Great Napoleonatic Battles logo

Impressions * £29.99

This release boasts a new hex-based war-game system, instead of the infuriating mouse control system. Hex-based war-gaming is essentially like chess. The battleground is the board, and instead of chess pieces, there are about 30 infantry, cavalry and artillery units under your control.

The control system is simple, but cumbersome: an inordinate number of key presses are needed to get a piece from one place to another. Each unit is controlled individually and with an entire army to move, the game quickly becomes tedious.
The sound effects are abysmal and the graphics are appalling and only three quarters of the screen is used.

The only saving grace is the range of options to customise the military units and to prepare custom-built battlegrounds. Buy one of Mirror Image's budget titles like Waterloo or Austerlitz instead.

Waterloo hoch zwei...

Great Napoleonatic Battles logo

Auweia, böser Rückfall im Hause Impressions: Nach dem gar nicht üblen "Fighter Command" hat man sich nun in die tiefsten Niederungen der Sechseck-Strategie zurückgezogen - gegen die napoleanischen Schlachten macht selbst ein Total-Flopp wie "Cohort" noch eine gute Figur!

Dabei liegt es bestimmt nicht an der Thematik, für Strategen mit Brett vor'm Kopf ist Nappi ja ein alter Bekannter - guckt einfach mal in den Stromausfall. Ein gutgemachter Digi-Sandkasten, mit dem sich die Schlachten des großen Feldherren nachspielen bzw. Eigene entwerfen lassen, hätte also sicherlich Freunde gefunden. Aber grau ist alle Theorie...

In der Praxis fängt das Elend nämlich schon mit der laut Handbuch "visuell ansprechenden" Grafik an. Keinen Schimmer, was diese häßliche Waben-Wüstenei bei Impressions angesprochen hat - bei uns waren es nur die Magennerven.

Doch haben wir den Brechreiz heldenhaft überwunden, um uns ungebrochenen Mutes mit der "bedienungsfreundlichen" (wiederum O-Ton Anleitung) Handhabung vertraut zu machen. Nun, man hat ja schon viele umständliche Steuerungsmethoden gesehen, aber dieser völlig unlogische Mischmasch aus Maus und Tastatur schlägt dem Zahn die Krone aus!

Und wer in all dem Fegummel die Orientierung verloren hat, darf eine Übersichtskarte aufrufen, die jedes abstrakte Gemälde in den Schatte stellt. Tja, selten war Armeen-Verschieben so wertlos.

Der Editor wiederum wirkt gar nicht sooo übel, ist aber nur über das CLI züganglich. Under der Sound? Im Titel tönt Tschaikowsky (der ja nun gar nix dafür kann), im Spiel gibt es ab und zu einen Piepser. Alles in allem echte Konkurrenz für SSI.... (jn)

Great Napoleonatic Battles logo

Ask any innocent Amiga owner the name two of the greatest war game heroes of the last three centuries and they will undoubtedly come up with Napoleon Bonaparte (1769) and Sir Jonathan Davies (early 19th century). Unfortunately though, neither can be with us tonight leaving me, even more unfortunately, to do the honours. Oh dear.

As per usual, GNB plays with two turns per side; first the movement part (move squares around a scrollable map - this time made out of hexagons), then the fighting part (for the artillery section or adjacent opposing troops). The game ends when one side succeeds in their mission's objective; the enemy have been killed, certain ground is held or a certain destination is reached. Standard war game material, you might say. Yep, I would reply.

There's nothing flash about the graphics. Nothing great about the sound. No action, blood, nor battle bits. Just lots of squares to move around. But what this game does have is rather more scope than usual. Three historic Napoleon battles are provided on the disk along with an editor (Hello. Ed). With this the lucky utiliser can modify the existing battles - fiddle with everything from objectives to maps to the 'rules' of the gameplay to make it as easy or tricky as desired. Or, if in the mood, its user may even want to create his or her own battles.

Unfortunately, this editor is the only thing on offer to the war gamer that he hasn't got already - the remainder of the game has been seen, and bettered many times before. Tsk. War games, eh?

Great Napoleonatic Battles logo

During his amazing lifetime, Napoleon Bonaparte radically changed the political face of Europe and has probably had more of an influence on the rest of the world than any other political figure bar Adolf Hitler. Sadly, the Napoleonic years have been greatly neglected by the computer war gaming fraternity and few realistic strategy games have emerged to capture the spirit of the times.

Fortunately, this is all about to change with Impressions' first foray into the Napoleonic era. There are three authentic battles to take part in, and each is accompanied by a lengthy explanation of the tactics employed by each side. Marengo pits the French armies against the combined might of the Austrian Empire, a battle that nearly resulted in a crippling defeat for Napoleon but which, in the end, was turned into a stunning victory.

Quatre Bras was the first encounter between Napoleon and Wellington and ended in an inconclusive stalemate, while the Battle of Waterloo represented the final rout of Napoleon and his global ambitions of conquest.

Each battle has a pre-set number of moves available which, when completed, signals the end of the game. You can either set your own objectives for each scenario or use those of the real battles which are documented in the excellent manual.

A turn consists of movement and combat phases. Movement can only be made if enough movement points have been collected to move onto an adjacent hexagonal square.

The number of movement points necessary depends on the type of terrain you wish to move on to. Combat involves artillery fire and close range fisticuffs or a combination of the two.

The eventual outcome of each encounter is decided by a complex formula of unit strength in conjunction with attack, defence and movement ratings. For added realism, reinforcements can enter the fray at any time, but such additional troops will abide by the historical accuracy of the sim. A battery of statistics are also available to help give an idea on how each side is fairing and there's an overview of troop movements.

For added value, Impressions have also included a Construction Kit disk which enables a player to define their own game parameters and crate entirely new battles from the same era. Simple to use, the Kit can create and modify the game's hex map, military pieces and even the rules of the game.

In all, Great Napoleonic Battles is a polished wargame which owes its appeal to its simplicity. Such straightforward gameplay lends itself to some complex tactics and planning, especially as the hex maps can be up to 100 screens wide by 100 high. Definitely one game worth fighting for...