Tobruk (PSS) Review | Computer Gamer - Everygamegoing

Computer Gamer

Spectrum 48K

Published in Computer Gamer #26


Desert rats are the subject of PSS's latest in its excellent wargamers' series.

You take the part of the German forces who, led by Rommel, must cross the Gazala line to re-take Tobruk. Unfortunately, a quarter of a million mines and the combined British and Commonwealth forces stand in your way. But, luckily, the British haven't finished laying the half million mines that will form the Gazala line, so, if you attack now, using your air support and engineers efficiently, you stand a chance of taking Tobruk.

The game begins with the opposing forces facing each other across the massive minefield which not only dominates the map but also both sides' tactics. To work out your tactical strengths, you place the command box cursor over your units; this enables you to evaluate their strengths from their values. Units include: infantry; artillery; armoured vehicles and supply. There are also supply and movement points.

Supply points are essential to both sides as, without supplies - i.e. food, ammunition, fuel, etc - any manoeuvre would be suicidal. The British get their supplies from the six oases, Tobruk being the most important, so these are your six prime targets. Cut the British supply lines and they will be forced to retreat. The Germans have to mobile supply trucks that you can trundle around. However, some Panzer units move quickly than the trucks so you must give them time to catch up.

As with other wargames, the game is played turn and turn about with each opposing general getting a chance to move and attack. After the second round comes the crucial, unique command phase in which you allocate air and engineering resources to any of the six missions. If the indicator then turns red the enemy has the advantage, yellow indicates a balance, but if you get the green light you're ahead so the mission can go ahead. This means your air forces, for instance, can fight it out with the enemy in the air and try to hit strategic map locations. These latter strikes can be highly effective so long as the unit you're aiming at doesn't move before you attack. You can also sabotage the enemy's attempts at recovery and clear a path through the mines to pave the way for a ground attack.

If, however, you prefer action to strategy and fancy your chances as a tank commander you can select the game's arcade option. This decides the outcome of all battles on the basis of your performance in an arcade sequence. If you choose this option you are presented with a tnk with icons for driving the tank, punching up a map, firing the main gun and blasting with a machine gun. Unfortunately, you can only perform one action at a time so you'll have to practise swapping around first to give you any chance of hitting the enemy tanks before they hit you! Be warned - your performance, no matter how dismal, decides the outcome of *all* battles so use the tank trainer program supplied with the game tape before risking anything in the real game.

Tobruk is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable wargames ever, ideal for beginner and veteran alike.