The paratroop assault on the Dutch town of Arnhem during the second world war was one of the Allies' more disastrous failures. The plan was daring in its conception and many think it could have succeeded given different circumstances. This is your chance to create that situation and alter the course of history.
The game takes place on a large scrolling map covering the area from south of Eindhoven to just north of Arnhem. There are five different game scenarios, four of which concern only parts of the battle, the fifth actually running through the whole thing. The shortest game should last for an hour, while the complete campaign will last for an exhausting six or seven.
One, two or three players can take part controlling the British, American and German forces respectively. In the one player game the computer controls the German forces and you control both Allied forces. With two players, one controls the Germans and with three players someone also separately controls the Americans.
The screen shows one area of the map along with the date and time the unit you are controlling and any reports. Within each scenario are a set number of turns, with three turns occuring in a day. Turns are subdivided into first mechanical phase, non-mechanical phase and the second mechanical phase. Motorised units can move in the first and third phases and other units in the second.
Each unit is placed under your control in turn and you then have several options as to what to do with it. Many airborne units have to be landed to start with and this can only be done in clear areas. A series of options now appears. Report will tell you the strength, effectiveness, morale, attack modifier and unit size, all of which contribute to the unit's overall fighting capacity. Digging in will partially protect the unit from attack but doesn't hinder its own attacking capabilities.
Artillery can bombard units from a distance making them vulnerable to attack. The Travel and Change Size orders both affect the size of a unit Travel temporarily condenses the size of a unit for road travel while Change Size will change between condensed and expanded units. The smaller unit size also allows units to cross bridges but makes them vulnerable to attack and they cannot attack.
If you merely wish to move a unit it is done with the cursor keys. The distance that a unit can travel is restricted by its type and the terrain it is travelling over. When you want to attack it is done simply by moving adjacent to the enemy. At the end of the movement phase all battles will be resolved.
The scrolling map is well drawn and the units are large and easy to operate. The computer does most of the tedious work for you leaving you to plan overall strategies and tactics. Certainly a good war game, particularly if you like fighting against the odds.
1. Good map and unit graphics. 2. Large playing area. 3. A really tough battle faces you. 4. Options for one, two or three players. 5. Absorbing strategy and battle tactic.
1. Little in the way of sound effects. 2. Won't suit pacifists.
This is certainly the best war game I've seen on the Amstrad. Display and scrolling are both impressive, the map is big and the game is demanding. I particularly appreciated being offered a choice of scenarios. The only real disappointment was the sound - the beeps and burbles when battle commences are weak, to say the least.