The Perfect General was, in effect, developed over a twelve-year period during which designer Bruce Williams Zaccagnino honed and tweaked the game into the sophisticated World War II era simulation transformed to the computer screen by White Wolf Productions. Fourteen interesting and tough scenarios are included with the original game and the option to play either side as the attacker or defender is well conceived and executed. The Perfect General is not a war game that takes the overall view of WWII but focuses on individual, tactical level scenarios. Because of this design feature, your full concentration is narrowed to a unit level strategic plan that includes selection of equipment (e.g., armored cars, tanks, infantry, artillery, etc.) and the execution of your plan through calculated pre-battle placement of your assets followed by phased turn-based movement toward your objectives (victory conditions). The effects of terrain play a large part in the scenarios with dense forests prohibiting movement by certain types of equipment, bridge crossings required for various rivers, with hills, towns, ports and so forth dotting the landscape.
The mouse driven or keyboard command menu selections are easy and logical. The top-down view of the battlefields and surrounding areas is clearly defined and map-scrolling is smooth and simple. But the biggest plus that The Perfect General has going for it is the wonderfully balanced scenarios allowing hundreds of approaches to developing strategy for either side you choose to play. This aspect, coupled with the option to fully customize the rules of the scenario, assure unlimited replay value. The Perfect General is geared completely toward the ground war aspect of fighting and includes no ships or aircraft which means you'll have to become very familiar with the capabilities of various tank models and integrated infantry/mechanized fighting. Pre-battle unit selection is especially important and has a great impact on your deployment plans. The calculated results of individual skirmishing affecting the various units engaged is realistic and fair. There really isn't much in the way of criticism to be found in this thoughtfully designed game. A decade of play testing has obviously worked out nearly all the kinks in the armor enveloping this fun and lively war game. Sounds are a bit simplistic (motorized sounds of vehicles moving, shells striking, etc.) but do add somewhat to the flavor. However, the charm of the The Perfect General doesn't rest in the sounds or even the graphics but in the smart design of the game and scenarios. The game is highly recommended and should find a considerable amount of hard drive life for fans of the genre.
Graphics: A little blocky but basically a military unit icon and hex-based simulation played from a top-down perspective.
Sound: Passable sound effects of war machinery.
Enjoyment: It's difficult to find many tactical level war games much more pleasing to play than The Perfect General. The nearly unlimited strategic and execution decisions possible in every scenario is top notch. The game is quick, satisfying and tough at the same time.
Replay Value: Only the addition of a scenario editor could improve the replay possibilities.
A simplified combat game that uses basic units with defined attributes and capabilities. Includes several scenarios (from simple to complex) with varied strategic and tactical options, allowing for virtually thousands of different games within each scenario. The computer will play either or both commanders.
The game uses a rectangular battle arena with an underlying hexagonal grid structure, typical of most war games. The game is turn-based.
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