Wages Of War
I suppose it was inevitable. By the year 2000, the conflicts in the Middle East finally got too big for the bucket, resulting in a limited nuclear exchange that, naturally, destroyed most of the world’s oil supply. The ensuing monetary chaos resulted in the secession of the Western U.S., and the drug lords having a field day with, and eventually taking control of, South and Central America.
Governments didn’t have the cash to field large armies anymore, but businesses did, and made the most of this ability by using terrorism as a tool to influence and control competitors. They didn’t so much wield armies, per se, as much as they paid mercenaries, cheaply at first, to do the dirty work for them. It was a good place to be a bloodless, frugal killer.
It works something like this: You get hired by some corporate entity or worker or whatever to do something like, say, rescue his daughter from the evil Colombian slimes who’ve kidnapped her. You get some cash up front and some upon completion. With the front money you hire more mercs, buy weapons, and outfit your team. Once you’ve done that, you land somewhere in the forest, infiltrate the villa, get the chick and hit the road.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Camouflage is an important aid when trying to sneak through enemy lines unseen. Can’t get by without it, no sir. But as a gamer, I need to be able to SEE the things on the screen that I’m controlling. If I can’t see them I can’t have much fun with them, now can I? Would it be any fun to play soccer with an invisible ball? Ha. That’s the situation; green teams in the green forest, where you have to squint to make them out. When they’re in open fields it’s not much of a problem, but heck, I like to know where they are all the time.
Moving the team was a little difficult. Instead of pointing them to where you wanted them to go and having them get there eventually, you can only point team members as far as they can move in one turn. It’s a real pain. Also, you have to move each team member individually—there's no grouping of units. With a six or seven person team this is more than a little tedious, especially given the limitations on movement I mentioned above.
Finally, "turn based" meant just that. I take my turn, then the computer takes its turn. And I wait. Each member of the opposing team makes a move. In some cases this was especially bothersome, like when I had to watch a dog run around in a circle and go "woof." Every turn I’d watch that dog run around and around. Five, maybe ten seconds each time. Thank god I wasn’t attacking a kennel. I finally had to move one of my mercs aaaaaallllll the way across the courtyard just to chuck a hand grenade at the mutt so's I wouldn’t have to watch him run in that stupid damn circle.
Graphics & Audio
Good enough. Buildings, trees, dogs, people. They all look great, sound like they're supposed to. Except for the too-effective camouflage I mentioned above. Pretty standard SVGA fare, and decent, if not memorable audio effects and music.
It’s not that difficult to see why the world collapses. Apparently everybody got a little stupid around the end of the millennium. The guards rarely approach team members, instead waiting to engage the enemy after having given them ample time to shoot and kill. Die now, ask questions later.
Six and up, it says on the box. I’d be inclined to agree. The violence isn’t graphic at all, and even a six year old can certainly figure this one out.
486/66 or 100% compatible, 8 MB RAM, Windows 95, 2X CD-ROM drive, SVGA graphics card, 50 MB hard drive space, mouse
The preparation part of Wages of War was more fun than anything else -- you have to choose how to outfit your troops, which becomes an all-important facet of how you do on your missions. Unfortunately, that part only constitutes about twenty percent of the game, and the remainder of the play is pretty much just frustrating. If you want a turn-based strategy war game, there are a lot of titles on the market that do at least as well as Wages of War. Overall it rates a 45 out of 100.