An outraged Liberal Democrat MP called it "monstrous". British Legion chiefs labelled it "appalling". The Star said it was "shameful" and advised people to make sure they didn't buy it.
As you mgiht have guessed from the headline on the page "it" is Cannon Fodder, Sensible Software's latest offering. Why all the publicity and all the fuss? Well, papers will be papers and they will blow things out of proportion.
The reason for all this uncalled for and unfair publicity is because Sensible included the distinctive poppy symbol into the game. MP's and war veterans were apparently outraged which is fair enough I suppose, but there are ways and means of getting a problem like that solved.
Having a newspaper sensationalise the problem, going over the top and spreading inaccuracies in their reporting, is not the way to do it. Cannon Fodder is not shameful, monstrous or appalling, but is instead one of the games of 1993 and my money is on it becoming the Christmas number one.
The poppy has now been remove and everyone is happy except perhaps publishers Virgin and Sensible Software themselves who could have done without any of the hassle involved. Enough of all this, you lot want to know about Cannon Fodder. To save you reading to the end of this text I could just ell you to go out and buy it and thus there still might be some copies left in the shops.
Sensible Software have never really produced a bad game and more recently have dominated the software market with such excellent products as Mega-lo-Mania, WizKid and Sensible Soccer. Most of their titles are tinged with elements of surreal humour, especially WizKid and the highly amusing team names in Sensible Soccer.
Cannon Fodder blasts off with one of the best game tunes of '93. It's a sort of raggae-
As the song plays you are treated to a menagerie of digitised shots of the Sensible Software team dressed up as soldiers. As good a way as any ot get your face in a game I suppose. Once all this tomfoolery has finished it is then time to enter the war zone.
Before the action actually starts, you need to call up some of the 360 fit young men to become troopers. Only 15 of them are allowed to volunteer for each mission. As missions progress you start to lose men and innocent soldiers are thrown into war with the more experienced troops.
There are 24 missions to complete, each one has a different terrain and objective. Most missions are split into a maximum of six phases. You do not directly control troopers, but instead determine their behaviour.
This is achieved by using the mouse, the mouse pointer and a troop leader. Troopers will only follow their leader, but they can also be encouraged to split up and do their own thing.
At the beginning of your adventure all the troopers are conscripted as lowly Privates (I know a joke about that! Not very funny, but I know one). Your troopers ranks increase for every phase that they survive, but promotion only occurs when the mission is complete.
The missions start off very slowly and are quite easy. You start to wonder why you need 360 men, but as soon as you hit the fifth mission everything gets that little bit harder.
In the previous levels you have met up with "normal" soldiers, but later on your start to meet bazooka wielding troopers and you then realise that Cannon Fodder isn't the breeze you thought it to be.
The control system is worth mentioning simply because it is so good. The very first level and it becomes as natural as eating your tea. The mouse pointer is swept around the screen and more of the terrain is shown to you. By clicking on that point with the left button, your squadron of troops will move to that point.
The right button is your killing button. When pressed it lets rip with a deadly hail of bullets from your soldiers. If you use a combination of both buttons you can use your grenades or bazookas which causes major destruction upon the enemy.
At first Cannon Fodder looks fairly run-of-the-mill stuff. Some people might even call it an average shoot-'em-up, but as you progress you get addicted and the completion of a level becomes more important than eating, drinking and maybe even life itself (err, probably).
Sensible's war-'em-up is one of those games that you can completely immerse yourself in. The graphics are brilliant. Although the men are small they seem to have characters all of their own which is attributed to the animation. Losing a man is almost like losing a best friend.
There are loads of nice little touches such as the men celebrating after completing the phase to the sound of patriotic World War tunes. Another nice touch is when one of your men takes a bad hit and lies on the floor screaming his head off while blood shoots out of his body and it thus becomes your solemn duty to end his pain. It's sad and quite painful to watch, but you have to wipe those tears from your eyes and get your revenge by defeating the enemy.
The sound is quite incredible and uses up all four channels to create some startling effects. For instance when you are marching around the jungle, exotic birds fly overhead and their squawking becomes louder the closer they are to your troop.
There is a more important reason for this directional sound malarkey because you can use it to your distinct advantage. Muted gunfire tells you that enemy soldiers can see you are heading in your direction, the same goes for helicopter rotor blades. The rumbling of a tank means that you should run very fast in the opposite direction.
Being a games reviewer you must point out good and bad points for each piece of software, but I am getting a headache from trying to criticise Cannon Fodder. I suppose it could do with a two-player option, but apart from that I can't really find cause for complaint.
I love Cannon Fodder and so should you. If you still haven't bought it then I must stand up and question your state of mind. Sensible Software seem to go on from strength to strength. Cannon Fodder is one of the most playable games you will every play and also one of the most fun. A rootin' tootin' shoot-'em-up of the highest order.