Pacific War is a wargame simulation of the battle of Guadalcanal in the Eastern Solomons, August 1942. Only one player is allowed; he controls the American, and the computer the Japanese, forces. The objective is to find, and destroy, the enemy's fleets, before they land reinforcements, or destroy you. The format is similar to the Lothlorien games; but uses slightly better graphics. Play is shown on a grid-map of the area (the references are strangely double letters, e.g. KS?).
There are nine levels of play, although there isn't much apparent difference between each one. A screen dump of the initial map will prove very useful during the game. Play consists of setting up your task-forces, selecting (alterable) courses; then sequential game turns (G.T.) of three operations turns (O.T.) each. You control three task-forces: battleships, cruisers, aircraft-carriers and transporters; plus Henderson airfield. The computer has six task-forces (Doesn't it always have the advantage?)
Progress is made on a points system after 'Battleships', on which this game is based. Set numbers of hits being required to sink each ship. The scores are totalled, and the first to reach a set value wins the 'battle'. Half of this large program is in machine code; although play is often slow and very repetitive, e.g. target movement by cursor keys, form the lower border, one square per time (three would have been better)!
Each task-force may have up to three air missions (which move two squares per O.T.) and only move one square per G.T. Early play entails sending numerous search missions to locate the enemy. Once found, airstrikes (of fighters, torpedos, or dive-bombers) can be sent out, to try and destroy the opposing task-force. Previous sightings are shown on the map, for a few turns, by an expanding square. The only defence against Japanese air attacks is to launch a C.A.P. (Combat Aircraft Patrol) which decreases your fighter strength. Strong air strikes are more effective, but once sent they cannot be recalled.
Status reports on each task-force are available, and after each G.T., a full fleet damage report is given. Note-making and tactics are all-important. This is a long game, and inexplicably no 'SAVE/LOAD' option is provided! The rules are complex but easily learnt, but the game becomes somewhat boring due to constant repetition, and slowness. The only outstanding feature being the moving-graphic planes on the map.
Each game is varied because of the random start positions, but soon become the same as the last (despite the level chosen). To replay the game you are required to re-load the entire program! In all, an interesting strategy game; only just recommended. It could have been so much better with just a little more careful thought, and variety in play.