Computer Gamer

Zulu War
By Cases Computer Simulations
Spectrum 48K

Published in Computer Gamer #26

Zulu War

Leaving aside the fact this period of Empire building was hardly one of the more glorious parts of out history, this latest wargame from CCS is actually an interesting study in strategy and tactics. On the one side, there is the relatively small but highly trained British Army, equipped with the latest weapons. On the other, a much larger force of Zulu warriors, tactically inferior and armed only with spears.

The game contains two scenarios, each with three different skill levels. Victory comes when you reduce the Zulu forces to a state where they represent no threat. There is no opportunity to take command of the Zulu forces.

Controlling the game is simple. Each unit is selected in turn and can either move, stay put or fire. When you attack, you can fire in one of eight directions but only at targets not standing next to you. These are fought in hand-to-hand combat. Each unit is displayed as a certain sized formation - 2x2, 3x3, etc. This size decreases as the unit takes casualties. Each unit has strength, morale and efficiency values assigned to it. These are displayed in a window in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

Tactics are interesting, although the British units are relatively slow. Also, the infantry works best when it is firing from a distance - they are relatively poor at hand-to-hand combat. The cavalry, on the other hand, excel at both distance and close quarters fighting. In addition, the Lancers can charge at the enemy in an attempt to disrupt them. The Zulus are highly mobile and will indulge in close combat. The winning strategy seems to consist of keeping your forces together, pushing out initially and then hitting and falling back in the hope that the thin red line holds. It usually does.

Despite being a fairly simple wargame, I found Zulu War highly addictive. The action is immediate and you don't have to sit around waiting for the computer to make its moves. Highly recommended for newcomers to this type of game.