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Red Shift Ltd
Not Known
Strategy: War
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Owen Bishop, Audrey Bishop
Chris Bourne

Essentially a classical strategy game for two to four players (no computer-opponent). The map displays 24 strategic centres, divided between the players at the beginning. Your aim is to exapnd your empire by occupying the centres held by your opponent(s), while holding your centres against all-comers. Your revenue is derived from the centres and other areas you occupy and used to deploy army, navy or nuclear weapons. Spend you revenue wisely and deploy your forces where they will be the most effective. The more you expand your empire, the more revenue you obtain. Victory conditions are not built into the program. Suggestions are given in the manual and the players agree beforehand on how the winner is to be decided.

There are four scenarios, based on maps of Europe, Britain, London and the Caribbean, respectively. These present minor variations (naval strategy dominates the Caribbean scenario, for example) but, whether your are trying to capture Berlin, Battersea or Belize, the strategy is much the same. The London scenario seems intended for light-hearted play - nuking Paddington Station from a silo in Trafalgar Square is a little unrealistic, to put it mildly! In fact, in spite of the game's title, the nuclear aspect does not add anything to it. The effects of nuking are not as devastating as they would be in real life. It just provides a gambling slant in an otherwise sober game. Fortunately, players can agree to ignore nuclear weaponry altogether and concentrate on the basic strategic elements.

The manual is detailed and clear, but it makes the game sound much faster and more exciting that it really is. This is a game for the pensive player who is happy to sit for a half-hour or more making a move. The manual helpfully suggest that you set yourself up with a supply of tasty provisions before beginning to play. Meanwhile, the other players will be scoffing all the dainties! The movement system is slow and cumbersome which further reduces the pace. Control is menu-driven and easy to understand; if in doubt press '0' and you are returned to the main menu. Unfortunately, the frequently used '0' key is next to BREAK, so a keying inaccuracy puts you back into BASIC.

The maps are simple but adequate. Noises off are irritating - especially if you really are trying to think. Combat resolution appears to be based almost entirely on chance with a bit of bluff (poker players will like it, tacticians will hate it). Summing up, serious strategy with frills of the wrong sort.