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I haven't played many war games or simulations, so my approach was one of a complete novice. At first I didn't know what was going on - detailed study of the instructions is essential. 'Well here goes nothing,' I thought, and sent my tanks off into battle. After a few incoherent messages, my elite unit was no more. Hmmm! Back to the instructions once more. My second attempt was little better, but there is certainly plenty of game variation and loads of challenge if you're prepared to spend time getting to grips with the game.
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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!
Combat Leader
1982 Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Programmed by David Hille
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the first issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (May 1985).
 

COMBAT LEADER
US Gold, 14.95 cass and disk, keyboard only


O Large, absorbing war game packed with detail


This war game presents you with a large rulebook with small type, which at first sight may discourage you. But once you get as far as playing the novice game, though, you'll soon find that things aren't as complicated as they seem.

The game is played on a green battlefield covering three screens. On this landscape are various features like trees, hills, depressions and rocks, and, once you start playing, your forces.

The size and type of your forces depends on which of the seven possible game plans you have chosen; these are novice, intermediate, build your own game, attack enemy, seize and hold position, mobile defence and reconnaissance. Each of these scenarios gives you a different task and strategies with which to complete it.

Part of the terrain showing a hill with clumps of trees
to the south. Sparse graphics, interesting game.

The novice game fives you a platoon of five tanks, and you must engage and destroy a platoon of enemy tanks. To move the platoon around you use the joystick and keys: the joystick to position a cursor and the G key to tell your tanks to go to it.

Other commands allow you to target your guns, fire them, hurry movement, provide smokescreen, use infantry and patrols and also get reports on the enemy forces. These commands can be issued to a number of units - besides the tanks, you may have carriers, scouts, patrols and various squads.

Each unit can be controlled individually while the others are computer controlled, or you can try and control the whole lot at once. Your opponent is always the computer and, believe me, it is a very skilful and tenacious fighter.

BW
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The presentation on this game is highly commendable. The extensive range of options and extremely comprehensive instructions made it easier to get into than I had imagined. I'm not a great fan of war games, but I soon found myself enjoying

this one. Setting up your own battlefields was time-consuming, but worth doing. Definitely good for war-gamers and maybe there's even something here for sceptics such as me.
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HOW TO FIX A BATTLE

The 'build your own game' option allows you to set up a battlefield and two sets of forces yourself. Firstly, you can determine the type of terrain that will exist, giving heavy cover or none at all.

You then decide the number and power of the two sides by choosing their speed, armour, and fire ratings. This means you can get your own back on the computer by setting up a scenario in which it doesn't stand a chance!

You can also select the overall pace of the game, and your level of leadership from squad to company commander -- if you wish you could command just a single squadron, leaving the rest of the battle to the computer.

Another interesting option to go for is 'panic under fire' which will cause a unit under heavy fire to disobey your orders and turn and run. This cowardly choice can save a lot of lives if you don't have time to order individual retreats -- but it can also be mighty inconvenient in the thick of a battle.
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I enjoyed this war game. Although it won't appeal to hyperactive blasters, it is an excellent alternative for those who like more strategy in their games. The action demands full concentration and you always have a

tough fight from the computer whatever the odds against it. The single-colour display is disappointing but is made up for by the strategy and thoroughness of the program.
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PRESENTATION
ORIGINALITY
88% Excellent background instructions and game options in a slick package.
68%
Real-time action unusual in war games.
GRAPHICS
HOOKABILITY
26% Awful display makes action unclear.
43%
Less complicated than most but still tough.
SOUND
LASTABILITY
29% Explosions, rumblings and faint machine gun chatter.
76%
Plenty of options and a tough computer enemy.
VALUE FOR MONEY
63% Expensive even for this slick package.

 

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (17 May 2001)
SID freshly ripped by Warren Pilkington!

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