V for Victory: Market Garden. (computer game) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Peter Olafson
Market Garden, the third game in Three-Sixty Pacific's V for Victory line, is more likely to open up the line to a wide audience than either the hedgerow slugfest of Utah Beach or the relatively obscure cauldron that was Velikiye Luki.
Market Garden was an ambitious plan to plant the Allied flag on German soil before the winter of 1944-45 and so speed the end of World War II. The problem: Paratroopers assigned to seize a series of six critical bridges across Holland in September 1944 weren't aware of the presence nearby of substantial German forces--including two SS panzer divisions--until they were forcefully made aware of them. The results were heavy losses, retreat, disaster. This battle was the subject of the popular film A Bridge Too Far.
Market Garden shares the same basic look and feel of its predecessors in the series. Among V for Victory's strengths are ease of use, with an intelligent click-and-drag system for moving units; an efficient toolkit of micromanagement controls; shimmering Super VGA displays (war games simply don't look any better than this); an array of what-if variants and scenarios that give the game a long life; and the ability to delegate authority to your staff.
Better Al means you'll face a more rigorous challenge than in earlier VfV games. This is on top of the substantial difficulty of the Market Garden campaign.
Rather than offering setpiece battles in the fashion of the earlier two games, Market Garden forces more multidimensional thinking, as players have to deal simultaneously with several minifronts--sometimes widely separated along the narrow corridor--operating under a variety of different circumstances and pressures.
Market Garden is every bit as solid as its predecessors, and when Three-Sixty upgrades the game, it will become the first in the series to accommodate modem play. My only misgiving is that Market Garden and its brethren are essentially board games played on a computer, complete with hexes, phases, and turns. This seems to slight the medium's potential for realistic, free-flowing, simultaneous combat. Still, as far as computerized board games go, you'd be hard-pressed to find one smarter and betterlooking than Market Garden.