Sherman M4 (Loriciel) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

Sherman M4
By Loriciels
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #63

Sherman M4

Let's face it. The Sherman M4 tank wasn't much good. The Second World War crews used to call them 'Ronsons', after the cigarette-lighters, because, as the advert of the time went, they "lit first time, every time". Fire was always the greatest fear of the tank crews. The M4 had much of its ammunition stored inside the main body, and the results were often infernal.

Also, the Sherman only had a 75mm main gun, and armour that would have trouble stopping a determined wood-pecker. However, it was quite fast and mechanically reliable. And there were lots of them. Swarms of British and American Shermans overwhelmed the superior German armour which, though bigger and better defended, was seriously disadvantaged in terms of numbers. Thus grew the legend that the Sherman was something special.

This game places you in command of up to four M4s. There are ten missions to complete. Five take place in Normandy during the landings, and five in the Ardennes. The long-range scenery differs with each setting. In Normandy you see some lovely coastal views, and in the Ardennes you see some, er, hills.

Sherman M4

Using an overall map of the playing area, you direct your tanks by cursor to their targets. These might be depots, bunkers, flags (representing strategic points or villages. It's more fun to direct three of your tanks by map, and drive the fourth yourself. Inevitably, German armour will appear. Your Shermans will defend them-selves, and might even win, but generally they're hope-less, and miss all the time. The Germans are marginally better. You usually have to sort everything out yourself by wading in with your gun blazing and taking out every enemy tank.

Unfortunately, combat is too easy. Your turret always points in the direction you are driving, and you can't change the elevation of the gun-barrel. But it makes no difference. Just align the target using left and right, and hit Fire. They are always destroyed with one shot.

The game is a little like Battlezone with Second World War tanks. There are buildings and trees around, but these aren't big enough to use as cover, and they can easily be blown apart. When there is more than one tank in your view, the screen updates slow dramatically, and moving and firing becomes agonisingly sluggish.

Sherman M4

There are a wide range of modifying options; you can select unlimited ammo for your tank, instant reload and unlimited fuel. You can also set the experience and morale levels of the Germans. It doesn't make much difference; you'll still shell them to tiny bits as soon as they come within range. Your own shields can withstand quite a battering, despite the far superior 88mm German guns trained on them. The graphics are good. You are, however, presented with a view through the drivers/gunners aperture. This is rather like peeping through a letterbox (the rest of the screen is black). But once you get used to the restricted view, you'll feel at home with it, and et used to swinging the tank about to see what's going on around you.

The 3D perspectives work well, and the views of other tanks, gun emplacements and so on are nice, if simple. However, there are German Tigers, Jagdpanzers and Panzer 4s which are actually recognisable when seen fairly close-up during a battle (if you know what they look like in real life).

Sound is kept to a minimum. No engine noises, but great sounds of shells being fired and exploding with ferocious violence. This is very acceptable, since an engine drone would become annoying after a while.

Sherman M4

The strategic element is spoiled by the game's simplicity. If you take no active part in the battles but simply order your tanks from place to place, the sides are fairly evenly matched. But as soon as you start commanding one or more of the tanks in combat, you'll tip the balance strongly in your own favour.

Each games takes no more than a few minutes to play. Most of this is travelling in a convoy from place to place.

Watch out for one thing. To return to the game from map-mode you must hit ESC. But if you press ESC whilst in tank-view mode, you'll quit the game instantly. This is bound to catch out the unwary.

Sherman M4

Overall, Sherman M4 is a disappointment. It looks good, it's generally fast enough, and it promises a lot. But it is just too simple.

Second Opinion

Disappointing after a while because you're expecting some serious strategic gameplay. All you end up with, though, is just another shoot-'em-up, not a sluggish one at that.

First Day Target Score

Destroy all the German armour.


Graphics 77%
P. Nice, but seen through a letterbox slot.

Sonics 62%
Explosions are great, but that's about it.

Grab Factor 75%
P. Very easy to pick up.

Staying Power 56%
N. But too easy to win.

Overall 68%
Like the motorway, M4 does get monotonous after a while.

James Leach

Other Amstrad CPC464 Game Reviews By James Leach

  • Spaghetti Western Simulator Front Cover
    Spaghetti Western Simulator
  • Multi Player Soccer Manager Front Cover
    Multi Player Soccer Manager
  • Ace Plus Ace 2 Front Cover
    Ace Plus Ace 2
  • Target: Renegade Front Cover
    Target: Renegade
  • Soccer Star Front Cover
    Soccer Star
  • Grand Prix Circuit Front Cover
    Grand Prix Circuit
  • Snowstrike Front Cover
  • Night Hunter Front Cover
    Night Hunter
  • U N Squadron Front Cover
    U N Squadron
  • Cup Football Front Cover
    Cup Football