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CCS
1988
Strategy: War
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

79
Owen Bishop, Audrey Bishop
Chris Bourne

Blitzkrieg is based on the German advance through Belgium, Luxemburg and Northern France in May 1940. You control the Germans - the computer plays the Allies and there's no option to change sides or to have a two-player game. Unfortunately you can't save the game to tape either.

Presentation is good. There's a large clear scrolling map in London Underground style, though as this game incorporates hidden movement, distant enemy units are not shown. The 24-page instruction booklet is comprehensive, and contains an account of the historical background, illustrated by photographs.

The program is menu-driven and the system is easy to learn. At the beginning of each turn you can give orders to each army, find out details of each unit, and reveal the terrain under each unit symbol. From then on the remainder of the turn consists of four phases (German movement, German combat, Allied movement, Allied combat), all under computer control.

THe novel feature of Blitzkrieg is the way in which the armies are controlled. You don't control individual units, but armies, each consisting of six units. By using three cursors you tell the army which area to head for, and the required positions of its right and left flanks. From then on the computer does the rest. It moves the units of the army each turn, until they've reached their intended positions. You can also order an army (but not individual units) to attack when they meet an enemy unit, to defend, or to leave the decision to the unit commander.

Lack of control of individual units however, makes it impossible to exploit a narrow gap in the enemy lines, or to withdraw a unit that is in imminent danger of being surrounded, without affecting all the other units in the army. Also an army sometimes seems to 'forget' its orders for no apparent reason. But the worst feature of this system has got to be that it leaves you with nothing to do, except watch the screen, for the major part of each turn.

Terminating victory conditions are precisely spelt out in the instructions. The game is said to end when either army is reduced to less than 40 percent effectiveness. But this does not happen. We were able to carry on playing when effectiveness was far below 40 percent on both sides. And though the German effectiveness was greater, the display still told us that the Allies had the victory. It is obvious that this stage of the game has not been properly tested.

This is a simple no frills game - no detailed tactical operations, no air-support to control, and no consideration given to supply. Good presentation, fair scenario, spoilt by an inferior command system and obvious programming errors. In short it's boring!

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