The Lost Admiral. (computer game) (Evaluation)
by Alfred C. Giovetti
The lost Admiral really sizzles in fulfilling its claim to be "the strategy and tactics game of the decade." It makes no claims to realism, but it's still impressive.
The beauty of the game is in its strategy. Every ship has its advantage and its disadvantage, which makes for a very balanced game. The carriers have no planes, and the submerged stealth submarines can be seen by PT boats and destroyers. Carriers can reveal the location of the enemy. Transports can't harm PT boats, subs, or other combat vessels, and they must be in a port for a full turn to accumulate points and win the game. Even if you destroy the entire enemy fleet, you still lose if your transports aren't docked.
The artificial intelligence algorithms take into account limited or unlimited fuel and ammo, movement and combat weather effects, and the ability to randomize or set home port cities.
The Lost Admiral has a variety of options for the campaign and 11 difficulty levels. Nine basic scenarios, as well as one randomized scenario, provide enough variety and consistency for many hours of play.
Unfortunately, the game lacks a scenario editor for allowing the player to set parameters of intelligence and play conditions. Also, you can't save the game in the middle of a battle and return to try alternative solutions. The game has no replay or VCR function to review your errors and triumphs.
You may be put off by the game's lack of realism, but I feel that this increases the emphasis on strategy and the balance of the game. The game's best attributes are its fun and playability.
The Lost Admiral is no hard-core war game, nor is it a simulator. The game designer claims that the game is more of a cross between chess and a traditional war game. This is an abstract strategy game. The overall result is that The Lost Admiral is fun to play and contains enough optional features to keep most war gamers and other gamers happy playing the game for years.