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Not Known
Strategy: War
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

It's never-in-the-field-of-computer-wargames time again, as PSS tackles Jerry above the Home Counties. The Battle of Britain has endless romantic appeal, as well as an interest to wargamers. But does this version deserve its wings?

PSS has steered an admirable course away from the grids of board wargames. Here are screens within screens, scrolling messages, cursor movement and even optional arcade sequences to sway the outcome of combat. Even if you don't choose the action sequences, there's not a moments rest, because commanding our brave boys against the Jerries is rather like juggling..

You have to get them up into the air, move them to the hotspots, guarding cities and radar installations, then guide them back to an empty airbase, preferably without too much runway damage, before they run out of fuel. And all the time the Luftwaffe is flying in from the south east.

Battle Of Britain hardly gives you time to check whether a base operation, let alone draw up a plan. The result is that you throw as much as you dare at the incoming squadrons and hope!

As for the arcade sequence, all I can say is that if you want a simulation of flying a WWII fighter, jump into Mirrorsoft's Spitfire 40. PSS has only been able to fit a rather dodgy shoot 'em up into the memory available, and has had to omit the ground gunning sequence, included in other computer versions.

There's a training mode and a one day Blitzkrieg game, but hardened flyers could attempt the 30 day Campaign. This at least adds a supply element to the battle, which makes the strategy more sophisticated.

Battle Of Britain falls between two stools for me, and while I can appreciate that a fast and furious game may seem more attractive to the punters, this will be too frenetic for most armchair air marshals!