Europe Ablaze: The War Over England And Germany 1939-1945 (SSG) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

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Europe Ablaze: The War Over England And Germany 1939-1945
By Strategic Studies Group
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #38

Europe Ablaze: The Air War Over England And Germany 1939-1945

Europe Ablaze is not only the longest titled game I've seen in a long while, it's the only Australian software I've ever seen unless you count Melbourne House.

The first really impressive thing about it is the packaging; it's very plush indeed. It looks like a small album cover, more the size of your copy of CU really.

This is no trivial game. Inside the album cover, you will find the game disc, maps, a sheet showing the menu structure, and a load of blurb about the history of the Second World War in the air. Now that's what I call a fair old bundle of gear.

The game itself, if you can call it a game, is not insubstantial either. By now you'll have gathered that it is a total simulation of the battle for supremacy of the skies in WWII. There are actually three scenarios, corresponding presumably to the three major conflicts. They are:

  1. Their Finest Hour
    The Battle of Britain: August 4 - September 4 1940
  2. Enemy Coast Ahead
    Bomber Command Strikes by Night: July 23 - August 20 1943
  3. Piercing The Reich
    The 8th Air Force Turns The Tide: February 3 - February 26 1944

If that's not enough, you can design your own.

In each of the three scenarios, your objectives are different, as are the types of difficulty you will have to overcome if you are to be successful. Despite the colourful cover and all the paraphernalia, the game can only be described as utilitarian in terms of graphics and sound. As with most war games, the bulk of the code is taken up with providing realistic strategic scenarios.

You can take the part of either the Allied or Axis powers, or indeed both. There are two levels of command, Commander-in-Chief and Air Fleet Commander. There are three fleet Commanders on each side, giving a total of eight positions which can be occupied either by the human players or computer control.

Your objective, as in any way is to cause maximum damage to the enemy whilst sustaining minimum casualties. To do that, you must give orders, mobilise squadrons, select targets and assign priorities.

Exactly what you have to do depends on which position in the command structure you currently occupy. The C in C for example, makes strategic decisions at 00.00 and 12.00 in every 24 hour period, then sits back and watches the outcome. In the meantime it's up to the Fleet Commanders to interpret and carry out those orders.

It really is impossible to go into any amount of detail in describing a game of this scope. The manuals alone run to over 40 pages. What is obvious from even limited experience of playing the game and the documentation is that this is probably one of the most extensive and accurate World War II simulations you are likely to find. The attention to detail is incredible and I can't imagine anyone becoming so familiar with it that they would lose interest.

Ken McMahon

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