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Ken Wright
Strategy: War
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Spectrum, £9.95cs

June 6th 1944 saw the start of operation Overlord - the invasion of Normandy by the allied British, American and Canadian forces. This latest release from CCS attempts to re-create this operation, widely regarded as the decisive western battle of the Second World War. Inspiration for the game was drawn extensively from the Max Hastings book 'Overlord'.

The program is for one player and allows you to control the allied forces only, though there are three difficulty levels. The object of the game is to land your forces, secure the beaches (to allow reinforcements to land) and then break out and reach the right hand edge of the game map. The game can end before then, however, should either side's effectiveness be reduced to below 40 per cent.

The game breaks down into two broad phases - the landing of reinforcements and the issuing of orders. Your limited supply of reinforcements can only come ashore at beaches which are in your control and which are clear of other units. Issuing orders is effected unit by unit, and involves placing a cursor at the required destination, first for the unit's centre, and then for each of its flanks. Once all the units have been positioned, movement of the allies occurs - followed by any resulting combat. Then the German forces move and combat is resolved again.

The game plays well, and the screen layout is simple but effective, though mistakes are hard to correct so each step has to be carefully considered. The easiest level poses no great problems while the hardest will provide you with a tough challenge. The additional beaches available to the player at the start of the game (those not used for the real landings but which easily could have been) allow the player to play several 'what if' scenarios.