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North & South

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North & South is a combined strategy and action game released in 1989 for the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST and ported later for NES, Amstrad CPC, MSX, DOS and ZX Spectrum. It was developed and published by Infogrames.

Computer Gaming World gave North & South one-plus stars out of five for wargamers and three out of five for arcade gamers while in 2011, Wirtualna Polska ranked it as the tenth best Amiga game which is a bit contradictory. For my friend/godfather it was pure five of five stars since it gave us lot of fun hours which ranged from funny hyped head-to-head battles due to the way they're fought, map strategizing and cheering one another to fail when robbing train or taking a fort :DPGC

North & South is an offshoot of the Belgian comic series Les Tuniques Bleues (by Raoul Cauvin and Louis Salverius/Willy Lambillotte, from Dupuis) which is based on the American Civil War. The player basically acts out the Civil War, choosing to play as either the North or the South. The player may choose to start the game year from 1861 (the year the Civil War erupted) to 1864. Each year has a different array of armies and states that each side starts with.

North & South contains a lot of humorous elements. For example, it features parodies of national anthems, which are accessible when the player selects one of the different languages supported by the game: (English, French, Spanish, German or Italian). In addition, the game is filled with numerous comical situations and gags.

 

Gameplay

Taking an simplified board interface, the game features a strategic map of the United States separated into states and territories, where army units are moved around. In each state which "owns" a railway station, there is a fort, the capture of which leads to the player overtaking the whole state. Otherwise, capturing a state involves simple movement, unless there is another army "on" the state. Armies can be reinforced in two ways. By turning on an option at the main menu the player controlling the state of North Carolina will get periodic reinforcements by ship. Also, railways generate money which in turn generates soldiers. Moving their army units, the player may expand westwards into unoccupied territory. If two antagonistic armies clash, it will result in a battle. There is an option on the main menu where the player can turn off in-game missions and battles to make it purely like a board game. Whenever opposing armies meet in board-game mode, the results of the battles are left to chance, with the outcome weighted towards the larger army. Either army may retreat from these battles. Whenever a side attempts to capture an enemy fort or rob a train, the result is also randomised.

The battle screen, one of the action elements in the game, is different from the strategic map. Each player starts on opposite sides of the screen and controls an army consisting of infantry, cavalry and artillery. A standard army consists of six infantry, three cavalry and one cannon. Armies can be increased by up to three times their standard size by merging them together. Each team can only have six infantry, three cavalry and three cannons on the battlefield at one time. A human player can only control one class of units at any one time (although once the cavalry starts a charge, they can be left moving automatically forward in a straight line while the player focuses on either the cannon or infantry). A computer-controlled opponent can move all three classes of units at once, but their infantry and cavalry are not very aggressive. All units in the same class move and fire simultaneously. The infantry can move in any direction including backwards and have a short-range weapon.

On the states that have a train station, the player must do a short side-scrolling mission through a fort to capture that state. Here, the player controls a single soldier who runs towards the goal (before the clock reaches the end) while meeting obstacles such as enemy soldiers, dynamite crates or dogs, with only the help of knives or punches that send enemies towards the sky, Asterix style. On occasions, the player also gets the opportunity to capture an enemy train in a similar manner, but an attacker running along a train too long while not over it will just see it leave. Successfully capturing an enemy train gets its gold.

 

Media

  • Release Date: Sunday, 01 January 1989
  • Genre: Action, Strategy
  • Platform: Famicom/NES/SNES, MS-DOS, Commodore 64, Amiga 500, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, MSX
  • Mode: Single-player, Multiplayer