Written by  :  Ray Soderlund (3609)
Written on  :  Apr 07, 2000
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
write a review of this game
read more reviews by Ray Soderlund


Such an open ended Computer Wargame Kit still doesn't exist.

The Good

Easily the most enjoyable and addictive part of WCS was the ability to (in theory) create any military situation from the first time man engaged in warfare to as far in the future as one could imagine. Through the tweaking of the many, many stats one could create engagements between the ancient armies of the Mediterranean, a battle featuring the Mongols vs. the Japanese, one of Napolean's encounters, a WW2 invasion, or a battle between the Martian Commonwealth and the Imperial Terran Army. Your imagination, time, and patience were all that was required. Many people even created what might have been the start of the tactical-encounter RPG genre, by creating units that represented single beings (warriors, mages, skeletons, etc) and having a major battle between those beings.

While there were many statistics one used to control the abilities of a unit, the game was easily picked up by someone with little wargaming background (I came to the Commodore version having never played a war game before and picked it all up quickly).

During its time, there was a relatively large number of scenarios available on BBS's (this was before the Internet we know today), so the game had a large replay value.

The Bad

While it would like to believe it could do everything, the game engine wasn't so open as to support every available idea you could come up with. Often if you wanted to do something the engine didn't support, you played around with the stats until you got some close approximation to what you wanted. Other times, you'd simple have to abandon your one design idea.

The graphics were fairly poor, even for the day. Granted, it was a role-playing game, but more often than not the icons you wound up choosing for your units looked very different from how you pictured your final unit. A hardcopy explaination that unit #23 was an ashigaru spearman and #13 was a mounted samurai were often necessary accompaniments to home-brewed scenarios.

The Bottom Line

An attempt to bring custom war game building to the home computer industry. While it did many of the things the designers hoped for, the poor graphics and sometimes limited engine made it fail to live up to expectations. Still, it was another fine attempt by the software companies of the day to provide some fan-based interaction and creations (Adventure Construction Kit from Electronic Arts was another good example).

It's a shame SSI wouldn't consider making a sequel to this using a version of the Panzer General engine.