1983
Strategy: War
£5.50
£3.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

102
Chris Bourne

In an unusually terse and to the point scenario introduction, Imagine Inform you that you are poised on the very brink of battle - the enemy have had their port and HQ under siege for weeks, and now is the eve of the battle. As commander of your forces, you must out-think, out-manoeuvre and out-fight your foe.

Stonkers is a graphical strategy and tactics game between the player and the computer. Unlike many popular war games already available, in Stonkers you are not expected to spend ages setting up the scenario, distributing weapons and moving your forces unit by unit. Both of you and the enemy already have tanks, artillery and infantry positioned round the countryside, and the enemy's forces are on the move as soon as the game commences. In fact, this turns out to be a very fast moving game of an almost arcade nature.

The war zone is large, and is shown on screen in two ways; a large map which shows total playing area - two chunks of land, divided by a river estuary and connected by a bridge; and a large scale map, which shows a big close up with graphical details of the various units. On this map, when a unit is being deployed, you can see it moving, its speed depends on the terrain which is also shown as contours. On the total map a cross-hatched cursor block, indicating the area of the large scale map, can be rapidly moved by directional keys. Pressing the fire key switches maps. On the close up map a X cursor is moved with directional keys, and if positioned directly above a unit, will cause it to start moving towards the coast when the fire key is pressed.

Below the display area, a ticker tape keeps you informed as to what's going on and how you have been Stonking.

Keeping up the strengths of your forces isdone by moving supplies from your port (when the supply ship has docked) to where they are needed using your 4 supply units. If a unit fails to receive supplies in time it will be lost for good.

The game moves at a fast pace and holds a number of undisclosed surprises.

CRITICISM

'The game is long and fairly "deep" due to the task of destroying either the enemy's Port and HQ or his forces, and also due to the scale of the war. You may be needing infantry down on the coast fast, but can it be spared (or even get there in time) from the distant highlands? Stonkers appealed to me much more than most of the other wargames due to its higher quality of graphics, large scale and simple controls. Very addictive - I found myself having a bash during any spare hour.'

'The graphics and overall presentation are excellent. I like the ticker tape which offers you the selection menu for keyboard, Joysticks and skill levels. I was surprised by the speed at which Stonkers moves once all the various units are being deployed. It gets to the point where you barely have 'any time left to think, and you're punching keys all the while. There are 2 skill levels, the harder only allows you to see an enemy unit if one of your own units Is in the same vicinity, and this certainly stretches the tactical abilities to the limit. An excellent game.'

'If only Imagine can get rid of the program bug which causes it to crash on occasion, Stonkers is set to be the best wargame I've seen yet. It keeps you on the go constantly without having to wait while the enemy "has his turn". The simple controls help a lot, too, in making this game very playable.' After checking with Imagine, we have been informed that the first two batches of tapes they received did have a problem which causes the program to crash iexplicably. This has now been corrected. If you have encountered this problem, you may return the cassette to Imagine and they will replace i. But anyone buying Stonkers now should encounter no problems.

COMMENTS
Control keys: CAPS,X,V,N left; Z,C,B,M right; 2nd row = up, 3rd. row = down, top row = fire
Joystick: Protek, AGF, Fuller, Sinclair, Kempston
Keyboard play: responsive and fast
Colour very good, lots of it
Graphics: very good
Sound: not much, but what is used is high quality
Skill levels: 2
Screens: 2, with smooth scrolling

General Rating: Excellent battle game which manages to be very addictive.

90%
70%
70%
58%
90%
87%
78%

Screenshot Text

Stonking along with Imagine.