Commodore User

Power Struggle

Author: Mark Patterson
Publisher: PSS
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #51

Power Struggle

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to control all the Communist countries in the world? Or all the countries loyal to Ronnie and the Constitution? You have? Well, Power Struggle lets you do just this. You can either be in charge of the Eastern bloc and its allies or NATO. Whichever you feel most comfortable with. You can pit your wits against a computer-controlled opponent or fight it out with a mate, both jostling for complete world domination.

The entire game is played on a single screen. With little less than half being taken up by a world map. At the side of the screen are the icons available to you and the enemy, with information and command boxes taking up the remaining half. On the map is a command cursor with which you can have hours of fun by moving it aimlessly around. You can, for comic relief put it over a country of your choice and press fire. A blow up of the country and the surrounding area will appear in the command box along with a small cursor to accurately select the country. The vital statistic of the country will then be shown up in the information box, telling you its world alignment (East or West) military strength, industrial power, political influence and current status. By pressing the fire button twice you gain entry to the table of icons.

The 'attack' icon is pretty obvious, it causes all your military resources to start hammering away at a neighbouring country of your choice, until their military strength (or yours!) is depleted, then your government can claim the country or they might counter-attack against you.

Power Struggle

The next icon on the list is the 'supply' icon, which, when selected, transfers 10% of the country's industry to another country. If the government of the supplied country is neutral it will cause a swing in favour to you. Industry also effects the speed at which your armies grow.

The 'Enforce' icon is next, and when selected transfers all your armies to a nextdoor neighbour. This leaves your country defenceless so this option is only wise if you are well protected with a buffer zone of other countries. Then you have 'Political' icon that supplies 12.5% of the country's political strength to a neutral country. The purpose of which is to influence the neutral country in to joining your regime. The way that system works is all the political strength supplied is added up and the side with the highest value obtains a swing in favour from the neutral one. The 'Build Army' icon transfers 12.5% of industrial strength to the military. And lastly 'Build Factories' speaks for itself. Probably the best feature though is where you can have the countries randomly assigned to the East and West.

If you have the upper hand in the game, the computer starts to either get desperate and do pointless things, or it just seems to lay down and die. For an old game Power Struggle looks good and it plays well too. If you have ever played Balance Of Power on the ST or the Amiga and enjoyed it, you should like this too.

Although along the same lines as the excellent Balance Of Power, it is in no way the same game. While initially absorbing, Power Struggle begins to wear thin, as can be expected with this sort of limited option game. Not so much a war game more a form of strategy, rather than a game that requires real tactics and thing-a-head planning skill.

But quids in and five of them in all, Power Struggle totals up to a cheap relief from standard games. The sort of thing you could break out at wet weekends when you feel like nothing better to do. But without splitting hairs you either like it or don't, I did. Ideal for power hungry Communist meglomaniacs or plain strategy freaks.

Mark Patterson

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