Crete 1941 (Cases) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

Crete 1941
By Cases Computer Simulations
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #66

Crete 1941

Fallschirmjager - German elite parachute troops. Hitler had, by the Spring of '41, assembled a powerful force of soldiers who could be dropped en masse into areas inaccessible by normal troop movements. The swiftness of such an attack would ensure the element of surprise, during which they'd capture ports and airfields.

The Fallschirmjager principle, fine on paper, was to be tested in May of 1941. Crete, nestling in the Aegean Sea below Greece, was held by the Allies. Their forces were small, fearing no immediate attacks, as they held all the ports and the three important airfields.

Then the German High Command initiated Operation Merkur. They dropped wave after wave of paratroops. It was a showpiece. The first totally airborne assault ever attempted.

Crete 1941

But things didn't happen the way Hitler had planned. The Allies defended Crete staunchly and Student's elite forces were given a rather severe kicking. They still managed to take the island, but at a terrible cost.

This game, like CCS's Battle Of The Bulge before it, accurately sets the conditions facing both the Allies and the Germans during this battle. One or two players can take part, and the idea is, obviously, to minimise your losses whilst taking/keeping the island.

The game's running system is the same as Bulge, and the programs are very similar to look at (the major difference being that Crete is surrounded by water). The game is divided into phases such as movement, combat and air attack, order your units to move, fire or hold position. It is a very simple and effective way of giving instructions.

Crete 1941

Once you've finished, the enemy now moves. Their troops are hidden from view unless you are in line of sight on the battlefield, so for the most part you don't know where the enemy is.

Combat occurs when two units meet. It takes several turns for a unit to be wiped out, so you might have time to send in reinforcements, or to bombard with your artillery.

The German player has to decide where to land his paratroops towards the beginning of the game. He must capture a port or airfield to enable reinforcements to land. The Allies should therefore pile up all their blokes at these places, hoping to repel the Nazi hordes.

Fallschirmjager is better than Battle Of The Bulge, primarily because it is a more fluid scenario. Three separate battles tend to occur around the three airfields. This gives the game a lot of depth, as it is possible to play a strategic campaign, planning a different assault at each airfield. One very welcome feature is the option to continue playing after the seven days that it took in real life are over. Bulge didn't have this option, and often seemed to end just when things were getting interesting. Perhaps CCS has listened to its public...

Graphics and sound are the same as Battle of the Bulge. The sound effects are simplified whizzes and rat-a-tats. These start to grate after a while. However, the graphics are not bad. They are clear and easy to understand, if a little unatmospheric. An overall scrolling map, such as Fallschirmjager has, is OK, but it would have been wonderful to go deeper into the game with another large-scale map, to see exactly what is going on.

Playability is greater than Bulge. There are more tactical options, owing to the very nature of the assault being carried out. The game is the most fun when being played by two people.

The computer plays a fairly predictable game. It's easy to beat it if you bunch up your forces to make impenetrable walls for it to hurl itself against.

Overall, Fallchirmjager is a highly playable wargame with enough possibilities to keep you coming back for more. If you don't mind poor, graphically uninspired, aurally challenged wargames, that is.

Second Opinion

It looks just the same as Battle Of The Bulge, so it's not going to grab you straight away. Dedicated wargaming fans will persevere, though, and find it a much better release.

First Day Target Score

Halt the German air assault at one airfield.


Graphics 43%
They are accurate and clear. But very simple.

Sonics 31%
They'll stop you drifting off.

Grab Factor 63%
It is certainly a fascinating scenario. It's also easy to get into.

Staying Power 68%
A lot of 'variability' built into this one.

Overall 66%
Just be careful not to twist your ankle when you land.

James Leach

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