Theatre Europe (PSS) Review | Your Sinclair - Everygamegoing

Your Sinclair

Theatre Europe
Spectrum 48K

Published in Your Sinclair #8

Theatre Europe

Plenty of drama in this theatre because if there's another World War, Europe will be the playing area. Obviously a game like this lays itself open to charges of bad taste. Nothing could be further from the truth. War is the bad taste. A serious, well researched program like this is an insight into the nature of modern war.

The game plays extremely smoothly. Computer wargames seem to work better on this large scale. Everything is cursor controlled, with the option to change moves that you immediately regret. There's not a wealth of information but what there is is presented clearly.

After the initial options, including the choice to play either Nato or Warsaw Pact and computer vs computer, it's into the command centre.

In traditional wargame style each round comprises movement then combat. Next comes an optional arcade sequence - the one feature I didn't like. It takes the form of a shooting game that alters combat bonuses, but if you feel like me you can always ignore it.

After combat has been resolved it's time to reinforce those key areas, air power and supply. You're then presented with a different type of command screen to allocate planes to various missions, ranging from air superiority to reconnaisance. Next come the special missions - where you can choose chemicals that could trigger a nuclear response, or your atomic capability on one of two levels. Choosing the latter being is highly likely to result in a nuclear exchange and zero for command capabilities.

Your main objective is to survive thirty days - all the experts reckon it'll take for the traditional armaments to run out. The West would then win the race to re-arm and so win the war. However I foudn that I was being forced to retreat further and further into France and eventually choose gas and finally a limited nuclear strike. The world ended with a bang, not a whimper.

Details of the effect of these special mission, and the request for the codeword to launch missiles are communicated teleprinter style. It's a simple but effective device which makes the computerised 'friendly' signing off all the more chilling. Readin the excellent booklet enclosed with the game spells out the futility of modern warfare clearly enough... but never so clearly as playing a simulation.

This is far from being a piece of bad taste exploitation. It's a highly moral, eye-opening introduction to the military mind which, to even consider the possibilities here, must be somewhat psychotic.

Gwyn Hughes

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