Kevin J.M. Toms
1987
Strategy: Management
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

89
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

Here we have the long awaited (ie much delayed) President from Addictive. The firm still seems to be promoting all its products on the grounds that Kevin Toms did quite a good job on Football Manager and therefore all his subsequent programs will be equally good. Stands to reason, doesn't it?

President is a definite ego trip for the prospective player. It's only in a game of this type that you get to control a whole country and thus make all the important decisions: how food is distributed, where to dig for oil, which countries to attack etc.

The game is split up into lots and lots of different sections, each involving relatively little, except making decisions. There are no aliens to kill or insurgent guerillas to wurp. Yup, President's another strategy game.

Everything happens, logically enough, in a cycle of months. At the end of each month you're informed as to exactly what the rest of the World thinks of your rule, how other parties are doing and how things are generally going. Every twenty four months (bi-annually) there is an election. Obviously, smarter players will make all the tougher, more unpopular decisions just after an election and bolster public support with a few vote-winning choices toward the end of your term of office.

Finding yourself in a fairly stereotypical middle-eastern country, oil plays a big part in the state of the nation. Indeed, most of the action takes place in oil-orientated areas. The entire country is shown on the screen along with tokens denoting tanks, oil production plants, storage tanks, roads, crop areas and suchlike. You can survey areas for oil and, where necessary, plant a production rig.

You can also lay down roads and crossroads, aiding transport of goods and food. Occasionally a nasty neighbouring country will launch an airborne assault on your oil fields which is usually a bit of a setback. It's possible to deplete the magnitude of such attacks by careful positioning of anti-aircraft guns that can blow away any unwanted flying types.

Ground attacks will be initiated by outside forces too, and you will have to guide your tanks into battle to protect your land. Such escapades are in fact a bit weedy as the UDG's jump around rather unconvincingly. One could probably say this section was the token graphics/ action part of the game, but that would be totally unfair wouldn't it?

Just as getting your people and crops blown to pieces by enemy jets and tanks is sure to lose you votes, so is the mass starvation of your people or unquelled outbreaks of Malaria, TB etc.

Importing military goods and oil-drilling gear is possible too.

President is certainly a very complex game. It's no great shakes graphically but you could argue that that is what strategy games are all about. It really all boils down to being yet another derivative of the ancient Kingdom games. Keep the people happy while running a country. If it's your scene, it'll probably be quite exciting. And fans of Kevin Tom's previous efforts will find much to admire and generally go ape.

Label: Addictive
Author: Kevin Toms
Price: £8.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

****

A fairly entertaining souped-up Kingdom derivative with a marginally more interesting setting. Not one for action freaks.

4/5