PSS
1987
Strategy: War
£12.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

108,109
Gary Rook
Chris Bourne

Sorcerer Lord could be PSS's finest hour. It is a one player wargame of fantastic scope and complexity. I can't remember having felt this excited about a computer wargame since Mike Singleton's Lords of Midnight.

The scenario is this: you are the Sorcerer Lord, commander of an alliance of Men and Elves, fighting, as usual, for your survival against the forces of the evil Shadow Lord - mostly creatures bred from wolves and warped by sorcery into killing machines. But mankind, as ever, is slumbering on, unaware of the peril... (bear with me). You must rouse the hidden strength of the alliance, and smash your foul enemy. OK the plot is not groundbreaking.

As with just about all computer wargames these days, the basic screen is a map window, showing you an area of the continent which the war is to be fought over. The total area is much larger than what you see on screen at any one time, but you can scroll around it to your heart's content, admiring the beautiful landscape and noticing in passing the disposition of various armies.

Along with the armies shown on the screen, there are lots of different landscapes. As you might expect, they include such things as mountains, forests, deserts, water and wooded hills, all of which have an effect on how far your troops can move. Then there are assorted man (or elven) made landmarks: towers, citadels and the mysterious rune rings. Towers and citadels are defensive positions, and also represent the starting places of the various Lords you'll need to recruit to your aid. Rune rings are the source of all sorcerous powers, and your distance from the nearest ring determines how effectively you magic will be combat.

The graphics are excellent: the map symbols are nicely detailed, as are the various shield symbols used to depict the different forces in the game. Trouble has been taken on the visual appearance of the game.

At the outset you control just a few Lords and their troops. By placing the cursor over each shield symbol you can find out more information about the lord and the forces he commands.

To attack an enemy force, you just move on top of it. Friendly Lords are recruited in the same way - you just move a leader to the fortress they live in. and they immediately join your gang.

Not all your troops are the same; you have desert riders, elves, mountain men and ordinary men. Some seem to have particular abilities - elves can move through woods as if they were open ground, the riders of Savantor prefer the desert, the mountain men the crags and so on.

You need to plan, don't ever attack unless you can get overwhelming odds, and calculate all battles carefully. I had 2,000 elves wiped out by a blunder in map reading in one game. I had intended to jump a force of 2,500 wolfheads with five elven armies simultaneously, but after I'd moved two I discovered that the rest couldn't get there! There was wailing and moaning in the old elven woods that night, I can tell you...

Label: PSS
Author: In-house
Price: £12.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Gary Rook

It's an ingenious and entertaining fantasy wargame, with excellent graphics. I recommend it thoroughly.

10/10