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The Cardinal of the Kremlin is a global management simulation.

It is the time of the Cold War. An American ground reconnaissance satellite discovers a strange structure near the northern border to Afghanistan. It is identified as project "Bright Star" - the Soviet laser ICBM defense system, capable of destroying satellites and airplanes with a beam of energy. At the same time, the USA is busy developing their own SDI project, code name "Tea Clipper". And as the race for the deployment of a space-based laser defense system begins, KGB and CIA agents swarm out to infiltrate the laboratories. Among them: The United States' top spy in Moscow, the Cardinal of the Kremlin.

Based on the popular novel of the same name by US author Tom Clancy, The Cardinal of the Kremlin puts you in the position of US project leader. Your task is to build, test and deploy a network of laser defense satellites before the Russians manage to do so. In this time of crisis, however, all your actions are overshadowed by the threat of espionage and treachery. The scientists that you hire may be geniuses, but are they trustworthy? The more technology tests you schedule, the easier it is for Russian spies to steal your knowledge. If you tighten up security on the other hand, the overprotection will throttle research efficiency. As you race against time and an invisible enemy, the word "paranoia" gains a whole new quality.

Luckily, the counter-intelligence department is at your command, too. CIA agents in Moscow not only supply you with information on the Soviet project's progress, but also on KGB operations in the USA. How accurate the reports are, however, is for you to judge. You must also supply the Afghan warlords Archer with weapons and equipment, as only he can launch a desperate attack on the Bright Star base that will hopefully throw back the Soviet project for months. You conduct battles in a simple top-down action sequence.


Tom Clancy's The Cardinal of the Kremlin DOS When the Russians attack, you control the Archer in a top-down action sequence.
Tom Clancy's The Cardinal of the Kremlin DOS Every now and then, the technological progress needs to be verified through tests.
Tom Clancy's The Cardinal of the Kremlin DOS Your agents tell you what moves the KGB plans; but are the reports accurate...?
Tom Clancy's The Cardinal of the Kremlin DOS Schedule rocket launches to transport four types of satellites into space.

Promo Images

Tom Clancy's The Cardinal of the Kremlin Magazine Advertisement

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Critic Reviews

Amiga Joker Amiga Sep, 1991 73 out of 100 73
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) DOS Apr, 1991 8.6 out of 12 72
Amiga Power Amiga Aug, 1991 51 out of 100 51
Play Time Amiga Nov, 1991 49 out of 100 49
Power Play DOS Dec, 1991 48 out of 100 48
Amiga Power Amiga Sep, 1991 2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars 33
Computer Gaming World (CGW) Amiga Nov, 1991 Unscored Unscored


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The box cover artwork is the same as the hardcover novel's.


The box contained both three 5.25" and two 3.5" disks, the game manual, an installation guide, a useful key shortcut card, a crude paper map of Asia, a registration card, a consumer license agreement, a color leaflet advertising other Capstone games, an "introductory offer" postcard for Computer Gaming World magazine, a bulletin board notice and, strangely, a 3.5" disk order card.


I'll quote the foreword by Tom Clancy as printed in the game's manual here, as his predictions and political convictions are, well... interesting from today's point of view. Remember that the foreword was written in 1990.

Since The Cardinal of the Kremlin was released in 1988, the world political climate has been transformed. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of more democratic governments in Eastern Europe, critics have questioned whether the events and strategic defense programs depicted in the book are relevant today. The answer is a definitive YES.

Let me assure you that the Soviets [sic] commitment to space-defense research has never faltered. Headlines may declare the end of the 'Cold War', yet the work of the Soviet, and American, intelligence agencies quietly goes on. Espionage and covert actions are necessary tools to confront terrorism and the all too real potential of war.

The development of America's Strategic Defense Initiative is of vital importance to our country. It will be at our national peril should the SDI critics ever succeed in weakening support for this program. In the current Middle East crisis, it is our satellite intelligence which allows the United States to track Iraqi troop movements. The recent actions of Saddam Hussien [sic] have vividly demonstrated why laser anti-missile defenses and similar technologies are crucial for the security of our nation, and the world.

Computer games, like novels, are entertainment. They give us an opportunity to vicariously participate in events beyond our daily life. Realism is the hallmark of my novels and the benchmark for judging computer games based on my books. For Cardinal of the Kremlin, the challenge to Capstone was to create a game that successfully captures the books complexities, human drama, and the interplay of espionage, technology and international politics. It is a superb strategy computer simulation. Congratulations, Capstone. Well done."

August, 1990


US author Tom Clancy, born April 12, 1947, is renowned for his detailed, realistic action novels, involving military subjects, espionage and international conflicts.
The Cardinal of the Kremlin, first published in 1988, was Clancy's fourth book and the third in the Jack Ryan series (the first two being The Hunt for Red October (1984) and Patriot Games (1987)). The novel, set in the days of the Cold War between the USA and Russia, outlines the two superpowers' race in deploying a space-based "Star Wars" missile-defense system. When an American reconnaissance satellite locates a strange Soviet structure in the hills near the Afghan border, the US' top agent in Moscow, known as Cardinal, is sent to investigate - and is betrayed. With the world on the brink of global war, CIA operative Jack Ryan flies to Russia on what turns out to be much more than a rescue mission...


With a recommended retail price of $49.95, The Cardinal of the Kremlin cost a whole $10 more than other Capstone games and the average program of its time.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #36 Worst Game of All Time

Contributed to by -Chris (7709) and Martin Smith (76886)