Black Hawk Down: Team Sabre

See a man with a suntan and he's one of two types: a builder or recently-returned holiday-maker.

You might consider adding 'a member of the Delta Force' to the list, too, after playing Black Hawk Down, which pits your three-man squad against various ne'er-do-wells and ruffians in some distinctly sunny locations spanning Iran and Colombia.

But then, with all the kit that your modern commando has to wear – flak jacket, goggles, helmet, camouflage – you'd end up with a panda tan and little else.

Quite a sartorial sacrifice, we're sure you'd agree. But there is a pay-off: you get to fly around in a military chopper, shooting a big gun at bad guys and tanks on a regular basis.

You don't even need to worry too much about getting killed. Along with a rifleman and a sniper, your trio also includes an engineer. Not only is he useful for calling in air strikes and disarming mines, he has a magic medical pack that'll usually get you back on your feet in double-time, even if you've been blown up at short range by a bazooka-wielding terrorist.

So things are looking quite rosy. After flying into the theatre of operations in the eponymous Black Hawk chopper (which resolutely stays up, much to you and your comrades' relief) and destroying all of the tanks and surface-to-air missile launchers, it's time to pound the ground.

It's here that you take control of your three commandos. Issuing orders by pointing at where on the battlefield you'd like them to advance to, and then picking their targets when they're in range, you'll need to use your academy training to avoid getting them killed.

Although the enemy troops aren't the sharpest bayonets in the armoury, they offer a big enough threat that you'll need to tread carefully. Ambushes, landmines and patrolling guards all threaten the unwary or impetuous and, despite the best efforts of your engineer, it is possible to lose one or more of your team.

The loss of even one soldier is tragic; not only do several of the ten missions require that you must keep one of your squad alive (often the engineer, who's essential for the demolition missions), the firepower that's lost if your rifleman or sniper go down will be sorely missed.

Because of the care that you'll need to take in completing the missions, Black Hawk Down is quite a slow-burner. As with War Diary: Torpedo, a more considered approach is necessary for success. Storming in all guns blazing is a short route to failure.

This emphasis on measured progress is heightened by the control system, which is tailored to advancing your squad in cautious stages. Try anything else and you'll quickly be frustrated but it's not something that can really be criticised: given the type of game, it suits Black Hawk Down wonderfully.

What can't be excused is the difficulty in spotting the enemy troops in time. This is, in part, due to the size of the screen on which you're playing, combined with the relatively large size of the characters. You'll wander along into range of an enemy trooper before you can properly see and target him on more than one occasion. Some sort of radar or a scaling down of the characters might have helped.

But that's the one burst of friendly fire in a barrage that's otherwise pin-point accurate. If games like Brothers In Arms or Call Of Duty are too throwaway for your tastes, Black Hawk Down will more than satisfy your battle lust.

Black Hawk Down: Team Sabre

An enjoyably demanding game that'll tax your grey matter instead of your reflexes