One of the best games of the year is SSI's recent Storm Across Europe (distributed by Electronic Arts, 1820 Gateway Drive, San Mateo, California 94404; 415-571-7171), released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the start of World War II. This game attempts nothing less than a strategic-level simulation of the entire European theater of operations.
Essentially, SAE is a three-player game. One player controls Germany, one commands the Western Allies, the third takes the Soviet Union. In a one-player game, you must control Germany and assign the other two commands to the computer. In a two-player version, one player takes Germany while the second player chooses between the Allies and the Soviets.
Turns are seasonal, four to a year. You can begin the game in Autumn 1939, with Germany ready to invade Poland, or in Spring 1940, preparing for the invasion of France. The final scenario begins with the Summer of 1944, with the Soviets reclaiming their lost territory and the Allies about to land in Europe.
Everything about this game is on the strategic level, which is its strength. You move entire armies, attacking with them or transferring troops. You command navies abstractly, assigning submarines against shipping lanes and assigning transports to specific missions. Air forces are also at your command, allowing you to bomb production sites or military bases and to assign escorts.
Basically, you worry about grand strategy, reinforcing armies and putting the right people in the right places. Much of the rest is left to the computer. There is a great deal to do, but nothing is overly difficult. For those who enjoy this level of strategy, who are interested in the course of World War II in Europe, and who want to see if they can do better than their real-life counterparts did, Storm Across Europe is indispensable.
New from Paragon Software (600 Rugh Street, Greensburg, Pennsylvania 15601) is Dr. Doom's Revenge. This game, licensed from Marvel Comics, pits Spider-Man and Captain America against Electro, The Hobgoblin, Machete, Rhino, and, of course, evil ol' Doc Doom himself. The game is presented in comic-book format on the screen, and you move from panel to panel to get where you want to go.
Dr. Doom's Revenge is a perfect example of a great idea that just doesn't cut it. Moving through the panels requires little decision making, and the many arcade-style battles are disappointing. Strangely enough, what downs this game is the fact that the comics are more complex and thus more interesting.
Still, the panels look great, and Paragon has the start of a very winning idea. Next time, it should be better.
The Last Crusade
If you're a fan of climbing and jumping games, you're sure to like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Lucasfilm Games, distributed by Electronic Arts, 1820 Gateway Drive, San Mateo, California 94404; 415-571-7171).
The graphics are good. Indy looks as if he's walking, and the various enemies look fine, too. Joystick control is easy, and within minutes you'll master the way the game plays. More important than all these things is the fact that the game is quite addicting.
Since you can't save the game, you must work your way through each level every time you play. The only other problem is that, unlike Lode Runner or Ultimate Wizard, this jumping game has a definite life span. Once you've gone through all four levels, you won't load it again, and you'll get through all four levels within only 20–30 hours of play.