Conqueror logo Format Gold

RAINBOW ARTS £24.99 * Mouse and Keyboard

Those of you who like to keep abreast of developments in the computing world in general - and not just what is happening on the Amiga - might just remember a couple of Archimedes games that appeared a while ago: Zarch and Conqueror. Zarch has been available on the Amiga for some while under the pseudonym Virus and now here is Amiga Conqueror.

It is a tank wargame simulation for one player that comprises three games. Just like in Virus, the player has a limited view of the total game area when actually controlling a tank, but can see the whole game map simply by hitting a key. In fact, the game uses the very same landscaping routines that were first developed by David 'Elite' Braben for Virus.

Before starting a game you have to decide whether you wish to control American, German or Russian World War II tanks and who you would like to fight against - it will always be Germans vs either Russians or Americans, but never Russians vs Americans since they were allies during the war.

You also have to decide which control method you would like to use and there is where you can get a friend in on the action. To play you will have to both drive the tank and fire at enemies, so you can do both yourself or choose to let the computer (or a friend) take over one task while you concentrate on the other. For example, you can drive the tank from the keyboard and use the mouse to control the turret, or youc an use two joysticks, either to just drive and leave the firing to the computer, or use them both to drive and fire. Either way, the thing is going to be pretty tough at first.

The three games are arcade, attrition and strategy. In the arcade game you have three lives, start with the lightest tank and have to fend off wave after wave of enemy light tanks, scoring points for every tank killed. After a few kills you move on to a medium tank, as does the enemy, and if you are still alive after a few more kills you move into a heavy tanks and just keep going for as long as possible, always outnumbered by enemy heavy tanks.

The attrition game is a mix of strategy and arcade where you start with a selection of tanks (one light, two medium and one heavy) and the computer starts with an inferior selection. The idea is to fend off the enemy waves for as long as possible - once you lose a tank, it is gone for good. Obviously you only control one tank at a time directly, but you can give your other tanks orders simply by selecting them on the map screen and putting a destination cross somewhere on the map. The remote-controlled tank will then head for the cross and will either stay there or pick a new destination depending on whether you select auto or manual strategy from the map page. The last tank your position on the map screen will be the one you are controlling on the action screen.

In the strategy game you buy whichever tanks you can afford from your points (up to a maximum of 16). At first you only have a few points so you can only afford a couple of light tanks (generally, the heavier the tank the more firepower it has and consequently the more it costs). Then you place your tanks at the bottom of the playing area while the computer places his at the top. The idea of the game is to control a randomly-designated area of the map. So you must allow no enemy tanks to enter the area, for a period of one minute. Every time an enemy tank enters the area the clock stops and will only restart once the enemy tank has been destroyed or left the area.

Winning involves either holding the ground for a minute or wiping out all the opposition for that mission. Bonus points are awarded for knocking out the enemy and for complreting the mission and these points can then be spent at the start of the next mission on more, better and bigger tanks.


Everything is well animated and smooth too. The tanks are a bit blocky, but at least they look like tanks. The landscaping, although not original, works extremely well and you really get the feeling you are trundling over a real landscape. Nice touches include the track marks that gradually fade and the smoking hulls of knocked-out tanks. The sound is not so impressive being limited to some high pitched explosions and chugging engines. Looks excellent and sounds all right.


Getting to grips with the control is the first priority and once you have done that it will take you a while to learn just how to survive in a tank with inferior firepower to your enemies. After that you will be playing if for hours at a time and as often as you can.


A corking game that is very playable and surprisingly addictive. It is also very tactical at times and will appeal to everyone who likes a good blast but also likes to think they can master a situation by good tactical planning as well. A first-class game that is going to have you begging for a follow-up.

Conqueror: Photo of German Panzer III tank
The Panzerkampfwagen III (PzKpfw III) first entered production in 1936. Initially it was armed with an L/137 45 mm gun, but like most of the tanks at the time it was upgraded throughout its life and ended up with a L/75 24mm in 1942. The version used in the game is baded on the Ausf L which was equipped with an L/50 60mm anti-tank gun. At the start of the war the tank was equal to its adversaries, but it was soon left behind and even upgraded versions were unable to take on the Russian T34s and KVs.
Conqueror: Photo of American M24 Chaffee tank
The Chaffee saw extensive action during the last few months of the war and it was well liked by the man that received them as an upgrade to the M5A1. it was roomier and had distinctly better firepower 975mm gun). It was still too lightly armoured to withstand anti-tank or tank gun fire but twin Cadillac engines gave it a maximum cross-country speed of around 40 KPH which enabled it to out manoeuvre almost all German tanks, and it was expecially effective in support of infantry against enemy troops lacking anti-tank weapons.
Conqueror: Photo of Russian IS II tank
(IS = Iosef Stalin. The common translitereation 'JS' is, strictly speaking, incorrect). The first IS Iis were issued early in 1944. With a massive 122mm gun, this was the first Soviet tank to be able to take on Tigers and Panthers at long ranges and knock them out with ease. This gun offered 2.7 times more kinetic energy on impact than the 85mm originally pencilled in. Unfortunately, the two-piece round with a separate brass cartridge slowed the firing rate to about two or three a minute and only 28 rounds could be carried.

Conqueror logo

Was Spiele betrifft, sind Archimedes-User längst nicht so verwöhnt wie unsereins - kein Wunder bei der mageren Auswahl von Unterhaltungs-programmen für den 32-Bit-Rechner! Trotzdem hat es sich "Rainbow Arts" nicht nehmen lassen, diese Panzer-Simulation jetzt auch für den Amiga umzusetzen. Mal sehen, was dabei herausgekommen ist...

Drei verschiedene Spiel-varianten stehen zur Wahl: In der reinen Actionversion hat man nur einen Panzer und versucht, damit alle computergesteuerten Kettenfahrzeuge ins Jenseits zu befördern; für erledigte Gegner gibt's dann eine bessere Ausrüstung. Oder man wählt eine Mischung aus Action und Strategie; dabei kontrolliert man mehrere Tanks und kämpft gegen ständig besser werdende Computergegner.

Die schwierigste Variante ist der reine Strategiemodus: Hier spielt man (ohne Kampfeinlagen!) auf einer taktischen Karte. Egal wfür man sich auch entscheidet, es geht immer darum, ein vorgegebenes, riesiges Gebiet von allen feindlichen Panzern zu befreien.

Das Schlachtfeld ist nur in einem sehr kleinen Ausschnitt zu sehen, die Ähnlichkeit mit "Zarch" bzw. "Virus" springt sofort ins Auge. Die Steuerung ist hochkomplex, es gibt alle nur möglichen Kombinationen von Tastatur, Maus und Joystick, um damit Fahrer und schützen zu bewegen.

3D-Grafik und Sound sind nicht schlecht, aber spielerisch wird Conqueror schnell fad: Die zahlreichen Wahlmöglichkeiten können auf Dauer nicht darüber hinwegtäuschen, daß es letzten Endes immer nur darum geht, andere Panzer aufzuspüren und abzuschießen. (Carsten Borgmeier)

Conqueror logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Rainbow Arts
Price: £24.95

Looks good, doesn't it? Pretty much like the Archimedes version, and it plays like it too... Conqueror comes from the same team which produced Virus and that all-time classic, Elite. Even so, my first impressions were not too good. Uncomplicated and overly user-friendly, I thought, but then I saw the impressive rotating tank on the option screen. As in real life, tanks are not easy to control. Those in Conqueror are no exception, requiring two pairs of hands or a computer controlled team mate. Use either two joysticks to control the right and left tracks, with the computer as your gunner, or drive the tank with one joystick with an automatic gunner, or vice versa.

Conqueror features three sub games: Arcade, Attrition and Strategy. Arcade is just a matter of racing round the landscape blowing away everything which has tracks. Attrition has you in command of a platoon of five tanks, one under your direct command, the rest taking orders, as you fight a growing enemy force.

Strategy is the most complicated game. You and your computer opponent are allocated 3000 points to spend on tanks, then they are placed on the battle field. The more enemy tanks you destroy the more points you earn, so if you are doing well you can virtually build a private army. Later on you get to use spotter planes and call in artillery fire to help slow the enemy down.

The battlefield is made up of a 3D patchwork of graphics, presenting a fast, colourful landscape, containing roads, rivers, houses and trees - and that is not forgetting enemy tanks. Occasional billows of smoke erupt from ruined buildings and burnt-out tanks which help to add realism.

The enemy tanks have two favourite strategies: they sneak up to you, let off a sly shot and run away, or perch on top of a hill and catch you unawares as you roll past. At times you have to run away fast - especially when faced by a tank which has been built like the side of a house. And the computer uses faster tanks.

There are three countries involved: Germany, Russia and America. The setting is around 1944, so the tanks are not too modern, though the ten that are featured are certainly individual. I opted for commanding a German King Tiger. It is big and powerfully armed.

Conqueror is a beautiful game with nicely-coloured graphics and nicely detailed sprites. The three games give you scope - from showing off to mounting a well-thought out campaign. Ultimately the computer always comes back harder, but it is nice to hit it for six in the early stage.

A perfect romp around Europe. Locked up in twenty tons of steel you are impervious to the cuisine, and most of the opposition. Definitely a tanking success.

Conqueror logo

Since David McCandles and Paul Lakin are a tad fond of getting tanked up (on shandy you understand), we generously allowed them a peak at the latest pipeline offering in a whole platoon of low-alcohol games, Conqueror.

David Braben virtually fathered home micro vector graphics, sired space strategy games and still had enough energy to spawn some impressive explosion routines. He broke all the byelaws of keeping-revolutionary-ideas-to-yourself when he wrote Elite (a game far ahead of its time). And he has again proved his programming expertise with his latest vector graphics tank attempt, Conqueror.

The basic idea of the game is control a tank (or tanks) through three different games, revolving around a central theme of terrain warfare. The three games are:

Arcade - You have the tank under your 'control' (I say that loosely) while the computer obligingly sends waves of bigger and better and badder tanks in your direction. Killing these paves the way for upgrades on your tank. The waves are endless, the gameplay mindless and the games short.

Attrition - "A war whose outcome depends on which side can last longer," says the dictionary. You commandier a platoon of tanks: two light, one medium, one heavy (and one medium rare). Switching from one to the other and shunting your drone tanks around the map is the order of the day. The computer starts with less tanks than you but gradually evolves into a mamoth battalion (that's a 'big group of tanks' not a 'collection of prehistoric woolly elephants.).

Strategy - both the player and the computer buy tanks on a stringent budget. Gameplay is as per usual but map fire, spotter planes and secondary objectives spice things up. A white circle marks the map. Following your more tribal instincts you must claim this area for yourself by remaining in it for 60 seconds (and not giving way to any 'pale-faces' while you're there_. The landscape unfolds like a tapestry with rolling hills, valleys, houses, trees, churches and rivers giving it character and colour. You don't have a bird's-eye view but more of a slightly elevated bird-perching-on-nearby-tree view. Your tank is at the centre and the screen undulates placidly in each direction. The outskirts of the screen are cut away so there's no peeking into the distance on this one. You motion is governed by physics, which means you chug slowly up slopes and go faster down hills while inertia keeps you skidding for some time after braking.

The controls of the tank are quite tricky for the rookie. Unlike a car or other domestic vehicles, a tank runs on two individually-controllable caterpillar tracks. This means that there is one key for moving the left track forward, one for moving the right track back and so on. All pretty straightforward - but there are also two keys for swivelling the turret, two keys for raising and lowering the gun barrel and a fire button which means you're looking at several pairs of hands (and perhaps a foot too for good measure).

Luckily, however, you can juggle the controls around between mouse and keyboard and joystick. You can even engage the services of a friend to control your turret while you drive. There is also the option for a computer-controlled gunner or driver. This makes the going about 104 per cent easier and cuts the finger requirement down to about four (plus pinky).

Atari ST reviewPaul: Reviewing tanks games is easy isn't it? I mean you just sort of trundle around blasting at things a bit then rehash an old tank review while waiting the kettle to boil. Unfortunately this doesn't work for Conqueror.

The action takes place on a strange flat world (Drake was wrong after all) in which you and the computer battle for supremacy and the computer wins. Graphics are interesting but confusing too. Surely camouflage was never supposed to stop you seeing your own tank, especially when you're in it.

During the combat sequences all the tanks sort of blend into one. There are tanks sitting on each other, tanks climbing inside each other and tanks doing I don't know what to each other. (Though I've got a few nasty suspicions).

Once you've finally worked out where your tank is you've got to suss out how to control it. The controls are pretty realistic, what with independent tracks and the like but if God had meant us to play Conqueror he'd given us more limbs. Even when you reach the controls they're far from fast. By the time you've engaged first gear the computer has reduced you to chippolatas. This makes the Arcade option a bit silly.

The Attrition option, allowing you to access a map, is a bit better. Now you can see where the enemy are when they destroy you. As for the Strategy... well to be honest there's not a lot of strategy. It's more arcade with frills.

Conqueror is not without its interesting points but the whole is definitely less than the sum of the parts.

Amiga reviewMacca: The graphics are very good. The ray-traced mini tanks animate fluidly while keeping their 'scaled-down original' look and dimensions. And the trees, bushes, farmhouses and bridges are excellently deteailed and a joy to destroy or run over (you can go all out against the countryside in this game). Attention to detail is minute. I especially appreciated the way tanks scrunch across the fields, carving up muddy trails in their wake.

All the aesthetic details are there too. A khaki loading screen and suitably 'ballistic' title tune which vividly thuds out its machine gun samples and heavy guitar chords through the Amiga speaker. The note of military authentic-ism is maintained with plenty of opportunity to see 3D tanks rotating about the option screens. The instructions are well-written, generously outlining every nuance of the game, but are padded out with interesting details and specs on all terrain armoured combat vehicles ('tanks' to you).

Such a good-looking, well-researched game would be a joy to play, right?
Well, frankly, no. The problem is that most of the country is green. Fine and environmentally aware, you might say. Bad and completely annoying, I would reply. Why? Because your tank is green too - it's so flippin' well camouflaged that even you can't see what's it's doing! Your gun turret just happens to be the same shade of emerald as the grass, so you have no real idea which direction its pointing in. You have to go to ridiculous lengths roving the farmlands for a sandpit or a river just so you can see in contrast which way you're facing.

And to make matters worse your gun turret is S.L.O.W. We're talking time-taken-to-realise-the-Guildford-Four-were-innocent slow; we're talking Ali from EastEnders slow. Your enemies have time to invade, to obliterate your tank, have a quick game of tank 'tig', mash up the countryside a bit, journey to Proxima Centaur 4.2 light years away and collect some scrapings of fungus from the planet there, come back and host a bring-along-a-Sherman party at the 'mess' before your turret has even turned one 'minute' clockwise.

At one time, the screen only shows a portion of the landscape (if you're still 'enmeshed' in the earlier tapestry metaphor then it's a 'section of cloth' to you). The rest is abruptly sliced away. This great swath of blackness around you gives your enemies room to amass unseen off screen and then suddenly pile in, projectiles er, projecting. You do have a radar system, but it gives no effective idea of proximity. Usually the only hint you get that an enemy is approaching is the plume of smoke rising from your shot-to-bits tank.

Strategy games are great. Arcade games are great. Strategy/arcade games are greater. Conqueror has tried to make an effort to combine these lovely genres, but the resulting strategy is too flimsy and the arcade action is too unwieldy, and there's no happy balance between the two. There's not enough to satisfy either types of gamesplayer.

A prime objective like an enemy base to invade, or a variety of opponents (things like planes, helicopters or ground troops for instance) would have made a more interesting and playable game. Stop