It's nice playing God, as Populous players the world over will tell you. Here's a similar theme: a wargame where you're commander-
At first, you are presented with a map of western Europe. The game is played purely at Corps level, which means all the little units like regiments, battalions and divisions are lumped together into one very impressive composite playing piece.
A unit's statistics are composed of armour, air power (local stuff like helicopters and Harriers, presumably) and supplies. In assault or defence, these will be reduced and, needless to say, only the US Corps can assault a Pact frontline unit and hope to win. The Italian Corps is, I'm sorry to say, the standard joke.
The map isn't hexed: which simplifies play but does mean that travel rates (one square per turn in anything other than mountains) are not very realistic. If NATO doesn't hold a solid line, then Pact units just bypass them diagonally; and if they can reach the German/
Each turn is separated into two days. Every so often you gain reinforcements to assign to units. These nearly all go to your under
Some function keys call up various information terminals: these contain hints as to how best to proceed. Information includes general war news, reinforcement schedules, population and radiation readouts. An interesting one is the diplomatic screen, where you can issue threats, make ceasefire proposals or just surrender (and forfeit the game).
You receive similar messages, and not just form the enemy: the Swiss premier was most upset when I dropped a few nukes on his precious mountains. 'Some people don't realise that there's a war on!
Orders can be issued through similar displays. Airpower can be set to various missions, air superiority being the overriding factor, whichever side has this chooses to move first. Other missions include 'Assault Breaker' and 'Iron Snake' (the latter being the destruction of enemy railways, delaying reinforcements).
Then there's the nuke terminal. Having entered the pass code, you can select various 'response' fireplans: these differ in multi or single warheads, air or ground burst, and neutron weapons (very effective against armour). Or you can make the first strike, and become what can only be described as a bloodthirsty butcher whose name will live in infamy. Especially if you lose.
The names of these strikes indicate the effectiveness of the strike: fro Sharp Stick to Dirty Harry. The Pact fireplans have more suitably Russian names. Of course, using these weapons creates monstrous civilian casualties; and then there's the retaliation. Five different openings are available. The first is a simple line-up, one against the other.
Others include a NATO without the good old USA, both sides being unprepared for war, and also both sides having a Star Wars anti-
This is the tightrope you must walk, especially if you play NATO. Sooner or later you're forced to go nuclear. When you're the Pact, how do you respond? Sometimes the computer makes appalling mistakes, using conventional rather than nuclear retaliatory strikes. Most of the time though, it's Mutually Assured Destruction. There really is no alternative.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
All the graphics and sound in the game are up to Amiga standard, although none of them break new ground. Maybe using HAM picture for the static screens would have impressed me more. The samples are used effectively, especially for the nuclear strike sequence. Not a straightforward big bang, but a low, threatening rumble.
I'm quite fond of the game. There are better computer war games on eight-bit machines, but the gentle charms of loosing off an atomic barrage are simply irresistible. I doubt that the interest level is enough to keep propellor-