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I was sceptical at first about a real-time war game, but after a couple of plays I was familiar with the landscape and action so that it wasn't much of a panic. Playing the Allies, you are constantly under pressure until near the finish, and fighting this rear guard action appealed to my spirit of the underdog -- particularly satisfying when you win.

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Fast and furious war simulation, unlike the normal slower-paced ones. This is the sort of war game you can't leave for more than two seconds, and you have to concentrate non-stop. Nice, big, clear graphics and uncluttered, simple instructions make this a good one for novices.

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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!
The Bulge
1985 MC Lothlorien
Programmed by ?
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the third issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (July 1985).
 

THE BULGE
Argus Press/Lothlorien, 9.99 cass, joystick or keys


O Real-time war game set in World War 2

This is another of the new genre of war games that dispense with the complicated charts and figures and become user friendly.

It's a re-creation of the second world war battle of the Bulge, in which the Germans made their last ditch effort to smash the Allied advance on the Western front. All the action takes place in real time -- in other words, the situation is being updated all the time; the computer doesn't stop while you're thinking about your moves.

It's your responsibility to control all the Allied or German forces. The playing area is four screens long and three high. On it are shown both sides' forces, the terrain, and towns. The allies have three types of armoured units and two types of infantry, while the Germans have Panzer units, infantry, motorised infantry, and moving and stationary artillery.

The fighting and moving potential of all of these is determined by the terrain, infantry being best in towns and armour on open ground.

You start with most forces on the east of the map and the Germans have a large superiority. Each unit has a strength ratting, which goes down in engagements and cannot be replenished. You engage enemy units by being adjacent to them and if the strength of either reaches zero it is wiped out.

Unit movements can be ordered using a cursor, but these moves are limited by the type of terrain and unit involved -- some may take several 'days' to complete.

The game starts on December 16, 1944 and continues till January 3, 1945. On each new day you are informed of the weather conditions, which affect movement and Allied aircraft, and whether reinforcements are arriving. If the weather's clear, Allied aircraft will reduce the supplies reaching German units.

You can use the cursor to investigate the current status of enemy units and towns. Towns are worth points if in your possession, some more than others, as are your units still fighting. The points score on January 3rd will determine who has achieved or claimed a victory.

There is a pause command to give you time to think and a two-player option where both sides plan moves at the start of the day which are then enacted. The computer is a tough opponent, but you may find a human one less predictable.

A global map allows you to view the whole battle area and there is also a save option. At the end of each battle you can examine the situation and see just where you might have improved your strategy.

BW
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Battleground Terrain

MOUNTAINS/HILLS: appear in large numbers on the north-east of the map and severely hamper movement of all units.

FORESTS: restrict movement of armour and appear as single trees.

RIVERS: also restrict armour movement unless crossed at a town with a bridge.

OPEN GROUND: units can move very quickly and breakouts are much easier.

TOWNS: can be of several different types and the larger ones have greater points' values when possessed.
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PRESENTATION
ORIGINALITY
76% Historical background in the instructions, options on colours, 1 or 2 players.
47%
The battle of the Bulge has been done before and gameplay isn't that new.
GRAPHICS
HOOKABILITY
63% Good landscape and unit characters.
68%
Quite absorbing as you familiarise yourself with the battle.
SOUND
LASTABILITY
12% Three opening drum beats and an update noise.
65%
Once you've had a major victory the attraction may fade.
VALUE FOR MONEY
63% Great sussing out the battle plan but once cracked may pall.

 

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (11 December 2001)
Sid freshly ripped by Warren Pilkington
(added on 20 Dec 2001)
There was no screenshot in the original review.

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