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Written by  :  ClarkBHM (282)
Written on  :  May 13, 2004
Platform  :  Apple II
Rating  :  3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars

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Excellent early war simulation

The Good

Command in Europe is a good strategic simulation of WWII in Western Europe, concentrating on the D-day invasion and concluding with the Battle of the Bulge. CIE offered several alternative situations for the shorter campaigns, and included a few longer campaigns to allow you the flexibility to play the game as you'd like (including a massive 145 day version of the entire campaign). At the time the game came out, there were few strategic simulations as detailed as this one. The map was large enough to appreciate the scale of the whole campaign (one hex=six miles)

Also, the manual was top-notch. At 56 pages, the manual included detailed descriptions of the units and an "example of play" tutorial. Further, there is a detailed 10 page section describing the campaigns you are fighting to give you a historical sense of background.

The Bad

Some of your units may start in Garrison formation. You can't move them until they are released. There should have been an option to turn off Garrison formations. Like many games of that time (and many games now), the computer compensates for weak AI by cheating. On the higher levels of difficulty, the computer cheats by upping the strength of their units considerably... It was rather easy for the player to cheat if you were the Allied player by destroying the German supply depots... Lots of units surrendering quickly is fun at times, but the implementation could have been improved (and was in Conflict in Vietnam). The game ran painfully slow. Even on automatic (computer v. computer), the full campaign could run for 6-8 hours if you didn't freeze the game to issue orders. The 128k setting ran even slower. Thus, even though my machine could handle the 128k version, I would run the 64k version for a little more speed. Delightfully, if you play this game on an Apple emulator, the speed problem disappears. "Operational Day Codes" act as a weak copy-protection scheme. Of course, there were only sixteen of them, so it was relatively easy to memorize two or three and reboot until that number came up! Once the Allied front lines had driven deep into France and captured Calais and Dunkirk, you'd think that reinforcement troops would come in from those areas. However, almost all of the Allied reinforcements arrive at the Normandy beaches. I don't know if this is historically accurate or not, but it's a pain to have to scroll all the way across the map to order your reinforcements to the front line. Finally, one of the most disappointing aspects was that there was no scenario editor of any type. It would have been nice to set up special situations or "what-if" scenarios that the designers didn't include (Like a cross-channel attack on Calais and Dunkirk)

The Bottom Line

I'd say that Crusade in Europe is the best of the "Command Series" simulations by Microprose in that you have a full campaign option allowing for the most flexibility. Although it wasn't flawless, it provided a good feel for the strategic situation of the D-Day invasion, something which seems to be lacking in today's games.

Atari Black Friday