North and South is the first American history simulation to come to the NES. It isn't as complex as other games in this genre, but there's plenty of strategy and detail to keep military history buffs happy and challenge most video games.
Now you can refight the Civil War to either preserve the Union or help the South rise again. Challenge the computer or fight a partner. The overall objective is to wipe out the other side's army by mastering four different game play sections: the Strategy Map, the Train, the Fort, and the Battlefield.
History in the Making
You begin play by selecting one of four Civil War years (1861-64), choosing each side's skill level, and activating random options such as weather and Indian attacks. Then you move on to the Strategy Map, the most important part of North and South, where you make the big military decisions that separate the generals from the corporals: should you attack a fort or take over a territory to cut off the other side's cash flow?
On the map states appear as territories controlled by the Confederates or the Union; some are neutral. At the beginning of each turn you position soldier icons (1 icon = 1 cannon, 3 cavalry, and 6 infantry units) to capture enemy holdings or occupy unclaimed territories. Then you invade the territory and the fun begins.
Train in Vain, Support the Forts
To buy troops, you need cash. Trains bring you cash, but they need tracks. One track runs throughout the map, so you try to control it by taking over states it runs through.
ProTip: Intercept the train bringing cash to the enemy by taking over a territory in the middle of your opponents portion of track.
If an enemy train rolls through your territory, rob it. Jump onto the moving train and fight your way to the engine before time runs out. Your opponent has 10 men who try to stop you (one at a time) by throwing knives or punching you out.
Find an enemy fort in a territory and you play "Capture the Flag," which is similar to robbing the train. Here you fight past 10 soldiers to nab the flag and control the fort.
You Gotta Fight for Your Right...
The Train and the Fort sequences are fun, but the best parts of North and South are the head-to-head battles. You face the enemy on a horizontal battlefield where you command the cannon, the infantry, or the cavalry.
Use the terrain; protect infantry behind rocks, hide cavalry behind trees.
When the Cavalry rides off one side of the screen, it returns to the opposite side, but tor a few seconds they're paralyzed. Position Infantry or your own Cavalry a few paces from where the enemy reappears, then charge forward and easily defeat them.
North and South is a hard game to categorize, as the best games often are. It's an arcade-style action game during the Fort and the Train sequences and a military strategy contest during the Battlefield and the Strategy Map parts. It's even educational! Mount your horse, grab your saber, and... charge!