18 August, 2012

North & South

  • Release Date: 1989
  • Platform(s): Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, MSX, NES
  • Developer: Infogrames
  • Genre: Action / Strategy

The American Civil War was surely not the most pleasant of wars. Wedged uncomfortably close to the nasty delights of industrialization, it was a muddle of shelling and gunpowder, in which people got their faces burned off, or were accidentally run through by their own side's sabres; it was a conflict in which troops were regularly trampled under horses, and that nice Kevin Costner almost had his leg lopped off and went to live with the Native Americans.

North & South tells a slightly cheerier story. A mixture of cold strategy and fast-paced battles, Infrogrames's classic is based on a Belgian comic called Les Tuniques Bleus. This means that verisimilitude was never going to be that high on the agenda. That said, beyond the chummy cartoon faces and quiky animated asides (you can tickle the photographer on the main menu screen by goosing him with your mouse pointer), it's still a smart tactical challenge all the same.

North & South operates in two modes. There's the overworld view, in which you move troops around a map of the United States, staking out territory and pincering your enemy. There's also a battle mode that allows you to race through enough stripped-down skirmishes more personally. pushing around a range of infantry, cavalry, and cannons.

The story moves at a pace while excellent audio and visual presentation give the whole thing a sheen of polish missing from many other games of the era. The ending sequence, in which weary troops march home, the war over, set new standards for animation at the time of its release. Taken as a whole, North & South, while not particularly deep, makes for a pleasant arcade strategy experience even today -- if you can track down an original copy and coax it back to life, that is.

1 memories:

Looks really interesting. Need to find an emulator for it!

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