Genghis Khan logo

INFOGRAMS * £39.99 Mouse and keyboard

They liked their wars, did the 12th Century Mongol tribes. Turn your back for five minutes and some up-and-coming tribesman will have declared war on another province.

The most famous of these was Genghis Khan, wo united Mongolia, and controlled a large part of China to boot. Reckon you could do the same, do you? This game puts you in Genghis' shoes, so you can find out.

Bloody Battles
There are actually two games in one. The first, Mongol Conquest, has you as leader of one of many warring factions in a divided country, you have to repeat history and take control of the Mongolia. Game two is the World Conquest. Up to four players can take part as opposed to one. The aim is to control the entire Eurasian continent.

Both sections play similarly. Although it's a war-game, careful planning is needed before committing your troops to a bloody battle. There are many variables to take into consideration, and you'll need to build up the strength of your troops and be pretty certain that you'll win. Otherwise you may find it's game-over pretty quickly.

In order to get your army's strength up to the required levels, there are many sub-sections to the game. Your personal characteristics determine a great deal, so it may be an idea to train yourself in areas where you're lacking.

Trading gives you valuable revenue to finance your conquest, as does buying in useful weaponry to add to your army's arsenal. And it's wise to send a spy to learn another countries strengths and weaknesses before boldly going in.

Some beautiful stylised graphics have gone into the production of the game. These are complemented by the sound effects. There's no brash sounds to deafen you here, it's more like the incidental music in a film score.

Some like it not
At the best part of £40 Genghis Khan isn't exactly a snip. You're going to have to be pretty serious about your war-gaming before splashing out all of that hard earned dosh.

If your idea of a good time is inflicting megadeath on the aliens of the planet Zog, then Genghis Khan is not for you. Plenty of manual reading and trial and error is necessary before you'll be able to play. Even then each game will take many, many hours to play. It won't be a quick five minute blast.

But if you are a war-gaming fan then you'll certainly love this. It's a very deep game with so many levels of strategy, so many variables that effect your decisions, and so much going on that you'll truly be in your element.

Who is that masked man?

The famous Mongol conqueror was born in 1162, with the name Temujin. After a long struggle, he established himself as leader of all the Mongol tribes by 1206, and assumed the title Chingins, meaning 'perfect warrior'.
The Conquest of North China began in 1213 and by 1223 he controlled most of that country. He die in 1227, and his empire began to fragment on the death of his grandsom, Kublai Khan in 1279.

Hardcore für Strategen

Genghis Khan logo

Das japanische Label Koei hat sich auf höchst komplexe Strategiespiele mit historischem Hintergrund spezalisiert. In Japan und Amerika ist man damit sehr erfolgreich, dank Infogrames kommen nun auch deutsche Freizeit-Feldherrn auf ihre Kosten.

Die richtige Vorbereitung ist bekanntlich schon der halbe Sieg, folglich bestimmt man zunächst den Schwierigkeitsgrad (fünf Stufen), wählt eine Mission aus und legt die Charakter-eigenschaften des Helden (Planungsfähigkeit, Überzeugungskraft...) näher fest.

Anschließend darf man entweder die Mongolei oder gleich die ganze Welt erobern, wobei im letzteren Fall noch bis zu drei weitere Computerstrategen mitmischen können.

Was sich hier mit Hilfe der Maus, einiger Tastaturkommandos und diverser Menüs alles anstellen läßt, ist enorm: Der beinahe allmächtige Genghis Khan darf unter anderem die Steuern erhöhen, Gouverneure einsetzen/absetzen/umbringen, Soldaten rekrutieren, Diplomaten und Spione aussenden, Attentate inszenieren, einen Thronfolger zeugen und natürlich andere Länder angreifen (pro Runde können drei befehle erteilt werden).

Für die Kämpfe wird von der Kartenansicht zu einer "Bienenwabengrafik" umgeschaltet, das Ergebnis rechnet dann der Computer aus. Zudem beeinflussen zufällig auftretende Ereignisse den Spielverlauf; da gibt es Seuchen, Stürme, Kältewellen, Aufstände und vieles mehr.

Auf spektakuläre Grafik, umfangreiche Sounduntermalung und eingestreute Actionszenen wurde hier völlig verzichtet; stattdessen gibt's Strategie pur - die aber mit allen Schikanen! (C. Borgmeier)

Genghis Khan logo Zzap! Sizzler

Koei/Infogrames, Amiga £24.99

Genghis Khan is really two games in one. In the solitaire Mode, 'Mongol Conquest' you can become Temujin, the Bordighin tribesman who is destined to unite the Mongols as Genghis Khan. The game then switches to the 'World Conquest' mode which can be played by up to four players. Other notable characters include Richard I (England), Alexious III (Byzantine Empire) and Minamoto Yoritomo (Japan).

All command decisions cost attribute points. Your character has a range of abilities: judgement, leadership, planning, persuasiveness and on. When an action is made which utilizes one these abilities, it reduces the points allocated. When the points fall under a certain level you will be unable to execute this action. This means that you will need a fair sprinkling of several abilities before you charge into battle.

The two Game Modes show a map divided up into areas/countries which you will need to take. You can make treaties, send spies into countries, attempt assassinations, 'rendezvous' with princesses in an effort to gain children, train your troops, vary taxes, play politics with your governors and so on.

All the time you'll need to keep your people happy and well-fed otherwise you'll have an uprising on your hands. During battle you have the opportunity to lead your forces (infantry, cavalry and archers). The game zooms into an excellent hex-based wargame which plays like any of the better wargames on the market.

Although Genghis Khan may lack the graphical overkill of say Powermonger, it's undoubtedly an excellent product which kept me up till late hours more times than I care to mention.

The challenge of the game is high as the opponents are no fools. They love to attack when you are at your weakest, opponent tactics are intelligent too. Unreservedly recommended.