Graphics and Sound
Close Combat III uses a direct overhead view to represent the battlefield. If your computer can handle it, you can crank the resolution up to 1600x1200. Bear in mind that the ideal resolution is either 800x600 or 1024x768. Even with a 21" monitor, the units and vehicles are unbearably small at 1600x1200. There's a zoom feature, which can come in handy for trying to direct encirclement maneuvers, etc. The biggest problem with the overhead view is that you lose complete perspective over the whole battlefield. At times I felt like I'd have better luck driving without my glasses on than trying to figure out the terrain in CC3. It's hard to tell which parts of the map are elevated (hills) and which are not. I found it incredibly frustrating to keep maneuvering my tanks for a perfect shot only to find that there's a "hump" in the ground or a "wall" obscuring my line of fire. These humps and walls are represented by a discoloration in the ground or a plain line running along the ground. You'll pick up on these things as you go along but to a beginner it can be pretty annoying.
So is that a ridge in the center or discoloration in my monitor?
The landscape graphics are not exactly top rate, even for an overhead game. While the ability to use high resolutions reduces pixelation and fuzziness, the trees and shrubbery look bland and repetitive. Buildings are practically plain squares on the map; Atomic has to slap numbers on the roof of each building so you know how many stories high they stand. Rivers and streams can look almost like paved roads; it would have been nice to have the water flowing along so you could tell the difference. On the plus side, the landscape is deformable. Mortars and artillery will crater the ground and knock down the walls of buildings. Destroyed vehicles and smoke grenades will emit a plume of smoke, and flame throwers can ignite wooden buildings.
The troops of CC3 look like nothing more than ants, even at the close up zoom level. While it is understandable because they are supposed to be drawn to scale, it's still a hindrance on the game play because the small size of the soldiers makes it hard to differentiate among your units. Gee is that my sub machine gun group or my rifle team? Visually, there's no real way of knowing. The only way to know for sure is to click on each unit. The same size problem applies to vehicles and large caliber guns. It's hard not to look at tanks in CC3 and not think of those old plastic toy tanks - the ones that matched your plastic army men. The vehicle identification problem is not as pronounced here, because Atomic uses varying shapes and colors to denote different model tanks and vehicles.
Sound in Close Combat III is good overall. It was obvious that Atomic Games put quite a bit of effort into replicating authentic firearms and weapon sounds. Mortars fire with a subdued **thunk**, and tank guns shoot a surprisingly high pitched recoil. Even the German MG 42 heavy machine gun sounds as it should - like a "zipper of death." If you're looking for overdramatic Hollywood movie style gun shot sounds, you won't find it in CC3, and that's a good thing. CC3 is supposed to be a realistic WWII simulation and it would have looked horribly out of place if they used cheesy "rambo" type of sound effects.
eensy weensy little men and vehicles
The soldiers in CC3 give vocal progress reports when they get orders and carry them out. You can choose to have either side speak in accented English or in their native language. The death and panic voices are convincing enough; I just wish there were a bit larger variety of death cries. The few that are included tend to get a bit repetitive. My other complaint is that moving tanks didn't seem to make any noise. It seems that the lack of audio cues to enemy approach is a glaring inadequacy.