Waterloo (PSS) Review | ST Format - Everygamegoing

ST Format


Waterloo
By PSS
Atari ST

 
Published in ST Format #1

Waterloo

Could you have rewritten history by changing the outcome of that historic battle at Waterloo? PSS have released their latest war game which offers you the chance to replay the battle between Napoleon and Wellington which took place back in 1815. The troops under your command closely resemble those who actually took part in the battle.

Inevitably any game like this is going to be compared to Borodino - Atari's classic wargame - and one of the first things to strike you is the astonishing similarity between the two. This is hardly surprising when you learn that both games were written by the same programmer, Dr. Peter Turcan.

This type of strategy game can usually be split into two categories - simplistic, frivolous affairs which aren't meant to be taken seriously and dedicated, accurate games which have been lovingly recreated to be as realistic as possible. Waterloo definitely falls into this latter category, being a serious attempt at recreating history.

You take on the role of commander-in-chief - either Napoleon or Wellington. This enviable position means that you do not move your troops around the battlefield like chess pieces but instead issue orders to your corps commanders who in turn issue their orders to the generals. These commands are then passed down the line until they reach the relevant troops. It's possible that an order may not even get to the troops if a rider is killed somewhere along the route. The advantage of this approach is that realism is sustained at every step - that is, the whole thing can become a complicated mess just like real war.

The battle lasts from 11.30am until 9.30pm with up to eight orders issued per turn, representing 15 minutes of real time. The orders can vary from simple commands such as 'Lobau give support to Reille', in which case Lobau is left to decide how best to give his support, right up to something more specific like: 'Lobau form a defence line from two miles North of Frichermont linking with D'Erlon to the west flank'. It takes some time to get to grips with the way to go about giving orders, but there's an option to watch the computer playing itself, so you soon pick it up.

Waterloo can be played either as a one- or two-player game with options to view the orders from both sides as they are made or go for the more realistic approach by playing so that you see nothing your commander-in-chief would not have seen.

Effects

The views on screen are shown exactly as they would have appeared had you been at the battle so when playing the game you are forced to make decisions based on the scene in front instead of an overall map, so realism is an important factor. Viewpoints can be changed.

Screen updating is fairly slow but this is unimportant in this type of strategy game.

Conclusion

Waterloo is surprisingly easy to get to grips with even for someone unused to war games. Options to replay the war based on the original historical orders or by going for your own, mean that you're going to be playing Waterloo for months before it'll become boring. Quite simply, Waterloo is brilliant.

Mark Higham

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