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Review by
Sean Masterson


Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Field of Fire
1984 Strategic Simulations Inc.
Programmed by Brian Fitzgerald
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the twelfth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: March 13th, 1986).

US Gold/SSI, disk only, keys and joystick with keys

This is a markedly different offering from the other SSI wargames reviewed of late. Rather than being a large-scale strategy game, it relies heavily on a tactical approach, being a series of scenarios based on the activities of Easy Company of the First Infantry Division in WW II. You take the role of company commander and issue orders to six man fire teams in any of eight small scale engagements. Apart from the eight scenarios being individually playable, they may he combined chronologically to become a campaign game.

The rules book is one of the best I've ever encountered. Apart from the mechanics of the game being explained in crisp and coherent detail, profiles of the various fire team leaders are given to enable you to judge their likely performance in combat, a clever and interesting feature. Also, historical notes are provided with 'Night of St Anne', an account of a post Normandy engagement by a company commander. It highlights excellently the kind of difficulties troops encounter in close quarter combat. Designer's notes are also included along with suggested strategies for each of the scenarios involved.

It's important to get your men to cover as soon
as possible or casualties will start to mount.

One of the first things to strike you about this game is the detail and flexibility. Units have weapons ranging from knives to mortars (each side having their own specific weaponry). Units are displayed to show whether they are a mortar crew, machine gun crew, or whatever, and the differing effects of the weapons used are accurately taken into account. Tanks and anti-tank weaponry are also dealt with. American forces may use forward observers and engineers, but these have limited use depending on the scenario.

The order phases are designed in such a way that the player may take advantage of a lucky break almost immediately, adding pace and realism to the extent of control available to a commander in such a tight situation. The screen design too, is very attractively designed. A redefined character set lends an authentic atmosphere to the game but, more importantly, the gameplay is very user friendly. Messages constantly appear to tell you which units may be ordered and tell you explicitly when something cannot be done. The clarity of the display and cursor control make map observations and unit recognition a very easily assimilated procedure. As cursor control itself is handled by a joystick, even the total novice can get to grips with the game before becoming bored or frustrated with overly complex turn processing.

Because the campaign game defaults to the second level of complexity (and because I only have a limited lime to prepare these reviews), I only played three of the scenarios, all of which were played at the beginner's level. At first, I thought victory was easily in my grasp, but the computer plays the Axis forces well and I found my most powerful units being cut to shreds before they had been put to really good use. Retiring to read the designer's notes and strategy hints (which I should have done in the first place), I tentatively prepared for the next game. Moving to the second scenario, Forever Road, and taking note of the advice from the book, I managed to gain victory at a cost. In the third scenario, I was well and truly hammered, but this seemed to be because of a bad distribution of forces.


SSI have a great game with Field of Fire. It serves as an excellent game for beginners and experts alike. The presentation is reminiscent of City Fight, the old conventional wargame from the sadly defunct Simulations Publications Inc. The flexibility, realism and complexity of the scenarios will provide the player with many months of rewarding gaming.


Presentation 92%


Graphics 92%
Very atmospheric.

Instructions 97%
Of the highest order.

Authenticity 94%
Very accurate play.

Playability 97%
The demanding scenarios provide rewarding games.

Overall 96%
Simply superb . . .



Can anybody rip the SID tune out of this one?

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (27 Apr 2004)

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