Sinclair User27th March 1987
Published in Sinclair User #63
Apocalyse was originally (still is, in fact) a boardgame, published by Games Workshop. A couple of years back, a software house called Red Shift produced a computerised version and now Command Software (part of Infogrames) is reissuing it.
In effect, Apocalypse is four games in one, or more accurately the same game with four different maps to play on. The different maps are Europe, the Caribbean, Great Britain and London. In each case, the objective is the same - to use the force of arms, represented by your land and naval forces and your nuclear strike force, to dominate the playing area. The game mechanics are the same in each scenario.
The best way to describe the game, is to give a brief idea of how just one of the scenarios works - the European map is probably the simplest. Most of the screen is taken up with a large strategic map divided into squares, representing deserts, mountains, rural areas, the sea and cities.
To the right of the strategic map is a smaller, tactical map showing the area immediately around the cursor. It lists the value of each region shown, and the troop strengths in each square At the beginning of the game, the players, however many there are taking part, divide up the cities on the board between them and build forces, either divisions, navies or nukes.
Movement of units is simple - cursor over an area where you have troops, choose how many divisions or ships you want to move, then cursor to destination and hit Fire and combat occurs when you try to move into an enemy occupied square. The number of units you can move into a space depends on what sort of terrain it contains. You need more armies to attack cities, for example. There are two ways of deciding who wins a combat. In one, the attacker picks a number and the defender then tries to guess what that number is. The second combat method is the same, except the computer randomly chooses numbers for you.
Apocalypse is now a couple of years old and looks it. Unlike many other wargames being produced now. It's ugly as hell. Squares are very, well, square looking. And the movement system can be very tiresome as it takes a very long time for orders to be input. Add to that the fact that you've got to have two to four players - no one player option - and it should be a dodo. But actually it isn't, mainly because you get so much for your dosh. But in addition to the cash value, the games are really more than playable, if you don't mind the length of time they take.
A slow game, but you certainly get plenty for your money. Dated now but based on a strong board game.