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By Brad Cook

Make sure you’re ready for action before you join the digital battlegrounds of these expansion packs. Acquaint yourself with such new weapons as throwing knives, satchel charges and the Wasserfall Rocket. Look over the controls of such new vehicles as the C-47 cargo plane, the Sturmtiger tank and the jetpack.

You may be wondering when you missed the Wasserfall Rocket and the jetpack during your history class review of World War II. Actually, they’re two of the never-before-seen weapons and vehicles found in Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII, which takes a hard look at the Axis and Allied drawing boards of the period and presents what could have been.

Meanwhile, United Offensive continues the Call of Duty storyline by placing you in the boots of American Corporal Scott Riley, British S.O.E. operative James Doyle and Soviet conscript Yuri Petrenko as you lead the Allies to victory. Participate in the Battle of the Bulge, engage in air-to-air combat above the English Channel and join the fierce tank warfare at the Battle of Kursk.

If We Told You, We’d Have to…

German rocket.

True to its name, Secret Weapons of WWII features eight new maps not discussed in many history books but still crucial to the development of weapons that could have changed the war’s course. From Kbely Airfield, a mysterious base near Prague where UFO-like aircraft are rumored to exist, to the French town Mimoyecques, where Hitler’s long-range V3 rocket is under construction, the game offers various scenarios in which the Allies must disrupt the goings-on while the Axis powers launch an all-out defense. New character types, the British commando and the German elite, help shape the battles to come.

Given the game’s orientation toward multi-player action and the push-and-pull nature of the maps, it’s only appropriate that developer Digital Illusions also added a new gameplay mode, objective, that’s available for six of the maps. When you select it, each side’s tickets count down as they normally do in a Battlefield 1942 game, but now the Allies lose theirs until they accomplish all their goals, while the Axis team only sees theirs drain away when they fail to defend an objective and can’t repair the damage done.

Be a Uniter, Not a…

In addition to offering 13 new single-player missions and 11 new multi-player maps, United Offensive includes the ability to sprint across short distances, which minimizes your exposure to enemy fire but leaves you unable to use your weapon. You can also now “cook off” a grenade before you throw it, a technique that allows you to increase your throwing precision because it will explode sooner than normal.

On the multi-player side of the game, you gain three new modes — domination, capture the flag and base assault — as well as the ability to use all vehicles, other than heavy tanks, with more than one teammate. The second feature brings versatility to the multi-player action that’s similar to Battlefield 1942.

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New Weapons, New Vehicles, New Choices

Here’s what you can add to your arsenal when you play these games.

City Limits.

Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII

Both sides get access to throwing knives, which deal the same damage as a regular knife but allow you to attack from afar. When you run out, you can reload from an ammo crate. Like the other new weapons and vehicles in the game, however, throwing knives aren’t available on every map.

Note that not all the vehicles and weapons in this game were unused during the war.

City Limits.

Call of Duty: United Offensive

All players can now pick up and move deployable light machine guns that can be placed on the ground, windowsills and just about any other flat surface. In addition, the multi-player side of the game features satchel charges, which are bundles of dynamite that must be used like grenades but are more effective against vehicles, and smoke grenades that provide cover from the enemy. Satchel charges can be “cooked off” the same way grenades can.