Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 88 / SEPTEMBER 1987 / PAGE 61



Neil Randall

Requirements: Commodore 64, Apple II series, or Atari 8-bit computer.

To quote the game's introduction, "Warship is a game of táctical-level naval combat between Japanese and Allied ships from 1941 to 1945." For those familiar with computer wargames, this is self-explanatory. For others, the statement is almost certain to destroy whatever interest they may have had.

I have always wondered why SSI begins its manuals in this manner. True, SSI's games appeal mostly to an audience experienced in wargames, but surely a friendlier, more explanatory introduction would at least allow a newcomer to get involved. SSI's manuals are otherwise consistently superb. Colorful and well-organized, the typical SSI manual provides more pure information about the topic than practically any other game manuals.

Like most SSI games, Warship provides a wealth of detail about its subject. Here the topic is World War II naval combat, with Japanese ships fighting against ships from the Allied countries. The section of the manual entitled Ship Data, with its attractive pictures of individual ships and its concisely displayed information, gives a hint of the complexity built into the game. But in fact the game plays much more smoothly than this wealth of information would suggest.

During each turn, players move their ships, set targets, fire guns and torpedoes at enemy ships, and try to maneuver into favorable positions. Ships can be commanded either individually or as part of a division, which means that the game will play as quickly or as slowly as the players wish. If they want a quick game, the players need use only the division menu, commanding each division to move in a specific direction, firing when the computer deems it appropriate, changing commands only when the original plan begins to go awry. If the players want more control over their fleets, they can command each ship in turn, worrying about such details as visual-fire control versus radar-fire control, assigning ships to particular divisions, targeting on individual enemy ships, and even making smoke.

Warship provides three historical scenarios and one hypothetical scenario. Challenging enough on their own, these scenarios can be supplemented by scenarios created by the players from scratch. The game allows you to design your own maps, modify the technical data for each ship, and even set damage control levels. In other words, if you are interested in WWII tactical naval combat, or if you become interested as a result of playing the game, the game itself will never grow stale. You can set up and play any historical or hypothetical engagement, altering history to suit your particular interest.

Warship is entertaining, either solitaire or against a human opponent. It plays quite quickly, and the interface is less intimidating than that of many other wargames. With its informative and thoroughly professional manual, the game should teach even the most experienced wargamer a considerable amount about naval battles in the Pacific.

Strategic Simulations (SSI)
1046 N. Rengstorff Ave.
Mountain View, CA 94093