For those looking to extend the game beyond the Second World War, there were some indications of UN forces deploying M26 Pershing tanks against the North Korean T-34 tanks. Using the game's T26E3 and T-34-85 respectively, these could form the basis for a custom mission. You could also include Cromwell tanks for either side: the British deployed a number of these (albeit Mark VIII rather the Mark IV seen in PFB
), some 14 of which were later captured by Chinese forces (and then destroyed by British Centurion tanks).
Friday, 5 April 2019
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) TGS 2000 Demo Level Found
Digging around on an old Panzer Front site
, I came across details of a demo from the Tokyo Game Show in the autumn of 2000. This version of PFB
had a mission involving German forces fighting American tanks, set on Christmas Eve, 1944. From the details given in the article, this seems to be the battle at Manhay in the Ardennes. While this level is not in the main game, it is one of the sample missions that you can load in Construction mode.
Thursday, 4 April 2019
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) Mission Ideas: The Cuckoo
The game has a German Panther tank disguised as an American M10, but you can also have the flipside of this situation. At some point in the Second World War, British forces captured a German Panther G tank and put it to use in one of their own tank regiments in Europe. Named The Cuckoo, this tank was apparently repainted and a distinctive white star painted on the back of the turret. This could be reconstructed in PFB
, albeit at a much smaller size.
Friday, 29 March 2019
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) PAL Tank Select Code
As promised last time, here's the Tank Select code for the PAL prototype:
_G Panzer Front Bis PAL
_C0 Tank Select
_L 30045290 00000000
It seems that none of the unused vehicles has been removed, including the Story mode tanks like the monster Tiger seen above. This gives hope to the idea that the Story mode can be resurrected.
Thursday, 28 March 2019
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) PAL Localisation
In what seems to be good timing, Hidden Palace has just released a prototype of the European localisation of PFB. I saw this for sale on Ebay last year, but lacked the funds to buy it. However, it has been preserved for all to enjoy now.
Looking at the guts of the game, the unreleased version has a Sony code: SLES-03750. Playing the game, there does not seem to be any immediate differences in levels or tanks in comparison to the Japanese version. Having the Mission Editor in English is obviously a massive boon, though. You can now explore the many options for this without referring to the online manual if you cannot read Japanese.
The mission briefings are in English too, but there's still the odd typo like the lack of capitalisation for Kanoya. Not unexpected given that this is a prototype. This can probably be fixed with a hex editor.
Once you start a level, you can see and hear the various communications between the various tanks. I'm not sure if there're still German and Japanese language options. Oh, and using the zoom option on the PSP makes it far easier to see the menus, as they fit the screen just right.
There does not seem to be a Story mode in this version. The files may still be in the game, though. Priorities include getting the usual codes up and running, so that you can access the unused vehicles and cheats. I would have thought that the likes of the deleted tanks would remain untouched as the main aim was a localisation, but there's no guarantee. A second priority is to see if the Japanese custom missions can be used in the prototype.
I'll update the PFB part of the site when I have more info. Massive thanks go out to user7 and Hidden Palace for this great release.
Tuesday, 26 March 2019
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) Mission Ideas: NATO Versus USSR
Another "what if" idea, this time using the game's few modern era tanks. The Proving Ground
mission pits a T-80 against a Type 90 MBT, but you can change the latter to the M1 Abrams (as in the original PF
game). Looking at a wider scenario, you could also move the conflict to either Russian or European locations, perhaps with snow and appropriate camouflage for the tanks. And if you want to get a little more realistic for such a disasterous conflict, you can use the Necropolis level.
Monday, 25 March 2019
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) Mission Ideas: Manchuria 1945
This is a "what if" scenario rather than an actual battle. At the end of World War II, Russian forces moved down into Manchuria to attack the Japanese army. The latter lacked any decent tanks in this theatre. However, using the Type 4 Chi-Ho medium tank, you can pit Japanese AFVs against the likes of the T-34. In fact, the existing game mission for Operation Downfall could easily be adapted, with T-34 tanks replacing the American Shermans.
Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Panzer Front Bis (PSX) Mission Ideas
With an English guide to mission construction, it is relatively easy (albeit detailed) to develop new missions for PFB. Getting new ideas may be another matter. However, it is not like there's a shortage of historic battles (or hypothetical ones) online.
Sometimes, battles do not go the way you'd think.The German tanks of the second world war were very formidable, especially the heavy ones like the Tiger or Panther. But there are instances where light tanks took on these monsters and won. Two such battles involved the Russian T-70 light tank. Despite being at a massive disadvantage in terms of firepower and armour, the tank commanders ambushed the enemy and destroyed them. The question here is how to recreate the ambush scenario in PFB. I'm looking into this and if I get a decent mission going, I'll post a link. If anyone else has some success, or has ideas of their own, please post a comment.
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