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War College is a real time strategy game where you have to give orders to each troop (cohorts, auxiliaries, legions, cavalries, artilleries, etc.) during the battle. There are no battles in the evenings after 6 PM because of the darkness. Time passes by quickly and if the game gets too difficult, you can give orders and assess damages during a game pause. Be careful about launching outnumbered troops upon the enemy as this can bring down their morale. Once they lose it, they won't respond to any orders, will flee from the battle field and become very weak. Morale recuperation and other parameters can be set by the player, but they take effect for both sides. Although there are only four battles available, there are still many possibilities offered as you can choose among several sides in each confrontation.
The four battles in which you can test your tactical skills on are:
The game is well built and everything is crystal clear. You can display or hide the information for each troop such as morale, name, strength, way-point, and whether they have received an order indicating the enemy's bearing. It is possible to automatically jump to each troop that is in battle, but the results will appear on the bottom of the screen anyhow.
Everything is calculated from the time to change formations, turn and march. It all takes a little time and the game is a bit slow at first, especially for the first units to get in contact, but once that happens the game continues at a good pace. I would say that it takes between six and twelve hours to finish a battle depending on your skills. Of course it is possible to save the game, but it isn't easy as there is always a little battle that you would like to finish or another move you'd like to make before saving the game. There goes another sleepless night (one of the major danger of this game).
There are two aspects of the game in which I wasn't very happy about: the zoom and the sound option. There are two degrees of zoom, the first is a quarter of the battle field and the second is a 16th of the battlefield, but the squares are predefined and you can't move them or center one upon a troop. This is your blind vision field when half of your troop is on one square and the other half is on another.
The sound is a bit disappointing also as there is only one CD-track for each battle type. The minimum installation requires two megabytes of hard drive space making the game playable from the CD, but you can't have any music during the game.
Included on the CD is a full documentation on each of the battles. There are political and historical backgrounds, an explanation of how the battle took place, who won and how they did it. Because you can choose the side you want to be on, it is important to know the differences between the forces in play.
Written by Frederic zur Nedden
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Creative Labs; Media Vision and Gravis Ultrasound cards supported.
Supports Windows 95.
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Web site: GameTek
Email address: GameTek USA Technical Support
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Slough, Berkshire SL1 4DX.
Email address: GameTek UK Technical Support
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