Storm Across Europe

Publisher: Strategic Simulations Inc
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #51

Storm Across Europe

When word first came through of Storm Across Europe, it was met with utter disbelief. The whole of the Second World War conflict in Europe crammed into a C64 just couldn't be done, but SSI have taken on the challenge and succeeded in fine style.

Rather than adopt the finely detailed style of most of their games, SSI follow the Colonial Conquest lead with the entire European continent as centre stage. As the leader of Germany's forces you're up against very nearly the whole of Europe - an unenviable situation.

Storm Across Europe removes itself from the gritty individual battles of games like Typhoon Of Steel and Overrun. Instead it concentrates on the strategies of gaining territory through best use of all three forces (the massive German Arms serving as the prime force).

Storm Across Europe

Each turn is made up of a whole season beginning with Autumn 1939 and finishing whenever you are finished - after all you may change history and make it past VE day! Any of five periods can be chosen to start from or a saved position restored.

A scenario builder can be brought into action for wargamers wanting to change the situation. Extremely comprehensive, it allows for modification of forces across the board prior to battle. The level of political (Hitler's) interference and sanity level of Stalin are just two parameters that can be modified.

The period chosen determines forces' strength, technology and research/raw materials levels among many other aspects with the USA joining the Allies late 1941. Once the period is selected and the scenario constructed the war begins.

Storm Across Europe

With such a large scale as this it's impossible to think about handling individual units. Instead, each unit represents an entire squadron, army brigade or small fleet, keeping the scale sensible and combat in correct relation to the war as a whole.

All commands are issued using the well-designed and user-friendly menu system occupying the lower half of the screen. The multi-directional scrolling map of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East takes u the top half of the screen with each country sub-divided into separate regions.

Sub-menus are accessed through the six main menu options: LAND, NAVY and AIR are the key options through which each force is sent into battle. VIEW is used to show information on each country's industrial strength, population, raw material levels as well as a map of Europe and army/fort positions. COMBAT initiates the planned battles and also brings in the next season. Save/Load position facilities are also offered through the DISK menu option.

Though each of the forces has its own menu, many of the options within are the same in function but relevant to a different type of weapon - through all three main force menus armies/airbases/fleets can be created or removed from play or units transferred between bases.

Particular to each menu are the unique action options - LAND forces attack with tanks and infantry, the NAVY sets out to patrol seas, hunt convoys in cubs, resupply other units via convoy, and finally the AIR force can bomb production, airbases or hunt for enemy airpower and destroy it. The latter force is capable of investing research points in either V rockets or atomic bombs, each having its own pros and cons.

The tactical objective of domination is to gain possession of at least half the target country's territory along with the capital. Poland is not much of a problem but Russia's sheer size and power can prove to be Germany's downfall. Combined use of all three forces is the way to victory, but with enemies all around this is no walkover wargame.

This review can only serve to highlight selected aspects of the game, the fact that anything and everything is possible when it comes to recreating or rewriting history is where Storm Across Europe comes into its own. From the sea war in the Atlantic and Med through to the Battle of the Bulge, the invasion of Crete, El Alamein and the Battle Of Britain - anything is possible and the history books can be totally rewritten. The sheer scale and scope of it all is staggering to say the very, very least. SSI's best C64 wargame to date.


Presentation 88%
The best SSI game yet in terms of user-friendliness and clear presentation - and all joystick driven! Smooth-scrolling map, easy to get into and accompanied by a manual which, while a touch brief, says all it needs to say extremely well.

Challenge 95%
Tackling the entire Second World War in Europe is not for the weak of heart! The multiple period option allows for novices and experts alike to enter the game at the level they feel confident with.

Authenticity 90%
Obviously due to the large scale, it misses out on extensive battle detail but makes up for this by faithfully covering all combat actions and aspects of the European war.

Overall 94%
Easily the best thing SSI have yet produced.