Iss 9 Apr 1990
Added: 4 Dec 2011
Those of you who like to keep abreast of developments in the computing world in general – and not just what is happening on the Amiga – might just remember a couple of Archimedes games that appeared a while ago: Zarch and Conqueror. Zarch has been available on the Amiga for some while under the pseudonym Virus and now here is Amiga Conqueror.
It is a tank wargame simulation for one player that comprises three games. Just like in Virus, the player has a limited view of the total game area when actually controlling a tank, but can see the whole game map simply by hitting a key. In fact, the game uses the very same landscaping routines that were first developed by David ‘Elite’ Braben for Virus.
Before starting a game you have to decide whether you wish to control American, German or Russian World War II tanks and who you would like to fight against – it will always be Germans vs either Russians or Americans, but never Russians vs Americans since they were allies during the war.
You also have to decide which control method you would like to use and there is where you can get a friend in on the action. To play you will have to both drive the tank and fire at enemies, so you can do both yourself or choose to let the computer (or a friend) take over one task while you concentrate on the other. For example, you can drive the tank from the keyboard and use the mouse to control the turret, or youc an use two joysticks, either to just drive and leave the firing to the computer, or use them both to drive and fire. Either way, the thing is going to be pretty tough at first.
The three games are arcade, attrition and strategy. In the arcade game you have three lives, start with the lightest tank and have to fend off wave after wave of enemy light tanks, scoring points for every tank killed. After a few kills you move on to a medium tank, as does the enemy, and if you are still alive after a few more kills you move into a heavy tanks and just keep going for as long as possible, always outnumbered by enemy heavy tanks.
The attrition game is a mix of strategy and arcade where you start with a selection of tanks (one light, two medium and one heavy) and the computer starts with an inferior selection. The idea is to fend off the enemy waves for as long as possible – once you lose a tank, it is gone for good. Obviously you only control one tank at a time directly, but you can give your other tanks orders simply by selecting them on the map screen and putting a destination cross somewhere on the map. The remote-controlled tank will then head for the cross and will either stay there or pick a new destination depending on whether you select auto or manual strategy from the map page. The last tank your position on the map screen will be the one you are controlling on the action screen.
In the strategy game you buy whichever tanks you can afford from your points (up to a maximum of 16). At first you only have a few points so you can only afford a couple of light tanks (generally, the heavier the tank the more firepower it has and consequently the more it costs). Then you place your tanks at the bottom of the playing area while the computer places his at the top. The idea of the game is to control a randomly-designated area of the map. So you must allow no enemy tanks to enter the area, for a period of one minute. Every time an enemy tank enters the area the clock stops and will only restart once the enemy tank has been destroyed or left the area.
Winning involves either holding the ground for a minute or wiping out all the opposition for that mission. Bonus points are awarded for knocking out the enemy and for complreting the mission and these points can then be spent at the start of the next mission on more, better and bigger tanks.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
Everything is well animated and smooth too. The tanks are a bit blocky, but at least they look like tanks. The landscaping, although not original, works extremely well and you really get the feeling you are trundling over a real landscape. Nice touches include the track marks that gradually fade and the smoking hulls of knocked-out tanks. The sound is not so impressive being limited to some high pitched explosions and chugging engines. Looks excellent and sounds all right.
Getting to grips with the control is the first priority and once you have done that it will take you a while to learn just how to survive in a tank with inferior firepower to your enemies. After that you will be playing if for hours at a time and as often as you can.
A corking game that is very playable and surprisingly addictive. It is also very tactical at times and will appeal to everyone who likes a good blast but also likes to think they can master a situation by good tactical planning as well. A first-class game that is going to have you begging for a follow-up.
THE GERMAN PANZER III
The Panzerkampfwagen III (PzKpfw III) first entered production in 1936. Initially it was armed with an L/137 45 mm gun, but like most of the tanks at the time it was upgraded throughout its life and ended up with a L/75 24mm in 1942. The version used in the game is baded on the Ausf L which was equipped with an L/50 60mm anti-tank gun. At the start of the war the tank was equal to its adversaries, but it was soon left behind and even upgraded versions were unable to take on the Russian T34s and KVs.
THE AMERICAN M24 CHAFFEE
The Chaffee saw extensive action during the last few months of the war and it was well liked by the man that received them as an upgrade to the M5A1. it was roomier and had distinctly better firepower 975mm gun). It was still too lightly armoured to withstand anti-tank or tank gun fire but twin Cadillac engines gave it a maximum cross-country speed of around 40 KPH which enabled it to out manoeuvre almost all German tanks, and it was expecially effective in support of infantry against enemy troops lacking anti-tank weapons.
THE RUSSIAN IS II
(IS = Iosef Stalin. The common translitereation ‘JS’ is, strictly speaking, incorrect). The first IS Iis were issued early in 1944. With a massive 122mm gun, this was the first Soviet tank to be able to take on Tigers and Panthers at long ranges and knock them out with ease. This gun offered 2.7 times more kinetic energy on impact than the 85mm originally pencilled in. Unfortunately, the two-piece round with a separate brass cartridge slowed the firing rate to about two or three a minute and only 28 rounds could be carried.
Added: 24 Nov 2010
Game Type 3D Combat Sim
Players 1 or 2
Compatibility Not AGA
Submission Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer
Conqueror is a 3D tank game that makes use of the 3D engine that David
Braben wrote for the classic game Zarch on the Archimedes or Virus on the
Amiga. Think of yourself stuck up in the air at about 100 feet, with your
position realtively stationary to your selected tank, which trundles along
through the attractive patchwork of fields just in front of you. The game
is all about tank combat in World War Two and features many of the designs
of that era but just the Russian, German and American vehicles, which is a
bit of a shame for us Brits, although let`s face it, most of our tanks
were nothing much to shout about. Having said that, the Sherman Firefly is
present, and this was a British adaption of the American Sherman which had
a main armament just about on a par with the deadly 88mm used by the
Now there are several varieties of gametype you can choose, but it boils
down to if you want a quick shoot-em-up or a something of a campaign,
where your successes will earn you extra money enabling you to buy more
powerful vehicles. Either way, you are going to find this game frustrating
initially. The enemy tanks come screaming in, shooting shell after shell,
usually with an accuracy you can only gawp at. There are a number of
control methods, including using the keyboard, using two joysticks
(possibly with one of you driving the tank while a friend controls the
turret) manual driver and computer controlled turret, or manual turret and
computer controlled driver. I `m sorry to say that I couldn`t really get
on with any of these. I would have liked a one joystick method, where a
quick jab on the fire button fired the gun, but holding down the fire
button allowed you to control the turret. Still what do I know? For me,
there was a huge amount of promise in this game that was let down by a
simulation that I found basically too difficult to control and therefore
too frustrating to play. Aside from the problems I had with the controls,
I`d of liked a scenario that would sometimes allow events to move at a
slower pace, where you edged your vehicle along, wary of an ambush, the
suspense building towards the inevitable attack. The game has got a lot to
commend though, it looks great! The tanks leave muddy tracks in their
wake, and buildings caqn be satisfyingly demolished. As well as this, if
you`re going to have an armoured combat game, then you have to have decent
3D terrain, and this game has this in spades. More so, it must be said
than the author`s later games, Campaign and Campaign 2. Maybe Jonathan
Griffiths can be persuaded to just make a few tweaks to this game that
could transfer it into a classic.... I can dream.
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