Action Stations

Publisher: Storm Computers
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #73

Action Stations

Action Stations!, originally developed by Conflict Analytics in the States, is a tactical-level, surface-combat, naval simulation that covers the years 1922-1945. Created by an active-duty American naval officer, the meat of the simulation is based upon a classic wargame system used by the US Naval War College between 1922-1945. Whereas the War College used fire and effect tables, et al, to find the results of movement and combat, Conflict Analytics have sensibly configured the system to the computer.

The game is supreme value for money as not only does it contain 30 scenarios, ranging from the Pacific to the Mediterranean, but there is also a Scenario Builder and Scenario Generator (using 180 ships) which pushes the challenge into near infinity.

The core of the game system revolves around three simulation models (damage, gunnery and torpedo) although other factors have, naturally, been taken into consideration. However, because individual models have been developed you will experience some incredible detail that realistically mirrors naval warfare in this era. For example, the torpedo has its own Torpedo Fire Control for automatic firing. Setting this includes commanding which torpedo mount to fire from, the number of torpedoes to fire, the course of the centre torpedo of the bunch (or spread) you are firing, the spread angle between torpedoes and the speed setting - and that's just for torpedoes!!

Action Stations!

Other details include night missions (including flares and starshells), counterflooding, variable weather and sea conditions, shipboard fires, a complicated damage system, etc, etc!!

Action Stations!'s designer exhibits a high degree of technical awareness - I cannot fault any aspect of this side of the game. Even though the game relies on a mouse-initiated, drop-down menu system, my main criticism centres around the screen design (e.g. reports). This area of the game is rather messy which will only increase the learning curve as it will confuse, at least initially.

If more effort could have been put into developing the interface and 'glossy' graphics - as seen in Harpoon - I am sure Action Stations! would have a wider appeal. However, in its defence, the game never crashed, which is more than I can say for Harpoon! As it is, Action Stations! can be recommended for anyone interested in naval warfare.