Campaign 2 logo

You're in the Army now, you're not behind a plough, you'll never get rich from digging a ditch, you're in the Army now. Oh, and you can be in the Navy and Air Force too.

Mention the word war to me and it sends a shiver running down my bone of my slightly custard flavoured spine. That's not to say I'm a coward, you understand. It's just that the thought of lying around in excruciating pain in some mud-swamped field waiting for medics to relocate my arms and legs fails to exhilarate me. But, that's not being a coward, that's just plain sensible.

I don't think I'm alone in this fear of bullets, missiles and other weapons that rip dirty great big holes in you. On a personal level the idea of enlisting into our armed services never even surfaced in this reviewer's head.

No amount of advertising could convince me that all you did all today was abseil, jetski, paraglide, go out with the lads and meet sumptuous females. Whatever the reasons many of use have for not enlisting in our particular country's armed services, it does not necessarily reflect a lack of interest in the history and strategy of warfare.

Fortunately, with the advent of the computer age we can now involve ourselves in both the action and strategy of warfare from any given period of history. As computers have become more advanced and graphically capable, so the closer to reality they have become.

So, following on from the successful Campaign 1939-1945, comes the release of Campaign 2. The most immediate change, which one notices immediately, is the fact that Campaign 2 covers all the main conflicts of the last 50 years.

This is a vast improvement on the original scenarios, as now you can play general in Vietnam or come bang up to date and employ the technology used in the Gulf War. Obviously to offer 50 years of conflict the software includes all the relevant battle maps and weaponry necessary to vei the realism required. In fact over a 100 new 3D images have been implemented to give you such weapon systems as guided missiles, fixed and mobile sited rockets and homing missiles.

Another major implementation is the use of aerial forces. You now hage the option of using a full range of helicopters, which adds both to the amount of playability at your disposal and the overall strategy angle of the product.

The user interface is very similar to its older brother, and involves a main playing map and a set of icons from which you control your forces and asses the strategies.

Before you endeavour to take on the might of the Egyptian army in the Six Day War or become the Israeli commandos in the Yom Kippur War, you have the opportunity to edit the map. Here you can alter any aspect of the terrain and add or subtract other landmarks such as roads and buildings. Once all the alterations have bee completed, battle can commence.

Due to such things as terrain, location and availability of forces, Campaign relies heavily on strategy. Indeed, one slight miscalculation on your part could mean the difference between annihilation, success or even missing the show altogether.

Once the rival factions meet you are asked if you want to play the battle automatically or manually. If you select to battle using manual control, then you can click through your forces until you are riding in one of your vehicles.

Control can be as total or as partial as you wish, with the object being to locate potential targets and destroy them. Once a friendly vehicles has been destroyed then play is switched to the next one available. However, poor deployment could mean you are either stranded miles from any friendly units or right in the thick of enemy firepower.

Campaign 2 also includes an extensive database of military hardware and equipment, all of which is at your fingertips. This information can be used to your direct advantage when involved in conflicts, especially when engaging opposition who control superior forces.

Campaign 2 is a fairly well balanced mixture of 3D arcade style shooting blended with a strong strategy approach. While I enjoyed the battle simulations and enjoyed controlling the various tanks, I can see strategy purists being put off by the arcade elements.

However, if you're a fairly well balanced human being I envisage that there'll be more than enough of both interest and of visual stimulation to keep you occupied.

Campaign 2
  1. = Save Game
  2. = Load Game
  3. = Adjust Heights
  4. = Map Information
  5. = Grass
  6. = Marsh
  7. = Rivers & Lakes
  8. = Forest
  9. = Villages/Suburbs
  10. = Towns
  11. = Cities
  12. = Un-metalled Roads
  13. = Place Names
  14. = Small Rivers
  15. = Large Rivers
  16. = Metalled Roads
  17. = Borders
  18. = Minefields
  19. = Objectives
  20. = Trashcan
  21. = Select Map Items/Map Zoom
  22. = Sound
  23. = Edit Forces

Campaign 2 logo

This is a mega rollercoaster of a war game, you can tell it is because it comes complete with tanks, guns, and a serious selection of funny sumbols on maps.

War is hell. Lots of running about, shouting and banging - very vulgar, not to say dangerous. Playing war games seems like a more sensible idea. Campaign II is the sequel to the original Campaign, but instead of being set in WW2 it covers post war confrontations. Opening the large box reveals why it's so heavy. There is a book of photos and a thick book detailing all the vehicles and helicopters used in the game, the manual itself is a reasonable size and an easy read, phew!

Campaign II pits the blue force against the red one in a series of wars ranging from the Korean to the Gulf. It's a strange mix of 3D action and full-blown strategy affair. You can play it at many levels; get your hands dirty driving tanks on the battlefield or stick at being the general and moving markers around on the map.

The initial reaction to the mass of icons and maps is to start panicking. But a quick read of the mercifully good manual should have you up and running quickly. Right clicking on any of the icons brings up a text box to tell you what the icon does. Every game with lots of icons should have this feature, it saves a lot of references to the manual.

There are 14 training maps on which to hone your skills before you embark on the six maps representing real wars: Korea, The Six Day War, Yom Kippur, Vietnam, Iran-Iraq and the Kuwait punch-up.

These are huge efforts with dozens of units to command. The action starts at the campaign map where you direct the units which vary from a platoon to a full army. Along with the mix of tanks, you have attack helicopters, artillery, homing missiles and motorised infantry to play with - 152 vehicles in all.

When two opposing units come within fighting range, the action switches to the battle map where up to 16 vehicles from each side battle it out. You can take command of a platoon leader and enter the 3D section, or you can command things from the battle map.

If it takes your fancy you can miss out the battles and opt for your Amiga to figure out the results while you stick to strategic operations. This is often the best option because the Amiga plays your hand well.

Sound and vision
The 3D graphics are not at all, each tank is instantly recognisable and there is lots of detail to the trees and buildings. You can adjust the level of 3D detail to help speed things up, which it needs.

On an A600 things move slowly and jerkily, on an A4000 it's almost too fast to play properly as tanks zoom around like sports cars. The sound is initially interesting with clanks, explosions, electric motors and machine guns, but after half an hour it becomes a tad monotonous.

The sound suffers from running on slower machines, on an A4000 it's a constant barrage of samples, but on an A600 it's intermittent and annoying because the engine noise stops and starts as each frame is updated. It's a pity you can't adjust the sound effects as you can the graphics. At least you can turn them off.

In the 3D battles the vehicles and helicopters are controlled by keyboard or in combination with a joystick. The keyboard is best once you have learned the commands. You have individual control of tank tracks, turrets including gun elevation and all weapon systems.

You view your chap from above and behind, which can make accurate aiming difficult. The turrets move independently and you can lock the view to follow the turret instead of the hull. It's easy to play but difficult to do well. If you get stuck behind an obstacle that you can't see, you have to back away until you can see it and go round it.

The artificial intelligence used in the 3D sections is slightly dodgy. Platoons of tanks run into each other and get stuck, and units make what seem to be suicidal attacks. You need to keep a tight reign on your units because they are keen on exposing their flanks to enemy tanks!

A game of two halves
The two halves of Campaign II sit uncomfortably together. The strategy game is eminently playable and respectably realistic, if over simple in parts. You can opt to play the whole game in this mode if you are a more serious wargamer. The 3D section is good fun, but it detracts from the realism of the rest of the game. The battles are fought at an unrealistically close range between units with some weird things going on. The two don't quite go together.

The game sets itself a large target of simulating wars over a 50 year period from army level down to controlling individual tanks. Winning the battles takes practice and skill, especially if you are out-numbered or outgunned. It's not a game you can master quickly, although a quick burst of 3D tank battle is fun.

The game proper is for dedicated wargamers, who will love it and no doubt pick holes in it at the same time. If you see the battles as more representational rather than stunningly accurate, it helps. Campaign II deserves to collect a series of dedicated followers. It's a brave effort which aims for excellence but doesn't make it past good.

Despite Campaign II's complexity, it's fairly easy to get the hostilities rolling along. The simulation of real wars takes ages to finish, with hundreds of battles. Each campaign starts by loading in one of the maps, or designing your own. Don't expect to jump in and win a major war easily, you need tactics, strategy and planning. Damn that's my chances scuppered!

Campaign 2
1. The campaign map. From here you direct your units about the map of the entire war. This is 'Nam 1962, the start of nasty and protracted war. Cue Doors music. Can you do any better than the Americans did? When two units move within battle range the screen switches to...

Campaign 2
2. The Battle screen. Up to 16 of your vehicles can take part in the battle at once. you command each of the platoons in turn, giving them destinations. They fight on automatic, firing at anything within range. If you want to take direct control you can switch to...

Campaign 2
3. The 3D view of the battlefield. You can take direct control of the platoon leader and charge about a bit before you get blasted to bits. Recklessness is risky. You can drive up really close and blast things to bits, but you have to be quick. The realism goes a bit astray at this point.

Campaign 2
4. When the dust settles you are shown the results of the clash. The enemy retreats pretty sharpish if you outnumber them. It pays to have integrated units if you can. AFV's without anti-aircraft support caught in the open by attack helicopters are soon shot to pieces.

Campaign 2 logo

Jetzt rollen sie wieder: Nach einer Datadisk und der ählich aufgebauten Wüstenei "War in the Gulf" legt Empire nun den richtigen Nachfolger zur actionbetonten Panzersimulation vor!

Den Anlaß für das enrute Anrollen der Raupenketten bildet ein reichlich makaberes Jubiläum: "50 Jahre globaler Konflikte seit dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges" verkündet die Packungswerbung etwas voreilig. Im Spiel selbst geht es gottlob wesentlich seriöser zu, wenn auch kaum friedlicher...

Wie vom Vorgänger gewohnt, muß man seine Panzerzüge in Echtzeit durchs Gelände manövrieren, die feindlichen Einheiten ausfindig machen und sie mit vereinten Streitkräften zerbröseln. Man kann dabei etweder die westliche oder die östliche Seite übernehmen, die übriggebliebene schnappt sich der Rechner. Neben 14 übungsszenarien stehen sechs frei anwählbare historische Landkriege von der Koreakrise bis zum Golfkrieg bereit, dazu gibt es noch einen Editor für individuelle Wohnzimmerschlachten.

Sobald das mit fetziger Musik unterlegte Intro abgelaufen ist, wird man zum Herrn über eine je nach Szenario unterschiedlich große Blecharmada. Sie rekrutiert sich aus einem Sortiment von 152 verschiedenen Panzern, Lkws, Geschützen und Divisionen zusammengefaßt sind. Auf der scroll- und zoombaren Hauptkarte werden die als Vierecke dargestellten Truppenverbände mit Hilfe der Icons am rechten Bildrand in eine ordentliche Formation gebracht und durch Wälder, Dörfer und Flüsse zu ihren Zielpunkten gelotst.

Trifft eine solche Gruppe auf einen feindlichen Verband, wechselt der Rechner automatisch in den Kampfmodus. Wenn man die Schlacht nun dem Computer überläßt, wird das Endergebnis innerhalb von Sekunden mitgeteilt.

Spannender ist es natürlich, sich selbst in einen der Stick-/Tastatur-gesteuerten Tanks zu setzen, um dort den Schützen und/oder Fahrer zu mimen. Unterstützt von Radar und Kompaß sucht man dann die soft scrollende, aber detailarme und grünstichtige 3D-Vektorlandschaft nach Kanonenfutter ab - aufgespürte Gegner werden mit dem Bordgeschütz und diversen Raketen bearbeitet.

Damit man auch den rechnergesteuerten Blechkollegen den rechten Weg weisen kann, läßt sich jederzet eine Übersichtskarte auf den Screen holen, außerdem ist die Spielgeschwindigkeit stufenlos regulierbar. Bei manchen Missionen darf man zudem Minenfelder legen sowie Infanterie-, Artillerie- oder Luftunterstützung anfordern.

Einen Orden verdient haben sich die gehorsame Steuerung und das gelungene Motorengebrumm; im übrigen ist die Präsentation jedoch eher mäßig - die Explosionen und Landschaftsdetails bei "War in the Gulf" waren da weit eindrucksvoller.

Gegenüber dem ersten Teil hat sich lediglich der Umfang der Missionen und des nun bergeweise vorhandenen Statistikmaterials erhöht, vom spielerischen her sind die Unterschied dagegen denkbar gering. Was zu einem leider viel zu häufig gehörten Fazit führt: Eine Datadisk wäre die ehrlichere Lösing gewesen. (md)

Campaign 2 logo

What we have here is one of the biggest disappointments I've had since I joined the mag. Not a particularly good sentence to start a two page review, since you can imagine what's going to follow, but I'm going to have to spare the normal wibble because Campaign was such a popular game, and if I give this one a hard time without justifying myself, I'm going to get more than the usual number of death threats in the post.

Okay, two facts to start off with. One - I've never played the original Campaign, so you're not going to get any comparisons, and two - the prospect of playing an in-depth, total war, no-hold barred wargame almost gave me nosebleeds of joy. I love wargames and so Expected to love this.

Campaign 2's sub-heading is '50 Years of Global Conflict' which tells you exactly what it's all about. Campaign covered WW2 and this takes of from there, covering conflicts in the post-War years.

The game comes on two disks, one of which has a pretty intro sequence while the game's on the other one, along with all manner of maps and scenarios. These consist of 14 training maps and six real war maps.

The training missions progressively introduce you to different aspects of the game, so you start with armoured units on open spaces, progress through artillery and air support, and then fight with realistic scenery. The real war maps plonk you in control of entire armies from the Korean War of the 50s through the Israeli Six Day and Yom Kippur wars, Vietnam, the long running Iran/Iraq war and finally the Liberation of Kuwait.

Oddly enough, you can only play the 'good guys' (i.e. the Western backed forces) which instantly slashes the game's shelf life by 50 percent. It's the first of a lenghty catalogue of mistakes.

The tactical side is played on a map screen (natch) and when I first started playing, I phoned up Empire to tell them that I'd got a dodgy copy. Every time the screen updated, all the rounded corners of the scenery were replaced by blocky, jagged edges. I complained about this, and they told me that this is perfectly normal and that it speeds up the update time. Oh dear.

I was looking forward to a battle simply as a break

Another appalling feature is that you're informed that the enemy have been spotted, but they don't appear on the map. I found out that the enemy forces only appear when you zoom in on certain areas of the map, and don't appear at all when you're looking at the overall map. What's going on?

Once you've manoeuvred a unit close to the enemy, you get the option of moving in to engage or tho shell them from a distance. The devastating effect of concentrated and accurate artillery fir is one of the most crucial aspects of modern warfare, but this unfortunately doesn't come across at all in the game, simply because apart from a brief 'Unit is starting bombardment' message, you never get updates on it. This is odd, because the one thing the game isn't short of is update messages.

Take the Yom Kippur war as an example, you take the game off pause and the map's obscured with a message reading 'Battalion/regiment (Mechanized Infantry) Recce 3: Battalion (Armour) Spotted.'
Now this would probably be handy to know, but since you don't know which one of your 50 or so units is 'Battalion/regiment (Mechanized Infantry) Recce 3, and because the enemy unit in question isn't displayed, the information's totally useless.

As if that's not insult enough, all the units in the areas then report that they can also see enemy units, resulting in 52 (I counted) separate incomprehensible info flashes in the first two minutes of the game. And all you really need to know is where they are, which of course is the one thing you never get shown.

Assuming you're some kind of anal retentive who'd enjoy being told everything, then the run up to battle would be tremendously exciting. I'm not, and was looking forward to a battle simply as a break from the tedium of being told things while the map alternated between looking smooth and looking blocky.

A new screen comes up showing you the stats on both sides, and asks if you want to fight the battle automatically or manually. If you select automatic, then a rather dull 'You won/lost te battle' sort of message comes up, informing you how many soldiers were killed. If you select manual, then you're into the second part of the game, the real-time combat section.

This isn't actually all that bad, but at the same time it's not great either. If I wanted a tank battle sim, then I'd go for Pacific Islands every time, which to be brutally honest, kicks the hell out of this on every count but one - there are helicopters in this.

For reasons never explained (although I tend to think that the system can't handle more) you only get 16 units at any one time in the attack, even if you've got 60 tanks in a unit. The battle's then fought in real time from an overhead map view, or a first person viewpoint.

This section isn't half bad, but does run jerkily on a standard Amiga. The A1200 copes with it much better, allowing you to switch on all the detail of building and troops. Controlling both vehicle and weaponry's a bit fiddly, so I preferred to drive the tank and let the computer act as gunner, overriding the shooting at any time.

Even with tracer fire acting as a sight, I had major problems hitting targets, and reverted to ramming most enemies and blasting them point blank in a crude but effective display of courage/stupidity. The forward firing machine gun's much easier option, as it sprays a wide field of fire and kills most infantry.

It's not all tanks though, as you've got APCs and attack helicopters as well. The Armoured Personnel Carriers act as feeble tanks, but the off-loaded troops can use anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. The helicopters are most fun to, but as with all vehicles, tend to last only a short while in combat. Just like the real thing, I'd imagine.

Never once did I feel that the two sections have any relevance to have each other though, it's like you're playing two separate games, one mildly fun and the other annoyingly tedious. I wanted to place troops, move in armour and pound defences with artillery and a helicopters, but all I kept getting was information screens.

I wanted to set fiendish traps but my plans were hampered by the artificial intelligence making units wander off. I wanted to let the battles be sorted out for me, but my campaign was interrupted every 30 seconds to see whether I wanted to fight a battle or not. I wanted to like this and enjoy playing it. I did neither.

Campaign 2 logo

War may be fun to Sensible Software, but Empire take it far more seriously. So, funnily enough, does Paul Presley.

Once wars were noble things. Men were men, you didn't shoot your enemy until you could see the whites of their eyes and everyone knew when one was coming. They made advanced reservations in Poland. Then Vietnam happened and America and Russia decided to make sure they got involved in every armed conflict they could and no one would know about it until they said so (usually a message delivered by several thousand armed troops turn ing up on your doorstep).

Now, with major advances in technology, machines have taken over. You can kill an opponent by pushing a button thousands of miles away. No one see people any more, only hardware.

And that's where Empire's latest strategy game comes in. Campaign II deals with the various military machines that have come into play over the last forty years or so and lest you use them against all corners. So let me introduce you to the game properly: CU Amiga reader, this is Campaign II; Campaign II, this is CU AMIGA reader. Start mingling.

Campaign IIs main area of expertise is the strategic recreation of any land-based battle you can dream up Vietnam veterans versus British tanks? You got it. A full air artiellery of the second ninth against the best Russia currently has to offer? You got it.

Apart from the 3D combat sections (which we'll come to later), it's the campaign editor that grabs the most attention. DIY war simulators have been tried before, with varying degrees of success. Campaign II's raison d'être is that you can choose just about any land-based war machine there is (all of which are neatly laid out according to nationality in one of the game's three manuals), as well as a few helicopters that were thrown in for good measure.

Create any kind of scenery, add towns, cities even and go blast things to smithereens. You have a few samples to get going, a mere twenty or so, fourteen of which are tutorials to the game's mechanics, the other six being based on real life drama. Desert Storm is included, as is Iran vs. Iraq, Yom Kippur, The Six Day War, Korea and Vietnam.

The campaign map, the battle map and (wait for it) the 3D view form the main gaming displays. The first is the overall display of your campaign, showing all your forces, the positions of any enemy that are in visible range and the surrounding scenery.

Control is simple enough, perhaps too simple, as it causes you to feel somehow less involved than you should be. The battle map is called into play whenever two opposing forces meet for a spot of one-onone genocide. Zooming in to the actual combat field, it shows your troops in individual forms at the bottom of the screen and any enemy that can be seen at the top. The whole battle can be run from here should you tire of the 3D action. Waypoints can be set, formation orders issued and reinforcements brought into play.

The 3D section lets you go from an overall look at each skirmish to the front seat of one of the vehicles. This is the main action area of the game and although it can be pretty exciting at times, quite often you find yourself just setting the whole battle to automatic and letting the computer take car of it. It doesn't feel as though it fits with the rest of the game, as though it was stuck on to the end in order to woo the larger section of the gaming audience instead of staying married to the strategists.

Campaign II has been touting its wares as a serious strategy game. Playing the 'arcade' section merely reveals its true colours. It can 't seem to decide on which side of the fence it wants to land and as a result comes down right in the middle of it.

The definitive tanks simulation, Team Yankee showed how much thought and strategy goes into tank-based warfare. Campaign II reduces the concept to a glorified version of Battlezone.

The only other thing that lets Campaign II down is that it is so unattractive to use, - none of it is laid out very nicely. It's never immediately apparent which switch does what and the menus (or toolbars) look as if they were just thrown together at the last minute.

The result is off-putting and gives the product a very cold feeling. On the question of recommendation, I guess I would urge you to look beyond the flaws. If you treat it as an introduction to the noble art of warfare then Campaign II can be highly playable. One can but hope for a third in the series, with perhaps someone other than David Braben influencing the graphics and style and with someone like Norman Schwarzkopf influencing the strategic element. We deserve it and so does Campaign.