Battle Of Britain (PSS) Review | Computer Gamer - Everygamegoing

Computer Gamer


Battle Of Britain
By PSS
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Computer Gamer #9

Battle Of Britain

Another excellent war game from those awfully nice PSS people. Here we have a brilliant simulation of 30 days during the height of the battle of England's skies during 1940.

The game puts you in command of seventeen squadrons of the few, spread over nineteen airfields of 11 and 12 group.

The game consists of an option screen that allows you to select the various training modes, options such as action or not (more of that later), and whether you are using a green screen or a colour monitor.

Entering the campaign game (the full 30 days instead of the one day of training phases) gives you the option of speeding up the game, saving, loading, or starting the game.

When you are in the game proper, you are greeted with a map of Southern England and wales and a small chunk of northern France. On this is also marked the radar stations, major towns and cities liable to attack, and the airfields (also liable to attack).

Radar coverage is vital, as without it you cannot see the enemy until they get far too close; knocking out a radar station results in a lack of cover over a particular section of coast. Pressing R lets you see what is being covered by making that area of coastline glow.

The main user input is via the joystick, which moves a cursor (called a 'command box') around the screen, this gives information on whether a particular installation is active or not, and any status changes. Move the box onto the appropriate area and the info/status area of the screen shows the necessary information.

The bad guys are represented by small and large German insignia depicting the rough size of the formation. Accurate figures of the group (and the fighter:bomber ratio) can be found from the command box.

To stop these enemies of the free world you must scramble your Spitfires and Hurricanes and try to wipe them out.

Selecting an airfield with the cursor will show you the number of squadrons available and their status, and the status of the runway and weather. Selecting a 'ready' squadron will allow it to scramble - only one squadron can scramble at a time though, or the runway might get a bit crowded.

When a squadron is airborne it is represented by a good old British roundel; the cursor again will give you information on numbers, ammo and fuel.

You guide these planes by giving them a destination and letting them fly there, any bad guys on the way get attacked. This is where the fun starts.

If 'action' has been selected, you go into the arcade sequence when you are behind the guns of a Spitfire on the tail of a German formation. Flying towards the lower part of the formation lets you at the bombers, and the higher end is the fighters.

As you fly into the group of planes, they scatter, leaving you on the tail of one of them. It will then start avoiding action, and you should try and follow it to blast it from existence. However, it will not attempt to shoot back at you which is a bit of a disappointment.

This section directly affects that squadron's performance, so don't select this option unless you are fairly good.

When the enemy attack a ground target, there is also an action sequence, where you man an anti-aircraft gun. This is not nearly so good, as the control of the gun is not very well implemented and everything happens too fast to achieve anything useful.

At the end of the day you get forty new planes and pilots to allocate as you wish to squadrons that may be under strength.

Overall, one of the most playable wargames that I have ever played; simple to learn and extremely challenging. The gameplay is very well thought out.