Games Workshop have long been in the business of seeing games across a wide range of interests. . Now they have gone into software production with the aid, in this case of 'Demented Den, The Major, Macabre Mick and Einstein' and the corporate members of Dagenham Design Cell.
D-Day is a sophisticated wargame set in the Second World War for two players. It contains four scenarios, each accessed via its own loader. These are The Landing, The Breakout, Road to Arnhem, Arnhem Landing. The loader asks to play, and then loads the appropriate Deployment program. In this stage the two players (Germans and Allies) deploy their forces' start positions on a map. The screen has two windows, map on the left, units and numbers to be on the right. A cursor selects the unit, while a set of cursor keys then move two white arrows over the map terrain to where you want the unit placed. When all the units have deployed, the second player deploys his or hers, and then the main program for the selected scenario is loaded.
In play, the same screen layout is used, with messages and prompts appearing in the right window, units being moved by selection and the cursor system. The map of each scenario is quite large, the window only displays a small area, with the map scrolling over the total area as the cursor is moved. The map contains several terrain features such as, trees, rough ground, sea or lakes, grass, roads, buildings, sand, marshes, hedges and bridges over rivers. Logically, units may only be deployed or moved into terrain that is suitable, and the program takes account of movement speed depending on the terrain.
To win a scenario, you must defeat the enemy's forces. There are three values related to destruction - Attack, Defence and Range. These three affect how effective a shot on the opponent will be and can result in four states - Undamaged, Damaged, Wreck or Destroyed. The distinction between wreck and destroyed is that a wreck, though out of the action, is not removed and so prevents another unit from occupying the square, whereas destroyed objects vanish altogether.
In firing, logic is employed. A unit may fire if nothing blocks its way like towns, trees or hedges, and if it is within range of the target. If all the parameters are met, then the cursor is placed over the firing unit and confirmed, before moving the cursor to the unit being fired upon. The graphics actually show the attack and resulting explosion. The damage report is then displayed. Howitzers and mortars are allowed to fire on targets even if terrain intrudes, because of the high trajectory of shot.
Since ships are very important in landings and on rivers, lakes etc, there is a large section devoted to them in the manual. As they make a large difference to the outcome of any game, it is worth reading this section carefully. The four scenarios each have different conditions for winning and varying amounts and types of units.
Control keys: uses 8 directional cursor movement with keys: Q/W/E; A/S/D; Z/X/C;
Joystick: none needed in this type of game
Keyboard play: cursor selection is very fast and positive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: varied, detailed and dear, smooth scrolling over map
Screens: four scenarios with scrolling
Special features: two-player only
'When I first saw the graphics of this game after loading the deployment part of the program, I immediately thought of Stonkers, the Imagine wargame, because the graphics are not dissimilar, bright, sharp and quite large. I've seen plenty of wargames, and usually everything is small, cramped, indistinct and a pain on the eye. Not so with D-Day. For once the graphic characters actually resemble recognisable things. The system of selection by cursor is very good and speeds the game up, especially as the cursor can itself be made to move at a faster speed - none of that entering all the grid references. Deployment takes quite a while, as is often the case in wargames, but it isn't just a boring prelude to playing the game - the positioning of troops and units is critical. But there is a useful auto-deployment mode. In general, the only drawback to D-Day that I can seal. yet is its two-player status which makes it difficult for a lone player, unless he wants to play both sides - but that's hardly cricket, is it?'
'Wargames have never been a strong point with me, and D-Day is another mammoth task with loads of setting up to do, and then when the game starts, a long time needs to be spent gradually manoeuvering all the units into battle position. On the other hand, the graphics are very good, and before I knew it, my partner and I were engrossed in The Landing. If Stonkers is called to mind, it is only in the sense that the graphics are as interesting and varied. D-Day is definitely a fully blown war- game for experts and lovers of strategy. As such it offers an enormous scope for playing and will probably do well in correspondence games. The accompanying booklet is well laid out and clear to read. Also, an unusually, it is quite easy to understand. A very good game with plenty of potential.'