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/// Usenet Review:  Act Of War
    --------------------------
    By Marcus Albers
    (malbers@ns.ccsn.edu)


PRODUCT NAME

        Act Of War, Version 1.1


BRIEF DESCRIPTION

        This is a game "in the tradition" of games like Laser Squad and
Rebelstar, in which one player controls a squad of warriors and the other
player (or the computer) tries to stop the first one from completing the
selected mission.  It can be found at all Aminet sites in the directory
pub/aminet/game/misc.


AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

        Name:           Dave Smith
        Address:        4 Cleveland View
                        South Bents
                        Sunderland
                        SR6 8AP England
                                


DISTRIBUTION METHOD/SUGGESTED DONATION

        This program is Shareware.  If you wish to register it, you are
asked to send a donation of 5 Pounds Sterling as a minimum donation.  For
it, you will receive "a nice letter", a mission editor (see below), and the
latest update of the program, along with any new missions that have been
developed.  For a donation of 10 Pounds Sterling, you receive "a very nice
letter", the above, as well as the 250K of AMOS source code on another
diskette.  For a donation of more than 10 Pounds Sterling, you will receive
"an unspeakably nice letter", the above, as well as "Christmas cards for
life."


SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

        HARDWARE

                One megabyte of memory in required to run Act Of War.
                It is fully compatible with OS 1.3 and 2.0.
                Runs in both NTSC Standard and PAL modes.
                Is compatible with faster processors.
                It is compatible with the A570 CD-ROM drive active.

        SOFTWARE

                None.


MACHINE USED FOR TESTING

        Amiga 500
        One megabyte memory
        Workbench/Kickstart 1.3
        A570 CD-ROM drive


REVIEW

        As af player of war simulations with figurines as well as the old
SSI battle simulations on my Commodore 64, I have found a love for being
able to control a squad of warriors completely.  I can put them in
situations that no sane person would do, and just see what happens.  I
can do more than just run and shoot.  I can use a couple of warriors and put
them in the heat of battle to act as decoys as the rest of my men go rushing
into the complex and break the prisoners out.  And there are usually a
number of ways of accomplishing the given task.  When I read the
documentation for Act Of War, I knew that this was the game for me.

        Act Of War is a war simulation "in the tradition" of games like
Laser Squad and Rebelstar.  The player controls his/her squad of warriors,
which are faced with a situation and an objective.  In Act Of War, you are
able to play against either a computer opponent or a human enemy.  A lot of
strategy goes into the execution of any scenario.  It is not simply "fire
and forget."

        Play for each character is split up into a number of actions or
moves.  Each separate character has a number of actions available such as
movement, opening doors, or firing upon an enemy.  The characters take turns
making all of the moves.  This simulates real-time action, and can be used
to allow for things like injuries by decreasing the number of moves that the
injured character has.  Much realism can be figured into such a system, and
it is a completely fair system.  When firing takes place, both combatants
get an equal chance to fire; i.e., if a character fires upon an enemy during
his turn, the enemy gets to fire back, even though it is not technically his
turn.

        Act Of War is a completely open-ended simulation.  It could be said
that the game is simply a play system, around which the actual simulation is
built.  When the game is registered, you are sent a mission designer that
allows you to create graphics, types of characters, and types of weapons
that are used.  Everything can be changed.

        Another very nice thing about Act Of War is that all of the game
functions can be accessed either either from menus or by keyboard.  This is
nice for people who do not have easy access to both the keyboard and the
mouse do to their setup, or for people that have a bad mouse and would
rather use the keyboard.  Its also nice not to have to flip through menus to
access a certain function quickly (like changing weapons).

        Graphics are excellent.  The are very colourful and well drawn, even
though there area lot of greys used with the science fiction basis of the
included missions.  The sound is also very well done.  But this must be
attributed to Team 17, for Dave got permission to uses the samples from Team
17's great arcade shoot'em up Alien Breed.  The weapon reload sound is
simply amazing.  Because of total flexibility with sound, graphics, and
character attributes, it is possible to make a scenario that utilizes tanks,
planes, and even spaceships!  Takes you back to the days of Wargames
Construction Set for the C64.

        The artificial intelligence system that Dave designed is hard to
beat, even on the "easy" level.  The enemy characters don't just move
randomly, nor do they simply follow and shoot (the smarter ones at least).
Some even go so far as to set up barricades and wait for other characters.
This allows for a fair amount of strategy to be used in taking care of the
enemy.  Will he stand and fight, or will he retreat when he gets too much
damage?  Of course, nothing is as challenging as playing against a good
human opponent.  The only thing that I dislike about this is that for two of
the three scenarios included, it is very hard to have a two player game.
The lack of the human factor is what makes these two scenarios possible.
The third is very playable as a two player game, and of course there is the
scenario designer.


DOCUMENTATION

        The documentation is in the form of a soft-copy manual that may be
printed.  I haven't printed it out yet; but from the size of the
documentation file, it looks fairly massive.  It covers everything from
basic play functions to explanations of each and every control mechanism.
There are also separate files for each of the three scenarios, allowing the
player to access the information on the current scenario quickly without
having to page through the main document.


LIKES AND DISLIKES

        What did I like:  the graphics and sounds, the included scenarios,
are very well done, the tried and true play system, and the AI system.

        What didn't I like:  the fact that some scenarios cannot be well
done by two players.

        On suggestion is the addition of a modem link for two player mode.


CONCLUSIONS

        I give this game a 9.5 out of a possible 10.



                      ------------------------------



        Thomas Baetzler (s_walter@irav1.ira.uka.de) sent me some updated
information about Act Of War, which was reviewed on 13 June 1993 by Marcus
Albers.

o       The latest version is 1.4, whereas 1.1 was reviewed.  Version 1.4
        adds "fire and ignitable materials, new weapons, and two new
        missions."

o       There is a LaTeX format manual available on the Aminet ftp sites
        called aow14texman.lha.