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PSS
1987
Strategy: War
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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99
Gary Rook
Chris Bourne

Tobruk is pretty disappointing. It's an attempt to marry strategy gaming with arcade gaming, in much the same way as PSS did with Bismark, but it's nowhere near as successful.

To begin with, you get the usual wargame-type map, this time of the area of North Africa around the port city of Tobruk - a very important location in the campaigns in North Africa during the second world war And to the right, a window giving status info - strength, supplies, etc.

The map is pretty bare, except for a few escarpments and an enormous minefield, which separates the two armies from each other. Allied units are character squares with dark bands against white backgrounds. Axis (German and Italian) units are black crosses against white.

The game's either one or two-player and, if one-player, the computer will control the Allies. To order your troops, you put the white open square - the command box - over a unit, hit Fire, move the cursor to the desired location, hit Fire again.

If you're next to an enemy force, then you can attack it - use the cursor to choose which units are attacking, and who they're going for and, if you've chosen to play with the arcade action screens, then you can pick one battle per turn to 'participate' in.

The arcade screens are a bit like a cross between Battlezone and Commando, but not half as good as either. You can choose to drive the tank, fire its machine gun, or use its turret and main gun. But you can only do one of the three at a time, and it's not easy switching.

In drive mode, you race around a patch of desert, getting shot at by enemy tanks or machine gun posts which pop up every so often. It's a bit frustrating, being able to chase things but not actually shoot at them. In turret mode, the situation is reversed. You can shoot at enemy tanks, and track them, but you can't chase after them' in machine-gun mode, you can shoot at whatever's on screen, but you can only fire in front of you - you're machine gun is fixed, not in a turret like the main gun. All very confusing .

The two halves are linked - the better you do in the arcade section, the better you are going to do in combat in the wargame part But to be honest. I wasn't really that interested. The problem with this one is that it's neither one thing nor the other: the wargame bit is boring, and the arcade sequence is clumsily executed.

Label: PSS
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Gary Rook

**

Unsuccessful marriage of arcade and wargames. Not enough oomph in either, and it falls neatly between two stools.

2/5