Try a little tenderness

Nuclear War logo

BACK in the Fifties there was a film called Fail Safe. It starred Henry Fonda and dealt with the possibility of an accidental nuclear war initiated by human error and carried out by machines. This is not that story.
Around the same periods there was a film called Dr Strangelove (the animated title sequence even copies a bit of the film) which dealt with an almost identical set of circumstances but starred Peter Sellers, and so was a bit funner. This is almost that story.

Your country needs YOU. Being the leader of a little island paradise, the populace have entrusted you with their safety. Guard your five major conurbations jealously, for other leaders are out to steal your people.

Four other countries are represented in the game, each with a despotic dictator who would rather initiate Armageddon than lock up his grandmother. And we all know how much they enjoy doing that.
These four leaders can be chosen from any of 10, including Ghanji, Colonel Kadaffy, Infidel Castro and P.M. Satcher. Any similarity with persons living or dead is, of course, entirely coincidental.

Your adversaries, as do all world leaders, fall into one of five general categories: Pacifists, madmen, liars, warmongers and standard, whatever that might entail.
If you known the type of leader you are facing you have a better chance of predicting his next move. Thinking ahead is jolly important in this game.

Develop your own independent nuclear deterrent to "help keep the peace" - I mean, you'd never actually use it, would you? Nuclear warheads may be delivered by missiles or by bombers such as the NP-1 (Nuclear Postman).

Gear up your people to manufacture the weapons of destruction. There's nothing wrong with being prepared for war, is there? It's not that you were planning to initiate it, after all. Try putting that one past Ayatollah Kookamamie.

As well as the standard destruction by enemy action, a few random accidents may befall your cities. Earthquakes, nuclear accidents, falling 16 ton weights (nobody knows where they come from) and Cattletech - a vicious form of combat where a herd of cattle is catapulted into enemy territory before stampeding through the downtown bars and hamburger stands.
UFOs do exist and they are watching you at this moment. They find earth-man antics very amusing and would do anything to perpetuate it. Like cloning cities for example. Watch the skies.

The graphical representation of Gravedigger missiles homing in for a ground burst is lovely. Many is the afternoon I could sit back and watch the last battle unfold on my monitor. Sound effects are amusing if not state of the art. Maybe that's why Truman sent up the Enola Gaye.

There is a lot of strategy involved to make sure the rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in stays in place. Some leaders are very volatile indeed.
It's not only great fun if you're into major devastation and things like that, but there is a good bit of thinking to be done. When someone wants to launch a missile, for example, it takes two turns. At the end of the first turn the missile is on the pad. Now, who is it pointed at? Should you deploy a defence system? How well you can interpret the actions of your fellow despots determines your own, and the world's, survival.

Nuclear War logo

US GOLD £19.99 * Mouse

It really is a mad, mad, mad, mad world, you know, and if we stopped and though about it, we would be in tears most of the time. New World Computing Inc. have the right idea: take a very serious issue and poke fun at it.

Nuclear War is a simple, single-player wargame played between four players - three computer controlled - who all want to rule the world. At the start of the game the player picks which world leader he would like to be from a list of 10 dubious characters such as Mao the Pun and Infidel Castro. He also picks the opponents and the game begins.

Each world leader is given a country containing five cities, the idea bing to protect your cities and knock out the enemy's. Once a leader's five cities are gone, he is out of the game. Nuclear War is played in turns and you can choose on action per turn. The available options include: build, where your citizens do nothing but build up your nuclear arsenal; propaganda, where you try and entice the citizens from another country to come and join you; defence, in which you simply deploy some defence equipment if you think you are going to be hit by another country; and finally you can elect to make ready your own strike on another country.

The whole game is played by trying to guess what the world eladers are going to do and if possible keep them sweet, so they do not bomb you but go after someone else instead. Then it is simply a case of seing who can hang on the longest to inherit a desolate Earth.


There are few sound effects but the graphics are much better. It is not really a visual game but everything has been done well and with the tongue firmly in the cheek.


It is far too simplistic and limited to have you playing more than a few times.


Simple, easy-to-understand fare that has a wicked sense of humor to recommend it but little else. Certainly no meaty gameplay.

Nuclear War logo

Entspannung hin, Abrüstung her - die Softwarefirmen haben immer noch ein paar Kriegsspiele auf Lager, die sie unbedingt unter die Leute bringen müssen. In diesem Fall macht schon der Titel deutlich, worum es geht: Der dritte (nukleare) Weltkrieg steht mal wieder auf der Tagesordnung!

Der Spieler übernimmt dabei die Rolle eines armen, friedliebenden Inselherrschers, der sich gegen die bösen (computergesteuerten) Kriegstreiber von den umliegenden Kontinenten zur Wehr setzen muss. Im Anfangsmenü sind die animierten Konterfeis bekannter Staatsmänner wie "Infidel Castro" oder "Col. Khadaffy" zu bewundern. Es gibt auch noch drei verschiedene US Präsidenten und ein paar "nette" Politiker, à la "Gorbachef" und "Ghandji", deutsche Politprominenz fehlt (glücklicherweise) ganz.

Hat man sich aus dieser Auswahl seine vier Gegner ausgesucht, wechselt die Darstellung, und man darf als nächstes die eigenen Aktionen bestimmen. Dabei sieht man auf dem Screen das eigene Inselreich nebst Städten und (in den Ecken) die Portraits seiner Gegner. Klickt man solch ein Bildchen an, so wird der dazugehörige Kontinent gezeigt, auf dem sich die momentane Bevölkerungsdichte ablesen lässt (in Hochhäusern leben meist mehr Menschen als in Zelten...).

Als erstes sollte man nun mal aufrüsten und seiner Industrie befehlen, möglichst viel Waffen zu produzieren. Außerdem gibt es die Möglichkeit, Propaganda zu betreiben, um den Gegnern die Leute abzuwerben (kann auch in die Hose gehen, und die eigenen Jungs suchen das Weite!). Sobald dann die Meldung über die erfolgreich abgeschlossene Waffenproduktion (Raketen, Bomber, Frühwarnsysteme oder Sprengköpfe) erscheint, geht es richtig zur Sache: Schick ich jetzt Gorbi einen Bomber mit 100 MT rüber, oder beglücke ich zuerst Infidel mit einer 10 MT Rakete?

Ist die schwere Entscheidung schließlich gefallen, wird die eigene Aktion per Mausklick abgeschlossen, und die Computergegner legen ihre Strategie fest. Auf einer großen Weltkarte kann man dann das Ergebnis bewundern: Die Sprungköpfe fliegen nur so durch die Gegend, die Bevölkerungsanzahlen sinken (aus den Hochhäusern werden Campingzelte), eine Anzeigenleiste informiert ständig über die aktuellen Erfolge.

Irgendwann bleibt in der verstrahlten Spielwelt nur noch der glorreiche Sieger übrig, der dann jubelnd durch die zerstörte Landschaft hüpft.

Die Grafik ist anfänglich sehr beeindruckend, schön bunt und teilweise witzig animiert. Aber diese gute Eindruck verblaßt während des Spiels zunehmend, es gibt nur ein paar verschiedene Screens, und schon sehr bald hat man sich an den immergleichen Animationen sattgesehen. Über die Sounds läßt sich so ziemlich dasselbe sagen, also zu wenige und immer wieder die gleichen. Den Spielwitz fand ich nicht gerade berauschend; gelegentliche Gags wie die Landung von Aliens ändern nichts daran, daß dieses Thema allmählich nervt - auch in dieser, angeblich ach so satirischen Verpackung! (wh)

Nuclear War logo CU Amiga Screen Star

PRICE: £24.99

Nuclear war. It is no joke really, until you take fourteen of the world's most prominent leaders, highlight their quirks, give four of them a country each, around a hundred million people, a nuclear stockpile and let them battle it out. You play the world leader, and the aim is simply - nuke, fight, drop cows on and do your damndest to eradicate all trace of the other four participants.

All the commands are issued on one screen. Your four opponents are displayed in each corner, together with a rating showsing their feelings towards you, and a smiley acid face which lets you set your level of diplomacy. A factory icon orders your obedient citizens to build bombs, planes and defence systems. You can also launch nuclear ICBM attacks on anyone you want.

An alternative form of warhead delivery is by airmail. For this you have the Nuclear Postman bomber with a fify megaton capacity, plus there is the dreaded Grim Reaper, which can carry an Earth-Splitting one hundred megatons. Planes have an advantage: they are harder to stop and can carry several warheads, so they can bomb more than one city.

A much more subtle line of attack is propaganda. Invite an enemy city over for a Barbie then do not be too surprised if seven million people decide they want to stay put. Using the propaganda tool can have some side effect, too. For instance it can cause the so-called Chernobyl effect and melt down a reactor - or activate a group of space cadets; these lurk around watching Lost in Space then chuck a dome over a city, bung a few rockets underneath and - wham - thirty-six million people up in orbit.

With over half a billion people dying per game, space aliens and flying cattle, it is hard to be offended by Nuclear War. It is incredibly funny with Spitting Image style humour. It can be quite easy to win the occasional game but so much happens you have to keep coming back. Witty and imaginative, Nuclear War is a fantastic game which fields a full team in the comedy department.

Nuclear War logo

New World Computing Inc./US Gold, Amiga £24.99

Ever fancied causing death and destruction across the world? Think you could antagonise global leaders to such an extent that nuclear war would be the only way of saving face? Reckon you could wipe out the enemy before he gets you? Wait a minute though, after all the damage caused to the planet by exploding megaton warheads, even if you win you lose. Ah, who cares? Blast 'em anyway!

After choosing four adversaries from a selection of ten Global Leaders you can each take turns carrying out certain actions in a bid to be the survivor of nuclear war. The limited actions available include building weapons, defending your country, conducting propaganda campaigns on enemy countries to increase your population and dispatching missiles or bombers to destroy enemies (this takes two turns). When all participants have completed their actions the results are shown in an almost humorous, animated, graphical display.

All countries are made up of cities, their population size indicated by an icon: a tent is a small city, a high-rise block is large. The larger a country's population the faster it can build weapons and the more attacks it can take.

Enemies' attitudes toward you change depending on your actions - they don't usually take kindly to having their cities razed to the ground - and how you feel towards them. Trying to keep them tolerant of you is a good way of not being blasted from all sides before you can build up a decent arsenal.

Once all cities in a country have been destroyed that country makes a final all-out assault on its enemies until its weapons are spent. Should you be the first country to fall, the remaining four go through their actions at an incredible speed until only one remains. The game-end screen is a nice graphic of a desolate area with the victorious leader jumping up and down shouting, 'I won, I won'!

Nuclear War is easy to get into and warrants a few attempts at becoming leader of a dead world, but its simple gameplay, limited strategies and unimpressive (though nearly humorous) graphics render it poor value for money.