Title Arnhem: The Market Garden Operation Publisher CCS (1985 original, 1991 Amiga release) Programmer Richard T Smith (S A Lenton - Amiga conversion) Game Type Strategy Players 1-3 HD Installable No Compatibility All Amigas Submission John Burns (firstname.lastname@example.org) Profiled Reviewer Review My first impression of this game was one of disappointment when I found that unlike the earlier game, Ancient Battles, from the same programmer this one doesn't install to HD nor can it be mode promoted. So, it was time to turn on the TV and boot from floppy where after some 30 secs the one and only disk had booted. I selected the scenario I wanted to play and waited whilst the game was set up. This access bode badly for play but happily I can report that the game in fact appears to pre-load before each new scenario is started. So all things considered my earlier misgivings were misplaced. But first, some technical stuff: Actually since writing the above I have found ways to get around the above problems. Although I couldn't get the game to run from HD by copying the executable file named ~arnm~ to my HD, I not only can start it from there but also promote the game to run on my VGA monitor using either the program ModePro or the DblPAL monitor setting. To achieve this you need to run the executable from CLI or MagicMenu (using the CLI option); for some reason it doesn't work when run from an icon. However, once started the game will not go past the intro credit screen without the disk being inserted in DF0. If you decide on this option you can make the disk access quicker (10 secs) by deleting all files except the b direrctory which contains three game files. I also changed the File System from OFS to FFS DC and reorganised the disk using ReOrg which further helped with access speed. Whilst this is not perfect I can live with 10 secs to boot into a game and it does at least give you back multitasking and a better viewing platform. Anyway, enough of that, now on with the review. As you will gather from the title this is a wargame in which you re-enact the Market Garden Operation during WW2. Historically, the game appears accurate enough and you have the option to control the entire Allied operation or individual parts of it. It would have been nice to have had the option to control the German forces, then maybe you could have made all the bridges "too far" instead of just the one at Arnhem. Graphics are minimal being comprised of a 16 colour map and the user interface (a screenshot of which I've made available at the EAGER website. Allied units are designated by an icon with a representation of its type i.e. Inf, Armd, etc. whilst German units are only represented by a Cross until you are in contact with them whereupon you find out their type. This is fair enough since this is a way of representing your lack of intelligence on their forces. However, why did the programmer decide on using his own symbols for unit type when the standard designations (as used by games such as Campaign), in line with the NATO publication, APP3, would have sufficed. The user interface comprises of some icons, M (Move), T (Transport), B (Bombard), etc. and some info on the active unit's strength, morale, etc. Having played the game a bit I found some problems using this interface for, whilst adequate and useable, it could have been improved a bit. Firstly, when you click on most of the action icons, the exception being the bombard one, you are committed to that action. (As an example, when your unit is on a road the quickest way to travel along it is to use the Transport icon which puts the unit into convoy mode however if you select the Move icon instead you are forced to use it and this quite often results in you blocking the entire Corps advance). Therefore an option to cancel would have been nice. Not a major problem provided you are careful but the second is more serious if not downright silly. The actual map area covers approx 4 screen widths and each turn you have the opportunity to issue orders to all your units. However, you are unable to scroll the map yourself since this is done, poorly, by the game itself. An example of the frustration this causes is when you have just issued orders to a unit on the left of the screen and the next unit is at the right hand side, no scrolling takes place since the unit is visible. Fair enough, but if the action you wish to take involves this next part of the screen just out of sight then you are scuppered. This cannot be argued as a "fog of war" type effect since you may have units in this next screen so you know what is there. I should point out that in general this is not a problem for moving units so much, since there is always a square or two visible which you can use, but with Artillery units it prevents you setting a target to shell; instead your Artillery sits idle while the enemy units pile up in relative safety around your poor beleaguered paras. One other option which would have been of use would have been to merge depleted units, to restore their numbers. Let's face it this is what happens in real life so why not here. A unit which has been depleted to a very low state becomes useless, your only option being to try and put it somewhere safe or suicidally attack since it will always be wiped out without causing any appreciable damage of its own. Well okay you say but what is the actual game like to play? My overall opinion is, not bad, it certainly isn't easy to win and in my first few attempts I never managed to get better than a draw (i.e. same as history). Yes, you can win though I won't spoil it and tell you how. Being historically based as opposed to randomly generated you may feel that there is little longevity since everything will be the same every time; well yes and no. Yes, the enemy will always come from the same general areas but no since there is some AI which does react to your actions so that if for instance you know that the Germans always make a counter attack along a certain road and place a unit there in advance, they'll still appear but maybe not with the result you expect - try it and see. As a strategy game it's not bad, though it's difficulty lies more in the overwhelming strength of the German forces at Arnhem than in it's AI. All in all not a bad attempt and a game which could have been improved by some slight modifications to the AI and user interface, and better graphics wouldn't have gone amiss either. It won't appeal to everyone, in truth, really only wargaming fans will probably find it of interest but given that its legally available from Back 2 the Roots there's no excuse not to give it a try.