Cohort 1: Fighting for Rome logo

Wiederholungstäter bestraft man ja deshalb besonders streng, weil sie durch ihr unbekümmertes Weiterfreveln mangelnde Einsichtsfähigkeit bewiesen haben. Hier steht nun so ein Fall zur Verhandlung an, und zwar ein ungewöhnlich schwerer!

Im Oktoberheft des vergangenen Jahres hatte Impressions für das herausbringen des strategischen Totalreinfalls "Rorke's Drift" ein Gesamturteil von 21% kassiert. Anscheinend völlig unbeeindruckt von dieser (eigentlich viel zu milden) Bestrafung, haben die angeklagten Programmierer jetzt dasselbe Delikt nochmal begangen!

Lediglich einige Modalitäten bei der Tatausführung wurden verändert: So trägt das fragliche Spiel jetzt den Title "Cohort" und man hat das Geschehen in die Zeit um Christi Geburt (200 vor bis 200 nach) verlegt.

Desweiteren kann man nun Römerkohorten statt britischer Kolonialistentruppen durch die feindverseuchte Gegend jagen, es gibt vier Szenarios, acht fixfertig aufgestellte Armeen und die Möglichkeit, seine Kampfeinheiten selbst zusammenzustricken.

Aber im übrigen liegt der Fall genauso wie bei "Rorke's Drift": Das gleiche Schlachtsystem (wobei allerdings nicht mehr unbedingt jeder Mann einzeln befehligt werden muß), die gleiche katastrophale Mausabfrage, das gleiche Ruckelscrolling und ähnlich bescheidene Grafik.

Die permanenten Programmabstürze haben nun gelegentlichen Ladeproblemen und Gurumeldungen Platz gemacht. Strafverschärfend kommt hinzu, daß der Sound sogar noch schlechter geworden ist - und vor allem, daß die Tater sich erdreisten, für ihr Machwerk glatte 10,- DM mehr zu verlangen als für den greulichen Vorgänger. Urteil: 19% bei Dunkelhaft! (mm)

Cohort 1: Fighting for Rome logo

Anyone into battle sims will probably remember Rorke's Drift. Cohort uses an improved version of the same gaming system, but takes a step back in time to the days of Imperial Rome. Here two opposing armies face each other across one of four Fields Of Honour. There are seven unit types for you to muck around with - light, medium and heavy infantry, light, medium and heavy cavalry and archers - and you can choose to either use a preset selection or compose your army of up to 16 units.

What sets Cohort (and Rorke's Drift) apart from the majority of wargames is the way that the game has been designed. Cohort's characters are cute, fully animated people who walk, run, charge and fight at your command. The combat arena is many bigger than the screen and you can either scroll around under mouse control or jump to a specific location using the full-screen map.

While it was an interesting way of doing things, Rorke's Drift had some rough edges - it is nice to see that things have been improved upon here. The icon control system is much better for a start - things are clearer, and you can now move units as a single group and group them in formations. However, it is still too complicated for its own good - actions such as attempting to regroup a unit in battle often have hilarious rather than strategic effect, as the legionnaires jostle with each other to get past. And although the manual talks about the different tactics that the Roman legions used against enemies such as barbarian, Macedonian and Carthaginian armies, you never get to see them - your computer opponents are always just another bunch of Romans.

Although the game has its flaws, Cohort has a lot of immediate appeal. I was locked into it for a couple of days before its attraction started to fade. The control system is still not all its cracked up to be and silly anomalies (such as the cavalry sound effects still working when there are no horses on the field) take their toll.

Cohort 1: Fighting for Rome logo

Worshippers of Ben Hur and Spartacus will want to don their togas and play at being dictators of the ancient world. Cohort - Fighting For Rome comes from Impressions, and is the follow up to Rorke's Drift, repeating the formula of a 'miniature-style' computer war game.

The Roman Army was one of the most famed and feared military organisations. Even today, war strategies used by the Caesars are still studied. Cohort carries on that tradition by fighting for the vain glory of Rome. Maintaining the Pax Romana, or Roman Peace, will be a very challenging experience, for during that period, the Romans were almost continuously at war!

And so, once more unto the breach, dear friends, and into battle. The impressive sounds of armed combat include the clanking swords and the cries of the dying. Choose your army with care from a selection of infantry, archers and cavalry. Do not look for Michelangelo to have designed the graphics. The soldiers are cartoon-style, cuddly characters and representations of the background are fairly basic.

Clicking on the map icon will bring up the strategic map. Use it to scheme away at cunning tactics. The Unit Command Panel facilitates such orders as moving troops at a march, run, or most exciting of all - charge!

Even in the best of battles, disarray and confusion can occur in the ranks. The troop formation command will regroup troops to recommence a skirmish. Communicating with the forces is important and unless you have ESP, the Unit Command panel will keep you informed of attack and defence strength, missile power and morale. Keeping chins held high is not just cosmetic: the lower morale is, the more likely that the hard men of Rome will pick up their skirts and flee!

Statistics are always important to a general. Clicking on the red cross icon will bring up the statistics screen which enumerates the routed and dead for each of the armies. Do not waste time playing Florence Nightingale, but count your losses and plan a quick attack. Be daring!

Cohort is a good place for newcomers to lock horns with war strategy games. It is fairly easy to pick up and become involved in detailed attacks to outwit the opposition. That said, Cohort is not in the same league as other recent Roman war games such as EA's Centurion. The appeal of Cohort lies in it being basic and accessible. Perhaps of greater importance, the history pamphlet will enable you to amaze (or bore) your friends with the horrors of the Pyrrhic wars.


The emperor Gaius, better known as Caligula, must rate, even by Roman standards, as one of the most bizarre rulers. As a child, he dressed up as a miniature Roman general, and was given the nickname of Caligula, which means 'little boots', by Roman troops. Unfortunately, their affection did not last, as he was assassinated by a member of his elite bodyguard, the Praetorians.

Caligula believed himself to be a god and therefore did not wage war with mere mortals. He picked a quarrel with Neptune, the sea god, and carried out a famous sea battle with the maritime deity. The emperor at length judged that he had won and triumphantly brought back the spoils of war to Rome. They included sea shells, fish, and gravel from the bottom of the sea...

Cohort 1: Fighting for Rome logo

As the only person in the office who can conjugate the Latin verb 'Amputare' (to amputate) in all its forms, Lord Paul Lakin was the obvious choice to review Impressions' new Roman romp, Cohort.

If you were told to 'present pilum' or 'form a tortoise', would you think: a) my God, what will these perverts think of next; b) this is definitely the last time I go country dancing; or c) golly, I seem to have been mysteriously transported back to the Roman army circa 57 BC.

If your answer to this question is c) then you could well be interested in the new strategy game from Impressions, the people who brought you Rorke's Drift. If your answer was either a) or b) you may still be interested. Take it from me, Cohort is a lot more fun than country dancing.

Cohort follows in the tradition of Rorke's Drift, being an attractive war game. Each unit (comprising 100 men) is represented by a small figure not dissimilar to the old toy soldiers you used to catch lead poisoning off. Your soldiers fight on one of four battlefields: Open Field, The Bridge, Cliff Defence and Hill Terrain.

Once you've selected the terrain, you need to select your troops. You can decide the composition of your army by either selecting one of the pre-defined armies, putting together your own or going for random generation. Having done the same for the computer's army it's time to get down to the nitty gritty - or rather the stabby stabby.

Units can be commanded as groups or individually and can be made to move or charge to certain designated points on the battlefield or continuously in one direction until they run out of battlefield. Combat is automatic when opposing soldiers meet. Groups can also form up intro impressive military formations such as squares or lines two ranks deep. You can stop the action at any time during the battle to view the battlefield and check on casualties.

Action also stops whenever you wish to give new orders to a unit. Anything else... oh, yes - the object of the game is to kill all the enemy troops. Easy-peasy, eh?

Amiga reviewPaul: My life has been full of disappointments. One of the most painful was the arrival of Impressions' Rorke's Drift. It sounded such a good idea and looked really nice, yet it was frustratingly flawed. Happily Cohort is a considerable improvement on the same theme. The graphics are as good as those in Rorke's Drift but the control system is much easier to get to grips with. It still has a few problems, though - you can only give precise orders over one screen's-worth of terrain.

If you want a unit to go further you have to send it off in a straight line until it gets into the right sector and then give more precise orders. Selecting the unit to which you wish to give commands could also be made easier.

I was somewhat baffled when playing the game by the fact that, although the two sides are ostensibly red and blue, the blue heavy infantry were wearing red. They might have been traitors, they might have been part of some cunning plot that my secret service had to tell me about.

This apart, Cohort is very effective and it doesn't take too long to get to grips with the ins and outs of the control system. The need for continual involvement heightens the excitement. You may have the battle by the scruff of the neck but if you stop concentrating for a few minutes things will swing against you, requiring new orders, new tactics and a new hair transplant to regain the initiative.

The idea behind both Rorke's Drift and Cohort is excellent. The old skirmish wargames were always great fun and prime material for computer conversion. Impressions' first effort was a bit disappointing, but Cohort is a lot better. In the words of the great Bruce Forsyth it's a "Good game, good game". I think they're on the verge of producing an excellent one.