Ambush At Sorinor
A country ravaged by war. Feuding factions fighting it out over pieces of turf. An intractable situation fuelled by deep religious and cultural rifts, and years of class oppression. Sound familiar? Mindcraft's latest war strategy game. Ambush at Sarajevo... er... Sorinor takes you away from the horrendous struggles so prevalent in real life and lets you create a few of your own.
Before you say: 'Piss off Clerkson. War strategy is for boring gits who actually like wars, read books about them, and then enjoy recreating real old battles like Waterloo or the Somme which take years to complete', Mindcraft's strategy games aren't like that. Whether they're set on this world, out of this world or in a fantasy world all of their own (like the AD&Desque Ambush), they're not based on real battles, and usually take the form of little missions that can take minutes to complete. The most popular of Mindcraft's strategic affairs is Siege. Those boys know when they're on to a good thing, and have based Ambush at Sorinor on the same game engine. The difference being - guess what - you ambush things, rather than lay siege to them. Nah, really?
Strategic gamers ignore this bit!
For anyone who hasn't played this sort of game, the whole thing is based on tables of numbers. Why? Because strategy games are, true enough, based on having a strategy. Having a strategy means knowing who you're up against and getting the right people in the right places to fight them. For each mission in Ambush at Sorinor you are told the type of foe you'll be up against (although you always face some surprises), then you have to match the most appropriate troops to fight them. This means getting your manual out and analysing figures which translate into the strengths and weaknesses of the foe (their speed, attack and defence ratings, and what type of weapons and armour they have). Foe analysed, you go back to the manual to look for troops with skill ratings and weapon and armour scores that best fit the bill. Better troops cost more money, so you have to keep an eye on your budget and can't just go around buying up the biggest, baddest bastards in town. This all takes time but, unless you get into it, your enjoyment of the game won't span more than about a day.
Having said that...
Ambush at Sorinor is tip-top strategy entertainment. Good locations, characters, myriad missions and an all-important editor function. The story goes that Sorinor is controlled by six warring clans. They all hate each other, and are constantly a-murdering and a-pillaging each other. Chances of forming a coalition government based on proportional representation are slim indeed. You are a mercenary commander all too pleased to exploit this political instability, as the best way to make a lot of money in a civil war is to forget your morals, become a bastard to end all bastards and sell your services to the highest bidder.
Friend or foe
You get two choices - ambush or be ambushed. The leaders of the clans offer missions either to maul some other travelling clans people or to protect some of their VIPs while they stroll through a dodgy area. Remember, you're a mercenary so your enemy one day is your best pal the next. A successful mission will please the clan that you were working for and piss off the clan that you fought against. The annoyance or geniality of the different clans towards you shows up in a level of 'pissed-offedness' which will endear them to offer good money for easy missions or a pittance for a suicide runs respectively. Tip one: It pays to juggle your services around a bit in an attempt to keep everyone happy.
Cash up front
Once a mission has been accepted, you need to buy your troops and deploy them on the gamemap. (There's about 40 troop types, including the usual Dwarven Archer types, but also the rarer farmyard menaces such as the dreaded War Chicken and the frightful Battle Cattle - surreal? Not on your bacon.) If you plump for an ambushee option, your troops need to chart a safe course for the VIPs across the gamemap to the exit gates, dodging and brawling ambushers along the way. Of course, ambushing is more fun, not only do you get the element of surprise but you also get to place fiendish traps for the unsuspecting to step right in. Ambushers succeed when their target(s) in the party have been slaughtered.
The big (and little) picture
Once the troops have been deployed, all hell breaks loose with little dots that scurry about all over your screen. The gamemap can be viewed in three modes: whole map (little map with tiny dots representing the forces), strategic (zoom in for part of the map with bigger dots) and local (zoom in even further to immediate area to transform troops from dots to two-dimensional characters). The ambush can be paused at any stage, which is crucial for rethinking, giving new commands and basically getting a handle on what the hell is going on. Tip two: while you're in local map mode concentrating on one particular battle, very nasty things are happening simultaneously in other parts of the game map, so you really need to do a lot of quick scrolling or pausing.
The best laid plans...
The most traumatic moments are when you've diligently positioned your troops in what you think are strategic ambush positions, and suddenly hundreds of little enemy bleeders come scurrying out of the traps heading off in all manner of weird directions totally bypassing your troops. This type of cock-up gives you a General Custer on the strategy scale.
Editors, I love 'em
Behind every successful strategic battle game is a good mission editor. This is essential for extending game life and generally messing about. Ambush at Sorinor lets you mix and match any troop type and scenario. The scenarios range through swamp, ice, city and orchard. And if you're into playing God, there's a terrain editor which enables you to completely redraw the game map from scratch. So when the spots before your eyes begin to blur into a boring mess of pixels, you can always try your hand at city planning.
If you're not one for playing a game with the mouse in one hand and a spreadsheet in the other, stick to the fantasy graphic adventures which offer arcade quality action and better graphics. But if you like your strategy, but want to keep it short and sweet, Ambush at Sorinor is an excellent example of the genre. Essential gaming for anyone with a Siege type of mentality.
Download Ambush At Sorinor
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Snapshots and Media
- Aoki Gentyouhishi
- Celtic Kings: Rage of War
- Close Combat III: The Russian Front
- Conquered Kingdoms
- Fragile Allegiance
- Oregon Trail Deluxe
- Populous II: Trials of the Olympian Gods
- Populous 2 - Two Tribes
- Populous 2 - Wrath of the Gods
- Raging Tiger: The Second Korean War
- Storm Across Europe
- Sword Of Aragon
- The Civil War
- Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle