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-
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.