Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle
|a game by||BreakAway Games Ltd.|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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In Ancient times mariners warned of the Albatross. A big lofty thing, the Albatross usually heralded doom, disaster and death at sea if it was ever harmed by the crew. There was even a poem written back in 1798 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in-between various hallucinogenic bouts of ether. But he also wrote Kubla Khan, so he was obviously mad. By the same token the word 'Napoleon' usually heralds trouble when it's found on a computer game, and sadly Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle is no exception to this time-honoured tradition.
The game is a lacklustre affair using the same tired old script that inspired war gamers in the mid '90s. While other RTS war games such as Panzer General have embraced new technology by creating fully rotatable 3D landscapes, and modelling units to a very high degree, Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle is an isometric affair with eight viewpoints. The maps are all very green, and judging by the screenshots, are made entirely of Astro-Turf.
But what of the gameplay? Have the designers thought laterally to create some cutting edge ideas where hand-to-hand combat is recreated in gritty detail? Do cannon explosions shower the troops with dirt and smoke? Er... no, not a hope. Explosions (what there are of them) look like brown blobs of water, and the troop graphics are either too small to see, or in such detail as to kill any global scale of battle. And when you do give into temptation and zoom into some hand-to-hand combat, there is virtually nothing to see. A few preset movements but nothing that gives you the feeling of a battle. While Waterloo is no Samuel Taylor Coleridge, neither is it a load of Jackson Pollocks. The various battles, both historical and hypothetical, are recreated to the best of the straining engine's abilities and some of the sound effects are excellent.
Another major gripe is that the Al's behaviour verges between erratic and downright suicidal. Although intelligent in one of the pre-assembled scenarios, creating one of your own will have the enemy scurrying away from the battle and huddling in the top corner of the map.
The game also lacks any multiplayer options. The fact that you are confined to only playing against the PC's suspect Al, is surely down to lazy programming and cost watching. At least you might have actually got some fun out of the game going head-to-head with someone. As it is, it's just dull.
Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle is pitched straight at the hardcore strategy enthusiast. And when we say hardcore, we're talking re-enactment societies, paintings on the wall and all the trimmings. The controls aren't intuitive, the graphics are flawed, the sound effects sub standard and the gameplay dull. Funnily enough, you can only buy this game on the Internet, as a UK publisher has yet to be found. And after playing this, we can see why. If you want to play a good historical RTS then try Close Combat, Panzer Generator Sid Meier's Antietam. Unless you're a 5ft Sinclair C5 owner, give this game a very wide berth.