D-Day: The Beginning of the End

Title		D-Day: The Beginning of the End
Publisher	Impressions, 1994
Game Type	Strategy
Players		1
HD Installable	Yes
Compatibility	All Amigas
Submission	John Burns (john@jgb.abelgratis.co.uk) Profiled Reviewer

Note:  This game should not be confused with the similarly titled D-Day
from US Gold (1993) or D-Day: Operation Overlord from Virgin (1995)

As you might expect this is a strategy wargame in which you re-enact the
Allied invasion of "Fortress Europe" in 1944. Given the type of game this
is, it will come as no surprise to learn that the graphics are nothing
special. They consist in the main of units being represented by squares
with a letter to identify them, T for Transport Ship, I for Infantry, etc.
However, I don't see this as a necessary fault or evil since those games
which have used flashier methods of unit representation have, in my
opinion, failed in the attempt. All these icons are superimposed on to a
map of the relevant part of Europe. This all works well enough and if I
was to criticise any part of this it would be the lack of a zoom facility.

Control is via the mouse using both a pull down menu for general
configuration and a menu on the right hand quarter of the screen for
orders to the active unit. It is here that the game begins to fall apart
with the controls seeming sluggish and unresponsive, not least because they
offer no indication that the mouse click has registered. Also, having to
click three or four times on a unit icon to activate it isn't something I
appreciate and if you are not careful you can issue the wrong orders to
the wrong unit due to the fact that your change of active unit wasn't
recognised. Of course with a game such as this you will benefit from good
manuals and whilst the game comes with four it is a disappointment that
they are written in so unfriendly a manner as to negate their assistance.

Historically I suppose that it is accurate enough and that the unit
starting positions and strengths are correct with some minor exceptions.
For instance why in general are the US units morale levels higher than
their allied counterparts - I'm sorry but this is just blatant prejudice
on behalf of the programmers. However, by far the worst and most
unforgivable mistake is in the implementation of setting up formations for
a battle. Edward Grabowski was the lead designer/programmer and it is
perhaps indicative of his earlier games, (Rourkes Drift, Great Napoleonic
Battles, etc.), that one is able to "form square". Yeah, right the Panzer
Grenadiers would've had a good laugh at that one. (Actually, the game uses
the same Micro Miniatures system for this formation forming so maybe
that's why this error crept in - but it's still no excuse - this part of
the game engine should have been changed).

I also have a serious gripe with the AI of the game. As a test I attacked
the city of Caen (approx 10,000 defenders plus Artillery Support) using
101 (US) Div (approx 6,500 men) and the Autoplay option to decide the
battle. First time I ended up losing some 1250 men as opposed to the
enemies 4,500 losses and won the battle, Hmmm. Using an identical set up I
tried again; this time the losses were roughly 2,500 on both sides. Why
such a difference given that everything else was equal? OK, so one could
argue that there is always the chance factor and this is why. But, and
it's a big but, why each time did the attacking forces do so well against
a defending force who not only would have been prepared but were defending
a built up area - widely regarded as about the most costly in manpower to
attack, and an area in which one would expect the attacking force to
sustain large casualties. Sorry, but it just doesn't add up and certainly
doesn't match the reality that the US forces during WW2 never managed to
win a major encounter without first having a manpower superiority of some

Overall then this is not a game I would recommend. On the one hand it's
aimed at the more serious fan of the genre so casual strategy buffs won't
like it whilst the serious fan will be annoyed by the glaring faults in
the gameplay. Both groups will of course rapidly tire of the poor control
system which only serves to frustrate rather than help and an AI which
would appear to reward poor command decisions.

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