The 24 finalists who gathered on Sunday to play CDV Software Entertainment's acclaimed World War II simulation had all won through the tough online tournament, which began in August with over 800 players. There was no doubt that these 24 were the crème de la crème of British Sudden Strikers - many finalists commented on the very high standard of play throughout the day.
All the contestants played on a brand new map, custom-designed specifically for the UK final by CDV's premier software cartographer Taleisin. Responsible for some of the most well-known maps and missions from Sudden Strike itself, including the infamous Saving Private Bryan, Taleisin devised a very open, challenging map for the finals, designed to appeal to the finalists' attacking instincts, rather than calling on defensive strategies. This map is now available to download HERE.
The finals were also attended by a special guest in the shape of Sun Page 3 girl Louise, who raised the morale of the troops and gave out the prizes at the awards ceremony held at the end of the day. And with prizes such as a top-of-the-range Polar Technology PC, complete with AMD 1.33GHz Athlon processor and 64Mb Leadtek Winfast Geforce3 graphics card, up for grabs to the winner, competition was intense and the concentration absolute right from the start.
Also at stake for the top three on the day was the chance to represent the UK at the Sudden Strike European finals in France next month.
"The levels of commitment shown by the finalists on the day was quite extraordinary," says Leo Zullo, UK marketing manager at CDV Software Entertainment. "Players travelled from all over the country, including Northern Ireland and Scotland, to compete. We hope we can make this an annual event - there's certainly a high enough level of interest out there."
Although unseeded, Guderian made his mark early on in the day, winning his first round group undefeated. In the second round, he took on the pre-tournament favourite, Steve, in what proved to be one of the day's crucial matches. Having beaten Steve in a close, nerve-wracking tie, Guderian claimed the scalp of first round winner Wotan in the semi-final.
In the final between Guderian and [Pro]Kizersuza, The last battle in the day's campaign saw the might of the German Army under Guderian thrown against the agility of the Russians under Kizersuza. Kizersuza started well, but was foiled by Guderian's high risk but effective playing strategies. After some spirited fightbacks by Kizersuza, he accepted the inevitable and raised the white flag, leaving Guderian the undisputed champion.
Highlights from the day are scheduled to be shown in programmes on Game Network and also on Channel 4's new series Thumb Bandits, which begins transmission in November. For more information on the UK finals and the Sudden Strike European Championships, go HERE.
Sudden Strike UK Champion: Guderian (AKA Gareth Mangnall). Guderian wins a place in the European Final, and also a Polar Technology PC.
Runner-up: [Pro]Kizersuza (AKA Steven Gait).
Third place: Wotan. [Pro]Kizersuza and Wotan each win a place in the European final and runners-up prizes of a Hercules 3D Prophet III graphics card, Fortissimo II sound card and speakers.
Fourth place: FrankD (AKA Frank Davis). FrankD wins the Hercules 3D Prophet III graphics card, Fortissimo II sound card and speakers.
All the 24 finalists won a Saitek Touch Force Optical mouse to mark their participation in UK finals day and everyone also took home a goodie bag packed with software and merchandise from the tournament sponsors.
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