FireZone is labelled as a game of 21st Century Warfare between the super powers of the time, the Pacific Combine and the European League, and has been produced by the PSS company as one of their Wargamer series. All the scenarios within the game depict ground based action without the use, happily, of nuclear weapons. The game is played on the usual hexagonal grid across which your various groups of men and equipment move.
The terrain that goes to make up the battle field varies from clear countryside to urban or ruined towns. Some hexes are shown as water and few of the units can cross these, unless a bridge is included for the purpose. The equipment includes futuristic features such as Nova guns, Striders (from Star Wars?), Grav tanks and the ultimate, a Leviathan, which should be avoided. Each of these has the fire power of large numbers of their 20th century equivalents. All the equipment appears in pictorial squares over the hexagonal grid.
Play consists of rounds of movement followed by combat, with opponents taking turns for the movement phase. The combat between individual units is randomly selected by the computer, but the human player is allowed to select which particular unit they wish to fire on. Details on the strengths about each unit are displayed at the top of the screen when the hex is selected by the mouse or cursor. The results of combats are also displayed in the same area.
There are a number of preset scenarios which can be played and the game includes a construction element so that you can develop your own. The game can be played by two humans or a single human against the computer and the choice of sides is also possible. An added feature is that the opposing forces can be hidden from sight unless one of your units is in line of sight with the enemy. While this is not really relevant in the two player game, it does add to the interest when pitted against a computer opponent.
The program uses the graphic and colour capabilities of the Amiga, to greatly improve the screen display over and above other computer versions of these games and the units are quite easy to see and recognise. The play is quite quick, but it cannot be classed in the Shoot 'em up category.
The package comes with a thirty page manual and quick key guide. A blank hex sheet is also provided so that you can design your own battle zones before entering them into the game. The game is simple to play, but is nevertheless addictive in its qualities and it will be interesting to see the next simulation that is given the same treatment.
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