Battalion Commander is a fair attempt at a war game, if you can classify it as that, since it is more of a mass combat simulator than a true wargame, and a confusing one at that.
War areas are never easy to understand, but this is particularly hard to fathom. You are in command of four companies, each of which is divided into six platoons with eight more "sub" platoons, such as engineers and various types of scouts. Each platoon also has various weapons at its disposal but this varies on whether they are armoured or not. The platoons are themselves supplied by train and their orders are given out by battalion HQ.
As with most war games, Battalion Commander has a novice level which, although designed for beginners, is still very hard to play. Instead of commanding four units you only have control of three including the battalion HQ which watches over and hands out orders to the fighting troops. There is no real purpose to the novice game in turn gives orders to your men you can then try one of the four other than write off over 95% of the enemy. After a few major assaults this soon becomes a tedious way of learning.
If you work out how to control and scenarios included in the package, of which Defense seems to play the best. Now when you play one of these scenarios your meagre 11 commands are now a brain-bending 31! If you can still play the game without too much hassle, well hello Einstein!
The game does wear a bit thin in places. The manual is poorly documented, and the terrain tables at the back might as well not be there for all the help they offer.
The graphics and sound are really quite standard for a war game with blips and blops here and there with crumbly little sprites marking out minefields and the troops. The worst threat of all, though, comes not from the manual, but from your headquarters being blown off the map by a lucky enemy strike - then you can't even give out orders until a new one is built, or your troops are wiped out!
Not a bad game, but room for one heck of a lot of improvements, especially in the manual where the game instructions are as clear as a foggy night in a coal mine.
How about the next war game release being slightly better presented, eh, US Gold?